Morning Sickness is extremely common during pregnancy. Morning Sickness can be very mild or moderate. About 80% of pregnant women suffer with some kind of morning sickness including nausea and vomiting. When morning sickness becomes severe it is defined as Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) which affects about 1% of pregnant women. HG is characterized has nausea that is so severe that it might cause weight loss, dehydration, low blood pressure and extreme fatigue. HG is no joke and can be very mentally and physically debilitating.
**DISCLAIMER: Please consult your physician before attempting any of the tips mentioned in this article to find the best treatment for you! **
There isn't much proof about why some women suffer with HG and others do not. It is theorized that HG is due to all of the rising hormones but that doesn't quite explain why some women experience severe nausea while others do not even though their hormones might be rising at the same speed. Also, a pregnant woman might suffer from HG during one pregnancy and not another. The symptoms of HG will usually appear relatively early in the pregnancy starting anywhere between 4-6 weeks. The peak of HG is typically 9-13 weeks. The sickness will start to die down between 14-20 weeks. About 20% of women with HG will require care through their entire pregnancy.
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Food aversions
- Weight loss of 5% or more of pre-pregnancy weight
- Decrease in urination
- Extreme fatigue
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Secondary anxiety/depression
Sadly, there is no cure to HG and often the "game-plan" to overcome HG is medication and just "waiting it out." There are some things that doctors will suggest to make sure that you and your baby are as healthy as possible during your pregnancy.
- Medication: Do not take over-the-counter nausea medications before discussing them with your doctor. Many medications are not safe during pregnancy! Often the first thing that your doctor will suggest for your nausea is a combination of B6 supplements and Unisom. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends "a combination therapy of both vitamin B-6 and doxylamine, which is sold over the counter as Unisom SleepTabs, for treating morning sickness in the first trimester. Take 10 to 25 mg of vitamin B-6 three times a day, every six to eight hours. Take 25 mg of Unisom SleepTabs once before bed." If this does not work then doctors might turn to a more serious approach where you will be prescribed medication for your nausea such as Phenergan or Zofran.
- Fluids: Even with the use of over-the-counter and prescription medications some women might still be extremely sick through their pregnancy. Pregnant women might experience dehydration that might require medical intervention. There are some women who suffer from HG that have to frequently go the hospital and receive fluids through a i.v to to restore hydration, electrolytes, vitamins, and nutrients.
- Avoiding Certain Foods: Many women who suffer from extreme nausea admit that certain foods and smells can make them even more sick. It is important that women avoid anything that might make them get nauseous. Avoid going to restaurants or the grocery store if possible.
- Find Foods That Soothe: Some women have found certain foods and drinks to help comfort their stomachs. The most popular things to consume to help alleviate an upset tummy is ginger, carbonated drinks, saltine crackers, peppermint, bananas, potatoes and things with a lot of protein.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum really makes pregnancy a whole lot harder! A time in your life that is supposed to be really beautiful and magical just ends up being really mentally and physically exhausting. It is important that you contact your doctor right away if you feel like your morning sickness is not normal and it is becoming too severe. Remember that your baby will be totally worth it though!