Hyperemesis Gravidarum -A-Z Blog Series
“Morning sickness” or periods of nausea and vomiting is a well known factor in the first trimester of pregnancy. Hyperemesis Gravidarum, however, is defined at American Pregnancy Association as:
How can you tell the difference? Upwards of 50-70% of pregnant people experience some “morning sickness” which typically includes:
- Nausea sometimes with vomiting
- Nausea and some vomiting that goes away around 12 weeks
- Vomiting that does not cause severe dehydration/electrolyte imbalance
- Nausea/vomiting that allows you to take in nutrition/keep some food down
Hyperemesis Gravidarum complication typically includes:
- Severe vomiting
- Nausea/vomiting (severe) throughout the pregnancy
- Vomiting that causes severe dehydration/electrolyte imbalance
- Vomiting that may keep you from keeping any food down, preventing nutrition
Additional Symptoms of HG: headache, confusion, decreased urine output, fainting, extreme fatigue, weight loss of 5% more of pre-pregnancy weight, anxiety/depression, rapid pulse, and more.
While some milder versions of Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) can be treated at home with dietary changes, antacids, rest, and prescribed medications, some cases require hospitalization. When someone is hospitalized with HG they can receive IV fluids, nutrition, and medication.
Why does this happen? No one is 100% certain. It is suspected that it is related to the rise of hormone levels. There is no known way to prevent it but there are ways to manage it. If you have HG it is imperative you speak to your pregnancy provider. Because every person who has HG will need a plan from their provider and potentially medication, along with the risks/benefits of such medication, this blog will not offer suggestions on self management. For more information and resources, please visit Help HER.
HG is difficult to experience. You may have expected to send your partner out for late night runs for cravings instead of feeling sick. You may feel depressed and anxious, worried about you and the baby’s health. You may feel stuck in your house or at the hospital. Ask for help from your circle of support in the form of visitors, housekeeping, other sibling care if applicable — reach out! Rest as much as you can. Speak to your provider about any options available to you for relief. As hard as it may be to believe while going through it, HG will not last forever.
Kimberly Sebeck, HCHD, Knoxville Doula,
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