Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) refers to the severe form of morning sickness that affects women during their pregnancy. Bringing a new life to the world is a wonderful feeling. As a couple, you expect the arrival of the newborn with excitement and anticipation. But, extreme morning sickness can make you feel uncomfortable and frustrated. The condition needs medical intervention as without your doctor’s help it can trigger complications for you and the unborn baby. Severe nausea and vomiting caused due to HG can ruin your joyous time. You tend to vomit and feel nauseous not just in the morning, but also in the afternoon, evening or night.
In a normal pregnancy, you have common concerns. So, you think only about how your pregnancy will progress week by week or what to expect with a new baby. You also tend to think about the changes occurring in your body. But, HG can make you worry about uncommon matters like if you will gain weight or will you feel comfortable to eat something. You feel constantly stressed about your unborn baby’s health and think about ways to overcome them. Here are the complete details regarding the rare condition affecting pregnant women. You can learn tips on how to deal with the uncommon yet a dangerous condition affecting only less than 2% of the total pregnant women around the globe.
Learn About Hyperemesis Gravidarum
When you get pregnant, your body takes time to adjust to the hormonal changes. The hormones in the body help to keep your baby nourished and protected. Due to the hormonal spike, you experience nausea. It is commonly known as morning sickness. But, unlike the name, you feel nauseous at any time of the day. It eases when you hit the 12 week mark. With hyperemesis gravidarum, you experience a severe form of morning sickness. Due to HG, you can experience dehydration and severe weight loss. It can affect your and unborn baby’s health. So, it is a serious condition that needs medical intervention.
Difference Between Morning Sickness And Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Most people are in the dark about the condition. But, it does not mean the problem does not exist among popular personalities. People became aware of the serious pregnancy condition when Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge stayed in the hospital due to the severe problem. When a public figure suffers the condition, then you feel somewhat comforting. It is because the public face can bring a bit of validation to the pregnancy condition that common people experience. Morning sickness and HG are different conditions with different complications and side effects. It differs from one pregnant woman to another. But, you need to differentiate the two different conditions. So, what is the difference between normal morning sickness and HG?
Pregnant women feel nauseous, which is also accompanied by vomiting. It affects during the first trimester and goes away after 12 to 14 weeks. The vomiting is not severe. So, it does not lead to dehydration. Morning sickness is one of the initial signs of pregnancy. It begins after conception and disappears by the third or fourth month. When you suffer from morning sickness, you can experience a slight loss of appetite and feel exhaustion. It also causes slight difficulty in performing the usual activities. But, you will not feel ill or need hospitalization for morning sickness.
HG is the condition triggering severe nausea that does not go away. The morning sickness caused by the condition can lead to severe dehydration. You find it difficult to keep any foods or fluids down. Pregnant women suffering from the condition can expect the symptoms within the first six weeks of conception. The extremely debilitating condition causes severe fatigue and exhaustion. So you cannot perform your regular tasks. It can last for weeks or months.
The condition can lead to a complete loss of appetite. So, you feel extremely tired and find it difficult to even get out of bed. Severe dehydration and poor weight gain are the results of the condition. It affects your health and causes complications to your unborn baby. The exact reason for the severe morning sickness remains unclear. Therefore, you have no foolproof method to prevent the condition. But, with medical assistance and little care, you can manage the symptoms to avoid any complications.
Symptoms Of Hyperemesis Gravidarum
HG usually occurs during the first trimester of your pregnancy. But, some women can expect the condition for their entire pregnancy. Less than half of the women suffering from HG experience several symptoms. So, pregnant women with HG can expect the following:
- Feeling nauseous constantly
- Vomiting for more than four times a day
- Loss of fluids, leading to dehydration
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- Loss of appetite
- Losing more than 5%-10% of your body weight due to vomiting or loss of appetite
Causes Of Hyperemesis Gravidarum
While morning sickness is common among pregnant women, hyperemesis gravidarum occurs rarely. Only some percentage of pregnant women suffer from an extreme case of nausea and vomiting. Just like morning sickness, the condition can occur at any time. So, it is not confined to morning, Like morning sickness, HG has a connection to HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin hormone). The hormone is created by the placenta after it plants itself in your uterus. In normal cases, the body produces the hormone at a rapid rate to sustain the pregnancy. The levels continue to rise as your pregnancy proceeds. When the hormone levels exceed, it can trigger severe nausea. The exact reason for HG remains unclear.
