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The Low Down on Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Hyperemesis gravidarum is characterised by excessive vomiting in pregnancy. It is sometimes referred to as extreme morning sickness. Although, like morning sickness, it doesn’t just happen in the morning. Hyperemesis gravidarum affects less than two per cent of pregnant women. For those affected, it is a pretty miserable experience.

Is this hyperemesis gravidarum?

This condition can be tricky to diagnose, because there is no clear cut medical definition of what hyperemesis gravidarum is. Symptoms include:

  • Weight loss – losing five percent of your pre-pregnancy weight
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive saliva production
  • Inability to eat or drink without vomiting
  • Low blood pressure when standing up

Being correctly diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum can be tough. If you feel your doctor is dismissing your concerns, ask for a second opinion.

The exact causes of hyperemesis gravidarum are unknown, but researchers have found some women are more likely to develop the condition than others. Women who suffer from migraines or travel sickness have an increased risk. As do women carrying twins or triplets. If your mum or sister had hyperemesis gravidarum during pregnancy, you will also be more likely to suffer from this condition.

Coping with hyperemesis gravidarum:

  • Your healthcare provider may prescribe anti-sickness drugs to help prevent vomiting.
  • Some women have found acupuncture has reduced vomiting.
  • Try to rest as much as you can, because tiredness can make vomiting and nausea worse.
  • Ask your friends and family for support. You’ll need help with everyday activities, and you’ll need a friendly ear every now and again.
  • Stay hydrated by taking frequent small sips.
  • Eat whatever you can keep down.
  • Avoid foods and smells that trigger vomiting.

A minority of hyperemesis gravidarum sufferers will be admitted to hospital to receive IV fluids and medication. A hospital stay allows the doctors to fully assess and, hopefully, treat your condition.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is unlikely to harm your baby. The baby will take nutrition from your body’s stores, so do not worry too much about your diet. Focus instead on keeping things down. Women who suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum for the full forty weeks, may find that their babies have lower than average birth weights.

When will it end?

Some women find that the hyperemesis gravidarum starts to ease at around the fourteenth week of pregnancy. For most women, it will be over by week 20, and the second half of the pregnancy will be a much more enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, for up to 20 per cent of sufferers, the hyperemesis gravidarum will last right until the end of the pregnancy.

Support

Hyperemesis gravidarum can be a relentless condition that can leave women feeling drained. Simple everyday tasks can become seemingly impossible. It can lead to depression or stress because of the frustration and isolation that come hand in hand with this condition. If your moods are being affected, speak to your healthcare provider. They will be able to advise you of local and national support groups to contact.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.

Fiona PeacockThe Low Down on Hyperemesis Gravidarum

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Heather Ronson
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Heather Ronson

As a HG suffer I can relate to the deep depression that comes with it. It’s a very hard time and people find it hard to understand it. I’m currently 21 weeks now and I am finding it a lot easier but the sickness is still there. I’ve had 6 admissions into hospital and lost 3 stone in weight. My heart goes out to any other suffers as it really isn’t a nice experience xx

Emma
Guest
Emma

I am now in wk 31 and still suffering with occasional sickness and constant nausea despite being on strong anti sickness tablets. I haven’t been able to work since being 6wks pregnant due to this debilitating illness. Thankfully I found support from pregnancy sickness support website and a lot of help from family and friends. This is my 3rd pregnancy and it has got worse each time. I had over three wks of hospital admissions before they have me the holy grail of drugs being ondansetron (also used by chemotherapy patients) and metoclopramide. And even then with these I was… Read more »

Jessica
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Jessica

I am currently 28 weeks pregnant with my first and have been sick since the day I turned 6 weeks. Even being on zofran, phenergan, reglan, and Zantac the vomiting could not be controlled. I lost right around 30 pounds from vomiting 20-30 or more times a day. I had been in the hospital more times than I can count. One day I passed out from malnutrition and low blood pressure caused by the hyperemesis. I went to the hospital that night from not being so weak I couldn’t walk. I ended up getting a picc line with 24-7 TPN… Read more »

