Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe form of morning sickness that can affect some women during pregnancy. It may develop around the 5th week and last until the 16th week of pregnancy. In some women, it may last longer. Symptoms include severe nausea and vomiting. This can lead to problems such as weight loss and dehydration.

It's not clear what causes hyperemesis gravidarum. It may be from rising hormone levels early in the pregnancy. It can be a serious threat to mother and fetus if symptoms are severe. Follow the advice below carefully. If your symptoms don't get better with home care measures, you may need to stay in the hospital. In the hospital, you may get IV (intravenous) fluids and medicines.

Home care

Diet

  • Keep a log of the foods you eat and how they affect your symptoms. Don't eat foods that trigger your symptoms.

  • Eat small meals often throughout the day rather than 3 large meals. This can help keep your stomach from being empty. An empty stomach can make nausea worse.

  • Choose foods that are high in carbohydrates. Eating foods high in protein may also help. Limit greasy or spicy foods.

  • Before getting out of bed in the morning, try eating crackers or dry toast. This may help settle your stomach.

  • Drink cold, clear liquids. Drinking small amounts of liquids with electrolytes, such as sports drinks, may help as well.

Medicine

  • If needed, your healthcare provider may prescribe certain medicines to help ease nausea and vomiting. Your provider may suggest vitamin B6 and ginger. Don’t try any over-the-counter medicines or home remedies without talking with your provider first.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Signs of dehydration. These include dry mouth, extreme thirst, dark urine or little urine output, dizziness, weakness, or fainting.

  • Vomiting that won’t stop

  • Inability to keep down liquids

  • Frequent diarrhea

  • Weight loss or no weight gain over a 2-week period

  • Severe constant pain in the lower right abdomen

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

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