The American Pregnancy Association states that up to 85% of women experience some sort of morning sickness during their pregnancy. While nausea and vomiting are common, too much could mean that there is a more serious issue. Hyperemesis gravidarum is a condition that causes extreme morning sickness that could cause complications in your pregnancy. Here is what you should know.
What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG), hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a severe form of nausea and vomiting that occurs during pregnancy. While it only affects an estimated 3% of women, it is a serious condition that needs medical care and monitoring.
Researchers have recently found variations of the condition in two specific genes, leading many to believe that hyperemesis gravidarum is a genetic condition. Doctors have found multiple risk factors for HG including:
- Being overweight
- It’s your first pregnancy
- Having pregnancies with multiple fetuses such as twins, triplets, etc.
- Being diagnosed with HG in a past pregnancy
- Family history of HG
If you are experiencing extreme symptoms of morning sickness, consult your OBGYN immediately for more tests.
What are the Symptoms?
With normal morning sickness, you may experience loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. Hyperemesis gravidarum has more severe symptoms including:
- Increased vomiting (typically 3-4 times per day)
- Severe, persistent nausea
- Weight loss
- Increased salivating
- Dehydration symptoms (dark urine, headaches, dry skin, weakness and feeling lightheaded)
- Inability to sustain an appetite
- Extreme fatigue
Treatment for HG
Physicians typically diagnose a woman with hyperemesis gravidarum when they have lost 5% of their prepregnancy weight and are experiencing many of the symptoms above. HG comes with a variety of symptoms and, thus, might require a variety of treatments. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary.
There is no known way to prevent HG, but there are many ways to manage it. Treatments for HG include:
- IV fluids to restore hydration, electrolytes and nutrients
- Various medications and supplements (consult a doctor for your options)
- Bed rest
- The use of a feeding tube if loss of appetite is severe
- Adjustments to lifestyle and diet to prevent HG triggers
Stay in Touch with Your OBGYN
Complications from HG could put you and your baby at risk. If you are experiencing any symptoms related to hyperemesis gravidarum, you should immediately consult your doctor. They will work with you on a treatment plan to minimize symptoms and keep you safe.
Christopher Quinsey, MD, has delivered over 3,600 newborns over the past 20 years in Central Florida. He and his friendly, attentive staff are available to walk you through any questions you may have about your health or your pregnancy.
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*This blog is for general informational purposes only. Christopher K. Quinsey MD, P.A. does not distribute medical advice through this blog. As such, this blog does not constitute a patient-client relationship between the reader and Christopher K. Quinsey MD, P.A.