Jayne
Guest
Jayne

I found that having a slim fast shake by the side of my bed helped… I noticed if my stomach got empty I would be vomiting and I was not able to get up and make food quick enough so I tried this as I was concerned by my weight loss.
As things like complan and slim fast contain vitamins I figured if I could only keep this down then that would be better than nothing… It helped- that and anti emitics! My thoughts go out to anyone who has suffered with this debilitating condition.

jessie
Guest
jessie

I am suffering this with my second pregnancy and i also suffered with the first. With my first pregnancy i was fobbed off that this was a normal part of pregnancy until i vomited significant amounts of blood in the doctors office and was finally admitted to hospital for tearing and dehyration. With the first i was then given cyclizine and also tried everything natural on top of that too, such as accupuncture, homeopathy, ginger, sea bands, extra rest, time off work. I was still sick at least 5 -6 times a day even with all that and bed rest… Read more »

Tanja Ruta
Guest
Tanja Ruta

Hi, I am currently 12 weeks pregnant. It is my 8th baby. With this baby I went to a Doctor for accupuncture to help me with vomiting and it really helped. I feel sick and my blood pressure is very low, but I am vomiting every fourth day. With the second and the third baby I had no bad morning sickness, but with the other five i, sometimes I was thinking that I would die how much I was vomiting. I couldn’t stand on my feet. With the last one I got a stomach hernia, because of the vomiting. I… Read more »

Chloe
Guest
Chloe

I’m 8wks pregnant and I’m constantly being sick I’m unable to keep good down or drinks I’m always tired and just pretty much feel crap 24/7 what do I do?

Syne
Guest
Syne

Hi im 11weeks pregnant, and i did not experience any morning sickness from the time i was notice that im pregnant.. Is it normal? But every day i feel stomachache.
And im worried about that… 🙁

Alex
Guest
Alex

I’m currently 12 weeks 5 days pregnant and so far it’s been 2 days and I haven’t vomited I usually throw up 2-3 times a day in the morning befor and after dinner it’s hard to eat warm foods I’ve been eating a lot of fruit and veggies and I’ve been drinking pedialyte for dehydration.

Simran
Guest
Simran

Hi
I am 12 weeks 5 days pregnant.
This is my first pregnancy. I feel sick everyday after 2 or 3 pm.
I never vomited. Only nausea that is terrible bad. I don’t feel like to eat anything after 3 pm. Just want bed rest. Even if I try to speak that make my nausea worst. I lost 2 kg of my weight.
Apple help me a lot to tackle with nausea.

samia
Guest
samia

Hi, I’m currently 8wks and 4 days I can’t keep anything down. Smelling food make me vomited. I feel tired and my stomach hurt as well. What should I do?

Danielle
Guest
Danielle

Hi. Im currently 14 weeks 6 days. Im sick everyday. .. alot. On antisickness tablets 3 times daily and still am suck up to 10 times daily. Lack of energy is completely debilitating too. I started being sick around 4 weeks… just hoping for an end soon as truly is unbearable. Was admitted to hospital a week and half ago and was in for five days on fluids and vitamin ivs. It did help but three days after i started being sick again. Please if anyone else has been this severe can you give me advice to get through? X

Beth
Guest
Beth

I’m 12w5d with baby #3. My first two pregnancies I was getting sick multiple times a day but luckily this time I haven’t been sick once.
I’ve seen ads on tv about zofran causing birth defects. I’m not sure if they have changed the formula recently but if anyone is taking it please do your research. I’d hate to see something go wrong especially when the warnings are everywhere about this drug.
Good luck everyone.

Leya
Guest
Leya

I’m 12w 5d today with my first. I got diagnosed at 5 weeks. I was in and out of the hospital every couple days up until I was 7 weeks. I was keeping absolutely nothing down. I had the worst time and found no relief up until I was 9 weeks. Its hard but I got to hear my babies heart beat and it makes all those unbearable days worth it. Stay strong mommies.

