Hyperemesis gravidarum is a rare, severe condition characterised by debilitating nausea and vomiting, weight loss, dehydration and electrolyte disturbance during pregnancy. Severe cases can require a stay in the hospital in order for the mother to receive fluid and nutrition through an IV line.
The majority of pregnant women experience some type of morning sickness; however 3.5 in 1000 women experience extreme morning sickness known as Hyperemesis gravidarum.
The cause of HG is unknown but one of the leading theories is that it is an adverse reaction to the hormonal changes of pregnancy. Recent studies have also indicated that there may be a genetic component.
It is more common in multiple pregnancies and is commonly experienced during the first 8 to 12 weeks of pregnancy.
The symptoms of HG usually appear between weeks 14 to 20, although up to 20% may need care for hyperemesis gravidarum but there are ways that it can be managed.
- Severe nausea & vomiting
- Weight loss of 5% or more of pre pregnancy weight
- Food aversions
- Low blood pressure
- Extreme fatigue
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Decrease in urination
- Secondary anxiety/ depression
What are the treatments for Hyperemesis gravidarum?
In certain cases hyperemesis gravidarum can require hospitalisation.
Treatment in the hospital can include some or all of the following:
- Intravenous fluids (IV) – to restore hydration, electrolytes, vitamins, and nutrients
- Nasogastric – restores nutrients through a tube which passes through the nose and to the stomach
- Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy – Replenishes lost nutrients through a tube which passes through the abdomen and to the stomach; requires a surgical procedure
- Medications – metoclopramide, antihistamines, and antireflux medications. When it comes to medications it is important that you weigh the risks and benefits. Some drugs can have adverse effects on you or the development of your baby. Ask your doctor about risks and side effects of each drug.
Other treatments that may offer relief include:
- Bed Rest –This may provide comfort but it’s important to also be aware of the risks of muscle and weight loss due to too much bed rest.
- Acupressure – The pressure point which can help to reduce nausea is located at the middle of the inner wrist, three finger lengths away from the crease of the wrist, and between the two tendons. Locate this pressure point and press firmly, one wrist at a time.
- Herbs – ginger or peppermint
- Homeopathic remedies are a non-toxic system of medicines. Speak to a health professional before taking any homeopathic remedies.