Hyperemesis gravidarum is a condition characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and
electrolyte disturbance. Mild cases are treated with dietary changes, rest and antacids. More severe cases often
require a stay in the hospital so that the mother can receive fluid and nutrition through an intravenous line (IV).
DO NOT take any medications to solve this problem without first consulting your health care provider.
Why is this happening to me?
Do not worry. Your body is not trying to reject the baby as some people used to think. The
majority of pregnant women experience some type of morning sickness (70 - 80%). In about 1% of all pregnancies, the
woman will experience extreme morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum. It is believed that nausea
is caused by a rise in hormone levels; however, the absolute cause is still unknown. Hyperemesis gravidarum cannot
be prevented, but you can take comfort in knowing that there are ways to manage it.
Distinguishing between morning sickness and hyperemesis
|Nausea sometimes accompanied by vomiting
||Nausea accompanied by severe vomiting
|Nausea that subsides at 12 weeks or soon after
||Nausea that does not subside
|Vomiting that does not cause severe dehydration
||Vomiting that causes severe dehydration
Vomiting that allows you to keep some food down
Vomiting that does not allow you to keep any food down
Signs and symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum:
What are the treatments for hyperemesis gravidarum?
In some cases hyperemesis gravidarum is so severe that hospitalization may be required. Hospital
treatment may include some or all of the following:
Intravenous fluids (IV) – to restore hydration, electrolytes, vitamins, and nutrients
Nasogastric – restores nutrients through a tube passing through the nose and to the stomach
Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy – restores nutrients through a tube passing through the
abdomen and to the stomach; requires a surgical procedure
Medications – metoclopramide, antihistamines, and antireflux medications*
Other treatments may include:
Bed Rest –This may provide comfort, but be cautious and aware of the effects of muscle and weight loss
due to too much bed rest.
Acupressure – The pressure point to reduce nausea is located at the middle of the inner wrist, three
finger lengths away from the crease of the wrist, and between the two tendons. Locate and press firmly,
one wrist at a time for three minutes. Seabands also help with acupressure and can be found at your
local drug store.
Herbs – ginger or peppermint
Homeopathic remedies are a non-toxic system of medicines. Do not try to self medicate with homeopathic
methods; have a doctor prescribe the proper remedy and dose.
* When it comes to medications, it is very important that you weigh the risks and the
benefits. Some drugs may have adverse effects on you or the development of your baby. Discuss the risks and side
effects of each drug with your health care provider.