Laura
Guest
Laura

I am 12 weeks and 5 days in my 3rd pregnancy. My hyperemesis gravidarum began at 5 weeks gestation, and had me hospitalized for over a week more than once. My vomiting episodes lasted between 40 minutes to an hour of straight heaving with only a few minutes inbetween episodes. I couldn’t even Sleep through the nausea. I was fainting regularly. I lost 30 pounds. After a week of IV fluids I was released and given instructions and medications. I take a daily regiment of medications to combat it. Gravol, Zofran, maxiran, and diclectin. I’m still vomiting occasionally. If you… Read more »

Rachael
Guest
Rachael

I’m currently 12 weeks and 5 days into my first pregnancy and my sickness has been HORRIBLE. I started vomiting as soon as I had concieved and I’m still vomiting now. I thought it was supposed to get better as you reach the second trimester? 😭 I have been to hospital twice but was refused iv medicine even though there were high traces of protein in my urine, and both times I hadn’t had a proper drink in over 24 hours. I was prescribed buccastem anti sickness tablets but they take a few hours to kick in! I have lost… Read more »

Stephanie Efe
Guest
Stephanie Efe

I suffered HG with my first pregnancy I lost 35 pounds it was really awful. But my practice prescribed Diclegis and it did the magic for me.Tried zofran but it never worked for me, I later found out on an ad on tv that it caused some birth defects in babies such cleft lips et al, pls ladies if you have to use it seek a Doctor ‘s advice.

Laura
Guest
Laura

I’m 12weeks 4 days. I found out I was pregnant when I was around 5 weeks and for the first two weeks I felt amazing, I couldn’t eat enough. Then just after 7 weeks the vomiting started, I visited my GP three times in one week and they kept sending me away saying it will pass, I was fine and never gave me any medications. I ended up hospitalised and received seven litres of fluid via an IV drip and I have been on anti-sickness tablets ever since. Fingers crossed its slowly starting to pass as I’m now finding I… Read more »

Lin
Guest
Lin

For my son who is now 9, I was very nauseated for 3 weeks before finding out I was pregnant at 7 weeks. Within few days I was vomiting. Within 24 hours I was vomiting all the time couldn’t keep anything down. After 14 hours went to emergency and was put on dicletin. It helped but I had to stay on it for the whole pregnancy. Now I’m 12 weeks 5 days pregnant with twins. The nausea started at 3 weeks. At week 5 found out I was pregnant with twins. Was put on dicletin right away. I been so… Read more »

Louisa Estrada
Guest
Louisa Estrada

I have to admit for being 43 and getting pregnant after thinking I couldn’t have anymore babies other then my 15yr old I have been totally healthy with this pregnancy. Not once have I gotten morning sickness. My husband has gotten all my symptoms since day one.

Cassandra
Guest
Cassandra

12 weeks 5days and I’m 37 third pregnancy with my husband and I’m not sick but extremely tired! I’m in bed before 9pm! I can’t wait to get my energy back!

Elaina
Guest
Elaina

Cassandra…..you sound exactly the same as me!! I am 36 and 12 weeks and 5 days pregnant with my third baby. I don’t feel too bad in general, but the extreme tiredness I am feeling this time round is terrible! I fall asleep before 9pm most nights, I just can’t keep my eyes open longer than that! Do you think it’s an age thing or what?? 😆💤

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

This blog needs to be a lot earlier than 12+ weeks!
I had terrible HG with my first child. It started at 7 weeks and for most will start between 4-7 weeks into the pregnancy. It was a horrific experience and very nearly put me off having another child.
I am blessed that this time I have gotten to 12+5 with only bad morning sickness.
There is an amazing Facebook group in Australia for women who suffer from
HG and an amazing foundation ‘HER Foundation’ with lots of up to date information for sufferers.

Heather
Guest
Heather

I’m 12 weeks and 5 days pregnant yes im 38, but I never had morning sickness with my 3 other children like this . I agree with some comments that I new i was pregnant by being nauseous from the get go . I conceived in Nov and all through the end of November and December ( so christmas was a joy joy) and still have it . I have lost weight and I can’t even do daily activities because I’m so sick. My husband actually has to stay and get my son on the disabled 7 year old son… Read more »

Kris
Guest
Kris

There is a really helpful support group on Facebook for hyperemesis gravidarum & gabapentin use (a medicine used to treat HG). I agree, this blog would be much more useful long before 12 weeks.

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