Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Nausea and sickness are very common during pregnancy, affecting approximately 80% of women.

Nausea and sickness are very common during pregnancy, affecting approximately 80% of women. They are caused by high levels of pregnancy hormones being secreted by the placenta during early pregnancy so most women find that the symptoms decrease in the second trimester.

Some women will experience extreme and persistent versions of these symptoms throughout their pregnancy, called Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It is less common that the typical morning sickness, but it can be a very debilitating condition and require hospital admissions.

What are the symptoms?

  • Persistent feelings of sickness throughout the day, either resulting in actual sickness or a compulsion to wretch at the smell of foods/drinks/perfumes that you would usually find normal
  • You may feel nauseated even by your pregnancy cravings!
  • You may avoid eating due to the smell of food or may only be able to drink water
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Abnormalities in fluids, electrolyte levels and acid-base balance
  • Feelings of extreme bodily fatigue and possibly faintness
  • Difficulty laying or sleeping in certain positions

When will the symptoms stop?

Most women find that the symptoms begin to decrease or disappear by week 20 of their pregnancy. However, in 10% of women, the symptoms may persist. If this occurs, a short stay in hospital is recommended to allow intravenous rehydration and electrolyte balance, and treatment with anti-sickness medication.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a worrying condition during pregnancy and must be monitored closely to ensure that your baby is receiving sufficient nutrients. If you are experiencing extreme tiredness and unable to eat or sleep due to the condition, we may be able to prescribe you medication to reduce the symptoms and help your body to cope with the pregnancy both mentally and physically.

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