Document Detail

Smell perception during early pregnancy: no evidence of an adaptive mechanism.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15663398     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
OBJECTIVE: It has been suggested that nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is an evolutionary adaptive mechanism to avoid the ingestion of potentially harmful foods. It has also been suggested that the mechanism that triggers nausea and vomiting in pregnancy may be olfaction and that olfactory senses are invoked to provide this protection. This study aimed to test this theory in a systematic design. DESIGN: Cross sectional study. SETTING: The antenatal department of a maternity hospital in the north of England. SAMPLE: Three groups of participants: pregnant women (n= 55), non-pregnant women (n= 42) and men (n= 48). METHODS: Sensitivity was tested towards the odours of six standard stimuli (half safe and half associated with potentially harmful compounds). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Odour rating of likeness, strength and pleasantness. RESULTS: Pregnant women rated safe and odours with potentially harmful compounds differently but not more so than men or non-pregnant women. There was no evidence that pregnancy changed the olfactory processes from the non-pregnant state and only slight differences between pregnant women and men were recorded. CONCLUSIONS: There was no evidence that olfactory processes had undergone any adaptation during pregnancy. The ability to differentiate safe from potentially harmful compounds was common to all three groups studied.
Brian L Swallow; Stephen W Lindow; Mo Aye; Ewan A Masson; Cesarettin Alasalvar; Peter Quantick; Jon Hanna
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  BJOG : an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology     Volume:  112     ISSN:  1470-0328     ISO Abbreviation:  BJOG     Publication Date:  2005 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-01-24     Completed Date:  2005-02-07     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  100935741     Medline TA:  BJOG     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  57-62     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Applied Health and Clinical Research Centre, Department of Psychology, University of Lincoln, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Adaptation, Physiological
Attitude to Health
Cross-Sectional Studies
Hazardous Substances
Pregnancy / physiology*,  psychology
Pregnancy Trimester, First
Smell / physiology*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Hazardous Substances

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