In most of the cases, women suffering from HG can see the symptoms appearing around four to six weeks of conception. It peaks around the nine weeks or thirteen weeks mark. While you can experience a slight reprieve from extreme nausea around your fourteen to twenty weeks mark, it can return again. Some women need special care due to hyperemesis. Since you have no known methods to prevent HG, you need to take steps to manage the condition. It reduces the complications associated with the condition and safeguards your health and protects your unborn baby from harm.
Risk Factor Associated With Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Pregnant women with some of the risk factors can suffer from the condition more compared to others. The factors influencing are:
If someone in your family has suffered from HG during their pregnancy, then you have a high chance of facing the problem. So, if your mother or sister has suffered from HG, then you need to maintain caution.
Women who carry more than one baby can experience severe nausea and vomiting. It is because the body produces more HCG to sustain the babies in the womb. Additional hormones can cause havoc in your body.
Women who have excess body weight while conceiving can face the risk of severe nausea and vomiting.
First Time Mother
If you are falling pregnant for the first time, then you are facing the risk of severe vomiting and nausea.
Also known as gestational trophoblastic disease, the rare condition causes abnormal trophoblast cells to grow inside the uterus after conception. So, a tumor develops inside the uterus after the joining of sperm and egg. The rare disease can trigger HG.
Complications Associated With Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Severe nausea and vomiting trigger imbalances in your body. You can suffer from electrolyte imbalance and dehydration due to the problem. The common complications associated with HG are:
The less common, yet serious complications associated with HG are:
- Collapsed lung
- Ruptured esophagus due to forceful vomiting
- Liver disease
- Brain swelling due to malnutrition
- Blood clots
- Kidney failure
Complications To Unborn Baby
Hyperemesis gravidarum can also trigger long-term complications to the baby without medical intervention. So, not just the expectant mother, but also the unborn child suffers due to severe vomiting and nausea. The malnourishment and less weight gain during the second half of the pregnancy can cause the following:
A mother suffering from HG can deliver a preterm baby. So, the chances of labor before 36 weeks of pregnancy is common among women who get no treatment for HG. Poor nutrition can contribute to the risk. Premature birth can cause the following issues in the child:
- Breathing problems
- Heart problems
- Temperature control issues
- Brain complications
- Low immunity
- Vision problems
- Learning disability
According to a study conducted, mothers who suffer from HG and fail to seek treatment can give birth to a child with behavioral or emotional issues. So, mothers with HG face a high risk of having children with depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder. The stress and anxiety an expectant mother suffers due to HG along with malnutrition contribute to the condition. It affects the brain development of the fetus and results in behavioral problems. These problems are lasting and have no permanent cure.
Diagnosing Hyperemesis Gravidarum
When you suffer from severe nausea or vomiting, then you need to consult your doctor. Your gynecologist must know about the discomforts you suffer during your pregnancy. So, during your doctor’s appointment, you need to undergo the following tests:
You need to convey medical history without leaving anything out. Your doctor must know if you have family members suffering from HG.
Your gynecologist performs a standard physical examination, which includes finding a fast pulse, abnormally low blood pressure, weight loss, etc. It sheds light on your situation and helps the doctor detect the issue.
Blood And Urine Tests
Your doctor takes a sample of your blood and urine to check for signs of dehydration. Other tests can reveal gastrointestinal issues that trigger extreme nausea or vomiting.
The doctor also performs imaging tests to check your child’s status. The imaging test using sound waves can reveal the presence of more babies (twins or triplets). It also reveals how severe vomiting affects your child’s growth.
Treatment For Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Depending on the severity of the condition and the symptoms you suffer, your doctor can suggest some treatment. You can also try some natural remedies at home to deal get relief from the discomfort. The treatment option available for HG are:
In some cases, severe nausea and vomiting can make you completely ill. Severe dehydration can affect your health negatively. You can face life-threatening complications. So, you need hospitalization to manage the problem. You need treatment to keep the food and fluids down. The following option is adopted by your doctor to make your health better and keep your baby safe:
At the hospital, your doctor hooks you to IV. It is to restore hydration in your body. Due to vomiting, you suffer from electrolyte imbalance and malnutrition. So, the IV fluids can restore the vitamins, minerals and necessary electrolytes.
For women who cannot consume food due to nausea, the tube suggests tube feeding. It is only selected for severe cases of HG. So, the options available are:
It restores nutrients in your body through a tube that passes through your nose and into the stomach.
Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy
The technique restores nutrients through a tube. It passes through your abdomen and into the stomach. It is an invasive procedure, which is suggested for severe cases.
