Hyperemesis Gravidarum: Symptoms and Treatment
Is it morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum (HG)? Almost every woman who has been pregnant can talk to you about morning sickness, but for some women the nausea that comes with pregnancy is not just morning sickness. For some pregnant women, the nausea, heartburn, and vomiting can be an indication of hyperemesis gravidarum.
What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?
According to the MayoClinic, hyperemesis gravidarum is “when someone with nausea and vomiting of pregnancy has severe symptoms that may cause severe dehydration or result in the loss of more than 5 percent of pre-pregnancy body weight.” Unlike morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum can become so severe that some women need to be hospitalized to receive intravenous (IV) fluids.
How can you tell when the problem is HG versus morning sickness? Morning sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum present themselves as nearly the same thing, but HG is a more severe case of morning sickness. We made a little table to demonstrate the differences.
|Morning Sickness||Hyperemesis Gravidarum|
Nausea that lessens after the first trimester
Vomiting that does not cause dehydration
Able to keep some food down
|Severe vomiting that occurs often
Nausea that occurs throughout pregnancy
Vomiting that causes dehydration
Inability to keep food down
Weight loss of 5% or more of pre-pregnancy weight
Loss of skin elasticity (caused by dehydration)
Low Blood Pressure
Rapid Heart Rate
The majority of women will experience some form of morning sickness during their pregnancy. And many women only have problems with nausea in the first trimester of pregnancy. Some women do have nausea throughout their pregnancy, but few experience hyperemesis gravidarum.
Women who do have HG typically have it the most intense in the 9-13 week time frame. According to American Pregnancy, “Most women receive some relief between weeks 14-20, although up to 20% of women may require care for hyperemesis throughout the rest of their pregnancy.”
What Causes Hyperemesis Gravidarum?
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone that is created during pregnancy, is widely believed to cause nausea during pregnancy.
The rapid increase of this hormone within the body causes nausea. That nausea is associated with morning sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum.
Who is at Risk?
There are a few things that may increase your likelihood of hyperemesis gravidarum. Including:
- A history of hyperemesis gravidarum in the family
- Pregnant with more than one baby
- Being a first time mother
- Being overweight
These factors do not ensure that you will get it, and they aren’t the only factors that can increase your likelihood. So be sure to talk to your doctor if you are displaying any symptoms.
How are you diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum?
In most cases the problem is discovered with a standard physical exam at your doctor’s office. They will look for the symptoms such as a fast heart rate and low blood pressure. They may also look at your family history, and may even conduct an ultrasound to see if you are pregnant with more than one baby. Your doctor may also decide to conduct other tests to rule out gastrointestinal problems as a factor.
In some cases, the problem is not found until you are admitted to the hospital. While hyperemesis gravidarum is severe, many women are able to overcome the problem on their own, or with just their physicians help. Make sure you attend your regular appointments with your OB/GYN. This will increase your chances of discovering the problem quickly.
What are effective treatments?
Many times your doctor will recommend natural treatment options to deal with the nausea and vomiting. Such treatments include, taking a B-6 vitamin and ingesting ginger to decrease nausea.
Dehydration and nausea can be severe. So your doctor may advise you to be admitted to a hospital. Your doctor might also prescribe anti-nausea medication if needed.
According to Healthline, “Taking medication while pregnant can cause potential health problems for the baby, but in severe cases of HG, maternal dehydration is a more concerning problem.”
If you have any of the above symptoms, talk to your doctor, they will be able to assess your situation and form a course of action.
Does hyperemesis gravidarum persist after pregnancy?
Like morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum typically subsides after the first trimester. In some cases it may persist throughout the pregnancy, but it usually goes away after giving birth. This is due to the fact that your body is no longer producing the hormone that was causing the problem. So even if you do have hyperemesis gravidarum you can rest easy knowing it will go away.
While it will go away after pregnancy, some women have a more difficult postpartum recovery process because of it. If you had hyperemesis gravidarum, consider using a postpartum girdle to speed up your recovery.
Bellefit has a wide variety of postpartum garments that help make life after pregnancy a little easier. Our girdles are medical-quality products, designed for everyday wear. They help the uterus navigate back to its original place in less time and provide women with comfortable and reliable belly and back support.
Don’t suffer through a long and painful postpartum recovery, when you can get support for yourself today.
We hope that this has been a helpful guide to hyperemesis gravidarum.