Hyperemesis gravidarum is the medical term for ‘morning sickness’ although it is more severe and is marked by symptoms such as intractable and persistent nausea, vomiting that could lead to electrolyte and metabolic disturbance, dehydration and nutritional deficiency and sometimes could require the hospitalization of the patient. It occurs in pregnant women
Statistically in happens in three out of a hundred pregnancies.
It is the most common cause of hospitalization in pregnancy usually due to the severe dehydration it causes. The cause of hyperemesis is unknown but it has been linked to the presence of higher level of hormones like oestrogen or human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) during pregnancy.
Women who are at a higher risk of experiencing hyperemesis:
- Those that had it in previous pregnancies,
- Women with a family history of hyperemesis,
- Women pregnant with multiple babies.
It usually starts between the sixth and eighth week of pregnancy and peaks by the twelfth week. Nausea and vomiting normally ends at the first trimester for most women but women diagnosed with hyperemesis usually experience it throughout their pregnancy.
It can be clinically diagnosed by your physician after all other causes of nausea and vomiting in pregnant women have been eliminated.
No research has linked hyperemesis to problems relating to foetal organ development and health risks to the foetus in women with hyperemesis are minimal but there are risks of low birth weight or premature babies. Also, women with hyperemesis have lower rates of miscarriage.
Women with hyperemesis are usually advised to combine rest, hydration, consumption of food in smaller portions and avoiding whatever triggers that provoke n