When you are pregnant, you need to take care of what you eat or drink. So, when you take medications, it is essential to discuss with your gynecologist first. Medication can cause potential harm to your baby’s health. But, when vomiting becomes a threat to your health or your child’s health, your doctor prescribes medications. Anti-nausea medications that are safe for your unborn baby are prescribed to deal with severe nausea and vomiting. HG can lead to maternal dehydration, which can pose serious risks. But, before taking medications, you need to weigh the risks and benefits. So, talk to your doctor in detail about the adverse effects on the development of the fetus. Take a decision after getting all the information.
Alternative Treatment For Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Apart from the conservative treatment methods, you can also try some alternative therapies to deal with hyperemesis gravidarum. The effective methods available to get relief from severe nausea and vomiting are:
This alternative therapy with roots in China applies the same principles as acupuncture. The treatment option promotes relaxation as well as overall wellness. The practitioner locates the pressure points in your body to manage nausea and vomiting. The pressure points are located in the middle of your inner wrist. The pressure point is located exactly at a three-finger length from the wrist crease. When the practitioner presses the point firmly for a few minutes, you can feel relief. You can also get sea bands to help with acupressure.
It is the holistic treatment option that triggers your immune system to deal with many ailments. So, the non-toxic system of medicines can reduce the severity of hyperemesis gravidarum. But, you must never self-medicate with homeopathic methods. You need to see a doctor
Morning sickness is not just a physical issue because it has a psychological element to it. You can experience some triggers that can cause nauseous feelings. Hypnosis can deal with those triggers effectively. It helps you learn how to calm and manage the brain part triggering the effect. So, you will feel better each day. It is the natural remedy for severe morning sickness. When you listen to a session while you feel unwell, it helps you manage the symptoms better. Hypnosis sessions for pregnant women focus on reconditioning your mind as well as the body to make you feel more comfortable. It will make you feel good. You can enjoy the rest of your pregnancy without the stress and anxiety of nausea and vomiting.
Home Remedies To Treat Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Apart from the treatment options, you can also adopt some steps at home to manage the condition effectively. The remedies you can try are:
Try to rest your body as you need to feel comfortable and good. But, you must not confine yourself to the bed all the time as it can lead to muscle and weight loss.
Use Some Herbs
You can find some effective herbs that curb nauseous feelings effectively. Ginger is one of the effective herb alleviating nausea. Try drinking a cup of ginger tea to get smoothening effects for your stomach. The herb can also ease motion sickness. Whenever you feel nauseous, you need to sip some hot ginger tea or ginger ale. It makes you feel better. If you are opting for ginger ale, then avoid one with fizz as it produces more stomach acid.
Consume Bland Diet
Try to avoid spicy food from your diet. It can cause a digestion problem and severe discomfort in pregnant women. When you consume spicy food, the changing hormonal levels during early pregnancy can trigger nausea. So, you can suffer from morning sickness. Spicy foods aggravate morning sickness. It also triggers other digestive issues, including heartburn during pregnancy. The spice levels in your food increases acid reflux and cause heartburn. So, you need to avoid spicy as well as fatty foods.
Eat Small And Frequent Meals
Instead of eating three large meals every day, you can eat several small meals throughout the day. It is easier to digest food when you eat a small portion. So, you can keep it down without vomiting.
Drink Plenty Of Fluids
You need to drink a lot of water when you are not experiencing morning sickness. So, try to drink water every hour. It will keep your body hydrated even when you are vomiting. So, you will not feel exhausted and tired. It also prevents dehydration.
Eat High-Protein Snacks
To regulate your blood glucose levels, you need to eat a high protein snack. Keep the snack handy for easy consumption.
In some cases, deficiency of B6 Vitamins triggers morning sickness. So, talk to our doctor about taking vitamin B6 supplements to alleviate nausea.
Avoid Sensory Trigger
Sensory stimulate can act as triggers to make you feel nauseous. Pregnant women have increased sensitivity to smell. So, you need to take action to avoid strong smells worsening your symptoms. Other scents like rosemary or lemon can ease nausea. You need to understand and recognize the triggers bringing on an episode of vomiting or nausea. Therefore, you can avoid such triggers as far as possible to reduce the severity of HG.
Talk To Others
You will feel anxious, depression or frustration due to the condition. In such cases, you need to seek the professional assistance of a counselor to talk about the condition. Expert assistance will help you cope with your feelings and ease your mind.
The good news is along with your bundle of joy, the symptoms associated with hyperemesis gravidarum disappear. But, you have a long ahead for recovery as the physical and mental toll the condition causes needs time to heal. You need the support and care of your doctors as well as the family to deal with HG. The strong support system can help you ease the discomforts associated with the condition and ensure you have a safe birth with no complications.
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