Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe form of nausea and vomiting that happens during pregnancy. Hyperemesis is worse than morning sickness. It may cause a woman to have nausea or vomiting all day for many days. It may keep a woman from eating and drinking enough food and liquids. Hyperemesis usually occurs during the first half (the first 20 weeks) of pregnancy. It often goes away once a woman is in her second half of pregnancy. However, sometimes hyperemesis continues through an entire pregnancy.

CAUSES

The cause of this condition is not completely known but is thought to be due to changes in the body's hormones when pregnant. It could be the high level of the pregnancy hormone or an increase in estrogen in the body.

SYMPTOMS

  • Severe nausea and vomiting.

  • Nausea that does not go away.

  • Vomiting that does not allow you to keep any food down.

  • Weight loss and body fluid loss (dehydration).

  • Having no desire to eat or not liking food you have previously enjoyed.

DIAGNOSIS

Your caregiver may ask you about your symptoms. Your caregiver may also order blood tests and urine tests to make sure something else is not causing the problem.

TREATMENT

You may only need medicine to control the problem. If medicines do not control the nausea and vomiting, you will be treated in the hospital to prevent dehydration, acidosis, weight loss, and changes in the electrolytes in your body that may harm the unborn baby (fetus). You may need intravenous (IV) fluids.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Take all medicine as directed by your caregiver.

  • Try eating a couple of dry crackers or toast in the morning before getting out of bed.

  • Avoid foods and smells that upset your stomach.

  • Avoid fatty and spicy foods. Eat 5 to 6 small meals a day.

  • Do not drink when eating meals. Drink between meals.

  • For snacks, eat high protein foods, such as cheese. Eat or suck on things that have ginger in them. Ginger helps nausea.

  • Avoid food preparation. The smell of food can spoil your appetite.

  • Avoid iron pills and iron in your multivitamins until after 3 to 4 months of being pregnant.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your abdominal pain increases since the last time you saw your caregiver.

  • You have a severe headache.

  • You develop vision problems.

  • You feel you are losing weight.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You are unable to keep fluids down.

  • You vomit blood.

  • You have constant nausea and vomiting.

  • You have a fever.

  • You have excessive weakness, dizziness, fainting, or extreme thirst.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.