Some women experience a very severe form of morning sickness during pregnancy that is known as hyperemesis gravidarum. Learn more about the symptoms, risks and treatment.
of the most well-known and common symptoms of pregnancy is morning sickness.
The majority of pregnant women experience at least some level of sickness
during their pregnancy, especially in their first trimester. Something that
many people don’t realize though, is that some
women experience a very severe form of morning sickness that is known as hyperemesis
What is Hyperemesis
is very severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. It’s like morning sickness,
only much worse. Hyperemesis gravidarum
can be completely debilitating to a woman during her pregnancy and some
women even describe it as torturous. It can make a pregnancy impossible to
enjoy, and is often not taken seriously by those that don’t understand it,
which only makes it worse for those suffering with it. If it goes untreated, it
can be dangerous or even fatal, but luckily, with treatment complications are
Symptoms of Hyperemesis
gravidarum symptoms are very similar to symptoms associated with typical
morning sickness in pregnancy but are much more severe. Usually, for a woman to receive a diagnosis of
hyperemesis gravidarum, she must have severe enough sickness to require
1. Severe and Prolonged Nausea
most obvious symptom of hyperemesis gravidarum is severe nausea and vomiting
over a long period of time. Typically, the
nausea and vomiting is very consistent for weeks on end with little to no
relief from the typical remedies used for morning sickness.
2. Inability to Keep Food and
along with the severe nausea and vomiting is the inability to keep any food or
drink down when experiencing hyperemesis gravidarum. Many women are repulsed by certain foods and smells and even if
they can make themselves try to eat something, they will likely immediately
start vomiting again.
3. Drop in Blood Pressure When
women that are experiencing hyperemesis gravidarum may experience episodes of
hypotension, or low blood pressure, particularly when they stand up. This can
cause faintness, and dizziness.
4. Weight Loss Rather Than
Weight Gain During Pregnancy
knows that most women gain weight during pregnancy. A healthy amount of weight gain throughout pregnancy is a sign of a
healthy pregnancy. Since hyperemesis gravidarum can cause such severe
nausea and vomiting and often doesn’t allow a pregnant woman to keep food down,
it can lead to the pregnant woman losing weight during her pregnancy rather
than gaining it as she should.
major problem in a pregnant woman that can easily be a result of hyperemesis
gravidarum is dehydration. Since a woman experiencing hyperemesis gravidarum is
consistently so sick, she is typically unable to hold down anything including
liquids. This can lead to severe dehydration which often leads to hospitalization of the pregnant woman experiencing
hyperemesis gravidarum.Dehydration is dangerous, especially in pregnant
woman and should never be ignored. Signs to look out for that may indicate that
you are dehydrated include:
Treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum
is important to preserve the health of the pregnant woman as well as the health
of her growing bub. Usually, a woman that is experiencing hyperemesis
gravidarum will require hospitalization because her sickness is so severe.
Treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum usually consists of several things.
1. Intravenous Fluids for
of the biggest problems caused by hyperemesis gravidarum for a pregnant woman
is severe dehydration. To combat this problem, doctors will most likely administer fluids through an IV given
to the affected pregnant woman.
2. Vitamins and Minerals for
addition to being dehydrated, you likely
aren’t getting all the needed nutrition to remain healthy throughout your
pregnancy if you are suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. For this reason,
your IV will likely also contain vitamins and minerals.
3. Anti-Sickness Drugs
may also receive anti-sickness drugs through your IV to help combat your nausea
and vomiting and possibly allow you to eat and drink. Some women worry about
how the anti-sickness drugs may affect their baby. However, they are widely considered to be safe
and your doctor will take you being pregnant into consideration when choosing
Risk Factors of Hyperemesis
is possible for hyperemesis gravidarum to happen to any pregnant woman, and the
exact cause isn’t known yet. It is believed that it likely has to do with
hormonal changes. Even though any
pregnant woman may experience hyperemesis gravidarum, there do seem to be
some things that increase risk such as:
prone to travel sickness
prone to headaches
pregnant with a girl baby
overweight at the start of your pregnancy
a close relative such as a mother or sister that suffered from hyperemesis
had hyperemesis gravidarum in a past pregnancy
How Long Will I Be Sick if I
Have Hyperemesis Gravidarum?
from hyperemesis gravidarum most commonly starts around the same time other
pregnancy sickness would start anywhere
from 4 to 7 weeks into your pregnancy. How long it lasts will vary from
woman to woman, but most women that suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum find
that it hits its peak close to 12 weeks and then starts to let up and usually resolves by about 20 weeks, or
the halfway mark in pregnancy. Unfortunately, however, some women that suffer
from hyperemesis gravidarum end up staying sick right up until delivery.
Will Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Cause Harm to My Baby?
times, a woman suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum may worry about how it
could affect her unborn baby. As miserable as hyperemesis gravidarum may cause
you to be, it generally poses no threat
to your little one.As long as you seek treatment when appropriate, then
your bub should suffer little to no consequences from your hyperemesis
gravidarum. If you struggle with weight loss throughout your pregnancy, there
is a chance that your baby may be born with a low birth-weight.
Tips for Dealing with
is no questioning how difficult it is to deal with hyperemesis gravidarum, but
fortunately, there are a few things you can do that may ease your struggles at
least a little bit.
#1 Get Treatment Early
of the best things you can do if you start experiencing severe sickness in
pregnancy is seek help as soon as possible. Your pregnancy health care provider
can likely give you something to help ease your nausea and vomiting and if you start treatment early enough, it may
prevent the sickness from becoming worse as your pregnancy progresses.
#2 Stay Hydrated
of the problems associated with hyperemesis gravidarum is dehydration so doing
your best to stay hydrated can make a big difference for you. If you aren’t
able to drink like you normally would, try
taking small sips of water or maybe try sucking on ice cubes. Any water
that you can get is much better than none.
#3 Eat Anything You Can
you are suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, it can be hard to even think
about eating a healthy and well-balanced pregnancy diet. Obviously, it’s
important to eat well, but when you’re suffering from severe sickness, your
priority is just to eat. Don’t stress
too much about eating right, just eat whatever you feel like you can handle.
Eating anything is better than nothing, and you can make up for good nutrition
later in your pregnancy when you’re feeling better. Plus, your baby will get
nutrition from your body’s reserves while you’re sick.
#4 Inform Others
thing that may make hyperemesis gravidarum harder is having people around you
that don’t understand. Some people may
think you’re just dealing with regular morning sickness. Try printing out
information about hyperemesis gravidarum for these people
or even have them talk to your doctor. It’s
important to be surrounded by understanding support during this difficult
time in your pregnancy.
Don’t Feel Bad
a woman suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum may struggle with feelings of
guilt. It’s easy to feel that way when you aren’t able to enjoy your pregnancy
and even simple tasks such as laundry or grocery shopping feel like an
impossible chore. It’s important to understand that if you are suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum that it is not your
fault and you’ve done nothing wrong. You are sick, and you need to just
focus on getting through it and feeling better. Try to just remember that it is
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