Most pregnant mamas have just a few weeks to bask in their news before it hits — that dreaded morning sickness, that of course, is rarely just in the morning. But now, scientists are saying they found out the cause for severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, and they are hoping it can lead to better treatments as well, the New York Times reported this week.

The results came from research published Dec. 13 in the journal Nature, linking something called GDF15 to an increased risk of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. It’s a hormone acting on the brain stem, and they determined that higher levels of this hormone matter. Both a mom’s sensitivity to the hormone, and how much the fetus produces combine to form their risk of nausea and vomiting. So, in non-sciency terms, (partially) blame it on the baby!

The Times further reported that scientists also found that the amount of that hormone the mom has been exposed to before pregnancy also matters. They add that the hormones circulate through the blood, and “are clustered” in the brain responsible for feeling that terrible first trimester nausea that has you sucking on ginger mints like they are going out of style.

Listen to Motherly’s cofounder Liz Tenety interview lead researcher Dr. Marlena Fejzo on the Motherly podcast here.

Though reports vary, up to 80% of pregnant mothers have nausea and vomiting, and a select unlucky few have Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a more severe form that requires medical attention. 

The Times brought up another issue — doctors and others believing and properly diagnosing and treating the more severe form of nausea and vomiting, which can even be fatal if not treated in some cases. They report some patients have been dismissed under the misguidance that morning sickness is just “normal.”

Scientists are hopeful this finding will contribute to better treatments soon, and that’s science we can all get behind.