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Hyperemesis Gravidarum - More Than Just Morning Sickness

Although most women experience morning sickness during their pregnancy, some pregnant women experience more severe symptoms. We will be discussing hyperemesis gravidarum and the condition’s symptoms, causes and treatment.

What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

Hyperemesis gravidarum is severe, persistent nausea and vomiting that occurs during pregnancy. This condition can potentially impact the health of both the mother and baby. Hyperemesis gravidarum can result in dehydration, weight loss and electrolyte imbalances. Morning sickness, in contrast, describes mild nausea and vomiting that occurs during pregnancy.

What Causes Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

For most pregnant women, rising levels of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) cause early pregnancy symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Women with hyperemesis gravidarum have extreme symptoms as a result of increasing hCG.

What Are the Symptoms of Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

Women with hyperemesis gravidarum may vomit four or more times per day. Often, they experience weight loss as a result. Some providers recommend that patients monitor their weight in early pregnancy, as a weight loss of 5% or more may be indicative of hyperemesis gravidarum. Women with hyperemesis gravidarum may also experience dizziness and lightheadedness.

What Are the Risk Factors for Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

Some women may be at increased risk of developing hyperemesis gravidarum. These include women who are overweight and first-time mothers. Additionally, women with a history of hyperemesis gravidarum in a prior pregnancy and women with trophoblastic disease are at increased risk.

How Do I Treat Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

Your provider will likely make a recommendation based on the severity of your symptoms. In some cases, your provider may recommend vitamin B6 or a pressure-point wrist band. Additionally, many find that small and frequent meals may be beneficial. For women with dehydration, intravenous fluids may be recommended. In the most severe cases, total parenteral nutrition may be advised. For some women, medications which prevent nausea may be prescribed.

How Long Does Hyperemesis Gravidarum Last?

For most women, hyperemesis gravidarum will improve after the first trimester.

Takeaway Message:

Hyperemesis gravidarum is an extreme form of morning sickness that affects some women during early pregnancy. This condition is characterized by severe nausea and vomiting and may result in weight loss and dehydration. Eating small meals may be helpful in reducing symptoms. For women with severe symptoms, intravenous fluids may be necessary to prevent dehydration. Women who suspect that they may have hyperemesis gravidarum should discuss their concerns with their physician.

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Have you been diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum? We would love to hear from you. Please share in the comments below.

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