What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG)?
It is very common for pregnant women to experience some 'morning sickness' during early pregnancy. However for some women, it's just not morning sickness anymore. Hyperemesis Gravidarum or HG, is the most severe form of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. HG occurs in approximately 3% of all pregnancies. A diagnosis of HG occurs when a woman has lost 5% of her pre-pregnancy weight and has other problems related to dehydration (loss of body fluids). Women with HG usually require treatment to stop their vomiting and restore body fluids. Treatment may include emergency department or hospital inpatient stays for intravenous (IV) fluids, antiemetics (to stop nausea and vomiting).
When does nausea and vomiting start in pregnancy?
Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy usually starts before 9 weeks of pregnancy. Many pregnant women have resolution of nausea and vomiting by the second trimester (14 weeks of pregnancy). However, for some women who experience HG, it may last for several weeks or months and in rare cases, throughout the entire pregnancy.
Are some women at higher risk for HG?
Yes, HG may occur more often in women who: are pregnant with more than one baby (multiple pregnancy), have prior history of or family history of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, history of motion sickness or migraines and being pregnant with a female fetus.
Is there anything you can do to prevent or lessen the severity of HG?
Yes! Although HG is difficulty to treat, the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends attempting the following that may prevent HG: 1) take a multivitamin 2) try eating dry toast or crackers in the morning before you get out of bed to avoid moving around on an empty stomach 3) drink fluids often 4) avoid smells that bother you 5) eat small, frequent meals instead of three large meals 6) try bland foods e.g. the “BRATT” diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, and tea) is low in fat and easy to digest 7) try ginger ale made with real ginger, ginger tea made from fresh grated ginger, ginger capsules, and ginger candies.
Bottom line is that HG is NOT just morning sickness. HG is severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy that may cause significant weight loss and electrolyte imbalances due to body fluid loss. So it is important that you see your OB/GYN to discuss current treatment and diet plans during your pregnancy.