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.
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.
What are the risk factors for hyperemesis gravidarum?
A risk factor is something that increases a person’s chance of getting a disease or condition. Risk factors do not necessarily mean that a person will develop a condition. In the case of hyperemesis gravidarum, the following are risk factors:
* Hyperemesis gravidarum during a previous pregnancy
* Being overweight
* Having a multiple pregnancy
* Being a first-time mother
* The presence of trophoblastic disease, which involves the abnormal growth of cells inside a woman's uterus
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:
* constant nausea, especially after the first trimester
* vomiting after eating or drinking
* vomiting not related to eating
* weight loss
The symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum may resemble other medical conditions. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
Can hyperemesis gravidarum be prevented?
Although there are no known ways to completely prevent hyperemesis gravidarum, the following measures might help keep morning sickness from becoming severe:
* Eating small, frequent meals
* Eating bland foods
* Waiting until nausea has improved before taking iron supplements
* Using a pressure-point wrist band, vitamin B6, and/or ginger, as recommended by a doctor
How is hyperemesis gravidarum diagnosed?
A doctor will ask about symptoms, take a medical history, and perform a physical exam. In addition, the doctor might order certain lab tests to help in making a diagnosis.
How is hyperemesis gravidarum treated?
* your pregnancy, overall health, and medical history
* extent of the condition
* your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
* expectations for the course of the condition
* your opinion or preference
The goals of treatment include the following:
* reducing nausea and vomiting
* replacing fluids and electrolytes
* improving nutrition and weight gain
The type of treatment that is required depends on how ill a woman becomes. Possible treatments might include:
* Preventive measures—These might include a pressure-point wristband — similar to those used for motion sickness — vitamin B6, and/or ginger.
* Small frequent meals—Nausea and vomiting might be treated with dry foods (such as crackers), small frequent meals, and emotional support.
* Intravenous fluids—It is important for a pregnant woman to maintain her fluid intake. IV fluids might be needed if a woman continues to vomit throughout pregnancy. In severe cases, the woman might require hospitalization and given IV fluids. IV fluids might be discontinued when a woman is able to take in fluids by mouth.
* Total parenteral nutrition—The most severe cases of hyperemesis gravidarum might require that complex, balanced solutions of nutrients be given through an IV throughout pregnancy. This is called total parenteral nutrition (TPN).
* Medicines—Medicine to prevent nausea is used when vomiting is persistent and poses possible risks to the mother or baby. If a woman cannot take medicines by mouth, the drugs might be administered through an IV or a suppository. Medicines used to prevent nausea include Promethazine, Meclizine, and Droperidol.
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