Ever heard of Hyperemesis Gravidarum? It’s a condition that takes morning sickness to a whole new level. Are you struggling with severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy?
Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a condition characterized by severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, is an issue that affects many expecting women. While morning sickness is a common occurrence in the early stages of pregnancy, Hyperemesis Gravidarum takes this to another level. It is estimated that approximately 2% of pregnancies are affected by this condition.
One of the most significant concerns when dealing with Hyperemesis Gravidarum is dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. It brings risks to a mom’s health rather than the baby’s because babies don’t require many calories at the early stage of the pregnancy. Babies absorb and feed on whatever they need directly from the mom’s body.
Symptoms and Causes of Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Most women experience nausea or vomiting, known as “morning sickness,” especially during the first three months of pregnancy. The symptoms of morning sickness are caused by a rapidly rising blood level of pregnancy hormones, mainly estrogens and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).
The production of HCG rises in tandem with the growth of the placenta within the womb. Though morning sickness often occurs in the mornings (hence its name), it can happen at any time throughout the day. Women with morning sickness continue to gain weight and do not become dehydrated.
While mild morning sickness is considered normal, Hyperemesis Gravidarum represents a less common but significantly more severe form of nausea and vomiting. It can sometimes lead to weight loss exceeding 5% of body weight.
Hyperemesis Gravidarium is seen more likely with:
- Multiple babies (twins or more babies)
- Hydatidiform mole
- Hyperemesis Gravidarium with previous pregnancies
- Being prone to motion sickness
Hyperemesis Gravidarium can lead to:
- Weight loss (> 5% of weight)
- Electrolyte imbalances
- Thyroid and liver dysfunction
- Confusion or headaches
- Fainting due to hypotension
- Extreme fatigue
- Tachycardia (abnormally fast heart rate
- Low amniotic fluid volume
- Premature labour
What to watch out for
Symptoms typically start around nine weeks into pregnancy and tend to subside around the 20-week mark. However, in some cases, they may persist for longer periods.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum might cause transient hyperthyroidism. If it continues past the 20th week of pregnancy, it can seriously damage the liver by causing severe centrilobular necrosis or widespread fatty degeneration. In extreme cases, patients may experience Wernicke encephalopathy due to brain damage or esophageal rupture from frequent vomiting.
Regular consultation with a doctor is highly recommended if morning sickness persists for an extended period and becomes severe.
Treatment of Hyperemesis Gravidarum
When it comes to treating the condition, medical professionals usually begin by temporarily feeding the mother through an intravenous (IV) line. This method ensures that fluids, along with multivitamins, minerals, and electrolytes, are provided directly to the body without oral consumption. Once symptoms gradually decrease in intensity or severity over time, oral feeding can be reintroduced. At times, anti-nausea medication might be prescribed alongside oral feeding as a supportive measure.
In addition to traditional medical treatments for Hyperemesis Gravidarum management,
there are also holistic alternatives that some women find beneficial during this challenging time.
– Bed rest can provide comfort for weakness and fatigue.
– Acupressure and acupuncture on the inner wrist can help reduce nausea for some mothers.
– Certain herbs, such as ginger and peppermint, are known to have calming effects on stomach symptoms and can be used to alleviate discomfort.
– In some cases, hypnosis has been reported to provide relief from Hyperemesis Gravidarum symptoms.
It is important to consider all available options when seeking relief from the distress caused by Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Consulting with healthcare professionals can help determine the most suitable course of treatment based on individual needs.
Written by: Tina I Ureten MD, RDMS, RDCS
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