Hyperemesis Gravidum

In this patient education video, Dr. Carlo Oller talks about hyperemesis gravidum.

What is hyperemesis gravidarum?

— Hyperemesis gravidarum is a condition that causes frequent vomiting (throwing up) in pregnant women. It is like morning sickness, except the symptoms are much more severe. Morning sickness is the nausea and vomiting that many women have during pregnancy. Even though it is called “morning” sickness, symptoms can happen any time of day.

What are the symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum?

— Women with hyperemesis gravidarum vomit every day, often many times a day. Women can lose weight and get dehydrated because they are vomiting so much. Symptoms of dehydration include: ●Urinating less often than usual ●Having dark yellow urine ●Feeling dizzy when standing up ●Weight loss Symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum usually start during the first 2 to 3 months of pregnancy. Most women feel better by the middle of their pregnancy. But some women feel sick until late in the pregnancy.

How can I find out if I have hyperemesis gravidarum?

— Your doctor or nurse should be able to tell if you have hyperemesis gravidarum by learning about your symptoms and doing an exam.

Are there tests I should have?

— Maybe. Your doctor or nurse might do tests to see if the vomiting is hurting your body and to make sure another condition isn’t causing your symptoms. These tests can include: ●Blood tests ●Urine tests ●An ultrasound to check your baby

Is there anything I can do on my own to feel better?

— Yes. To feel better, you can try the following: ●Eat as soon as you feel hungry, or even before you feel hungry. ●Snack often and eat small meals. The best foods to eat are high in protein or carbohydrates, and low in fat. These include crackers, bread, pretzels, nuts, and low-fat yogurt. ●Avoid foods that are spicy, greasy, or acidic (such as oranges). ●Drink cold, clear beverages, such as sports drinks and ginger ale. Avoid coffee. Also, try to drink between meals, rather than with a meal. ●Suck on popsicles or ginger-flavored lollipops. ●Brush your teeth right after you eat. ●Avoid lying down right after you eat. ●Take your vitamins at bedtime with a snack, not in the morning ●Avoid things in your environment that upset your stomach, such as stuffy rooms, strong smells, hot places, or loud noises. ●Have someone make your meals for you. ●Wear “acupressure” bands on your wrists. These are special bands that can help with morning or motion sickness.

Should I see a doctor or nurse?

— If you are pregnant, see your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of the symptoms listed above. How is hyperemesis gravidarum treated? — Treatment depends on how severe your symptoms are. If you are dehydrated or have lost a lot of weight, you will probably need to be treated in the hospital with: ●Fluids that go into your vein through a tube called an “IV” ●Medicines to help stop your nausea and vomiting If this treatment doesn’t work, your doctor can feed you through a tube that goes in your nose and down into your stomach or through a vein.

Can hyperemesis gravidarum be prevented?

— Doctors strongly recommend that all women who might get pregnant or who are pregnant take vitamins. The vitamin should contain at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Taking vitamins before pregnancy and in early pregnancy might help prevent nausea and vomiting.

Will my baby be healthy?

— Babies born to women with hyperemesis gravidarum for the entire pregnancy are a little more likely to be smaller than average. But otherwise, the condition doesn’t seem to cause problems. Taking medicines for nausea and vomiting during the pregnancy should not affect the baby either.