Hyperemesis Gravidarum – Its not just Morning Sickness

Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is very common and studies estimate that between 50 – 90% of expecting mothers will experience what is generally called “morning sickness”. For the majority of Mums, morning (or even all day) sickness is not a serious problem and it does not place you or your baby at any risk of harm.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is a much more severe form of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. HG can place you and your baby at some risk as the nausea and vomiting prevent you from retaining and utilising sufficient necessary food and fluid to stay healthy.

Its estimated that HG occurs in about 1% of pregnancies. It often starts between four to six weeks of pregnancy and may continue all the way to the end. Thankfully symptoms will often improve from about 15 to 20 weeks but can occasionally last the entire pregnancy.

How to distinguish between morning sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum:

Treatments for Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Intravenous rehydration is typically the first line of treatment for HG which will most often require you to go into hospital. The time you’ll spend in hospital will depend on the severity of your symptoms.

Often bed rest is recommended, and even if not, you may be so tired that you will want to be in bed anyway.

Because you will have been unable to keep sufficient food down, nutritional therapy is often included as art of your treatment for HG. This may mean nutrition delivered intravenously in severe cases, and in milder cases, just working with a dietician to ensure the that you are able to take in adequate calories and nourishment. Some anti-nausea drugs may be added to your drip or given to you by injection.

Medications are often part of the treatment for mothers suffering HG. All drugs should be used with care in pregnancy, particularly in your first trimester. But anti-sickness drugs have a good safety record and are unlikely to harm your baby.

If you can’t keep food or drink down, swallowing pills is also likely to be difficult so some of the anti-sickness medication has been developed so that you can dissolve it under your tongue rather than swallow it.

The absolute best resource for mothers experiencing HG is the Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation. Visit their website at www.helpher.org for mother-to-mother forums, research, blog posts, and more.