Morning sickness driving you nuts? There might be more to it than you think. Most moms-to-be experience some or the other form of morning sickness during the first trimester. And sometimes, the symptom isn’t even limited to mornings. But for some women, this morning sickness can be more debilitating than usual. Hyperemesis gravidarum is a rare condition characterized by extreme vomiting and nausea that affects between 0.5% to 2% of pregnancies. Wondering if you have this condition? Here’s everything you need to know about it.
Cause Of Hyperemesis Gravidarum
The actual cause of hyperemesis gravidarum is still unknown. However, a common belief is that a rise in hormone levels, especially estrogen and human chorionic gonadotropin (the hormone produced by the placenta at the very beginning of pregnancy), results in this condition.1 2 Hyperemesis gravidarum generally strikes anywhere between the fourth and sixth week of pregnancy and is said to be at its worst from the ninth to the thirteenth week. While hyperemesis gravidarum lasts through the entire term of pregnancy for about 22 percent of women, most of the cases get resolved around 20 weeks into pregnancy.
Symptoms Of Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Aside from severe vomiting and nausea, the following are the commonly observed symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum.3
- Weight loss
- Lean tissue loss (loss of healthy, necessary tissue)
- Mineral imbalance resulting in weakness, dizziness, and blood pressure fluctuations
- Food aversions
- Reduced urination
- Excess salivation
Implications Of Hyperemesis Gravidarum
This condition can be quite severe and has consequences for both the mother and the child. Pregnant women with hyperemesis gravidarum can become malnourished, which might make nausea worse. Babies from such pregnancies are likely to be born prematurely, have low birth weight, and be small for their gestational age.4 They might also grow up with attention problems, lower task persistence, and emotional and behavioral disorders.
Risk Of Hyperemesis Gravidarum
While the reason behind some women being more likely to suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum than others is unclear, you’re likely to be at a higher risk of the condition if you had a previous pregnancy with it. Long intervals between pregnancies can also put you at risk.5 Your genes could also make you more susceptible to the condition, which means that if your mom had it, you might too.6
Ways To Reduce Hyperemesis Gravidarum Symptoms
Tweaking your diet and lifestyle can give you some relief from the symptoms of this condition. Here are a few simple steps that can help.
- Rest as much as possible.
- Avoid anything that triggers your nausea.
- Eat frequent and smaller meals.
- Drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration.
Alternative treatment methods such as acupuncture and hypnosis have also been found to work in some cases.7
Now that you know everything there is to know about this condition, you’ll be able to tell when your pregnancy symptoms aren’t normal and prevent harm to you and your baby.
|↑1||Depue, Robert H., Leslie Bernstein, Ronald K. Ross, Howard L. Judd, and Brian E. Henderson. “Hyperemesis gravidarum in relation to estradiol levels, pregnancy outcome, and other maternal factors: a seroepidemiologic study.” American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 156, no. 5 (1987): 1137-1141.|
|↑2||Kauppila, Antti, Ilpo Huhtaniemi, and Olavi Ylikorkala. “Raised serum human chorionic gonadotrophin concentrations in hyperemesis gravidarum.” Br Med J 1, no. 6179 (1979): 1670-1671.|
|↑3||Cowan, M. J. “Hyperemesis gravidarum: implications for home care and infusion therapies.” Journal of intravenous nursing: the official publication of the Intravenous Nurses Society 19, no. 1 (1996): 46-58.|
|↑4||Veenendaal, Marjolein VE, Annet FM van Abeelen, Rebecca C. Painter, Joris AM van der Post, and Tessa J. Roseboom. “Consequences of hyperemesis gravidarum for offspring: a systematic review and meta‐analysis.” BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology 118, no. 11 (2011): 1302-1313.|
|↑5||Trogstad, Lill IS, Camilla Stoltenberg, Per Magnus, Rolv Skjærven, and Lorentz M. Irgens. “Recurrence risk in hyperemesis gravidarum.” BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology 112, no. 12 (2005): 1641-1645.|
|↑6||McCarthy, Fergus P., Jennifer E. Lutomski, and Richard A. Greene. “Hyperemesis gravidarum: current perspectives.” International journal of women’s health 6 (2014): 719.|
|↑7||Wegrzyniak, Lindsey J., John T. Repke, and Serdar H. Ural. “Treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum.” Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology 5, no. 2 (2012): 78.|