HIGH-RISK PREGNANCY :: Digestive and Liver Disorders
What is hyperemesis gravidarum?
About half of all pregnant women experience nausea and sometimes vomiting in the first trimester - a condition often called morning sickness, as these symptoms are often more severe in the morning. Some women may have nausea and vomiting throughout the pregnancy. The cause of morning sickness may be due to the changes in hormone levels during pregnancy.
A small percentage (about 1 to 2 percent) of women develop a severe form of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy called hyperemesis gravidarum. With this condition, nausea and vomiting may be constant, and women often have weight loss, dehydration, and changes in their metabolic state.
What causes hyperemesis gravidarum?
The cause of hyperemesis gravidarum is unknown, but may be hormone-related. It is more common in multiple pregnancy (twins or more). Women with hyperemesis gravidarum in a previous pregnancy are much more likely to have it again with future pregnancies.
Why is hyperemesis gravidarum a concern?
Hyperemesis gravidarum can lead to fluid and electrolyte imbalances and nutritional deficiencies. Liver damage and jaundice (yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes) may occur with severe hyperemesis gravidarum. Excessive weight loss and poor nutrition in the mother may affect fetal growth.
What are the symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum?
The following are the most common symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum. However, each woman may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum may resemble other medical conditions. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
How is hyperemesis gravidarum diagnosed?
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, weight loss and electrolyte imbalances (detected by blood tests) often aid in the diagnosis of hyperemesis gravidarum.
Treatment for hyperemesis gravidarum:
Specific treatment for hyperemesis gravidarum will be determined by your physician based on:
The goals of treatment include the following:
Hospitalization is usually needed for hyperemesis gravidarum. All food and drink are stopped temporarily to give the digestive tract a rest. Intravenous (IV) fluids are almost always needed to replace fluids and correct imbalances in electrolytes. Sedatives and anti-emetic (anti-vomiting) medications are sometimes used. Many women are given total parenteral nutrition, which is an intravenous preparation of nutrients and calories. Tube feedings (placement of a hollow tube through the woman's nose into her stomach) may be used to give small, continuous feedings.
Click here to view the
It is important to remember the health information found on this website is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.
© Children's Hospital of Orange County