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Hyperemesis Gravidarum - Waaaay more than "just" morning sickness

When does nausea and vomiting in pregnancy go from “just” morning sickness to hyperemesis gravidarum?

“Morning sickness” is actually a really common misnomer for mild nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy - the feeling isn’t just in the morning, it can occur any time of day and often does last all day. Nausea in pregnancy usually settles around 16-20 weeks, although in 5 percent of women this may continue until the baby is born. There are a variety of techniques that women can adopt at home to help cope.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), however, is a much more extreme version of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. Women usually end up extremely dehydrated, with weight loss of more than 5 percent of pre-pregnancy weight, and the inability to tolerate anything orally such that they cannot perform even simple daily activities. Women with HG will usually require hospital admission for stabilisation and medications, sometimes multiple times throughout their pregnancy. There is the potential for electrolyte imbalances, major depression (imagine continuously throwing up and feeling sick for months on end), and serious medical consequences in women with HG.

Thankfully the medical community is becoming more understanding towards women with nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, and HG. If you or someone you know is struggling with these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention by speaking to your Obstetrician/midwife/GP. And if you don’t think the answers you’ve been given feel right to you, always get a 2nd or 3rd opinion.


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