Chronic morning sickness - Hyperemesis Gravidarum
While up to 85% of pregnant women experience from some level of morning sickness in their first trimester, a small number of women (estimated to be between .5 – 2%) suffer from a severe form of morning sickness called Hyperemesis Gravidarum. If left untreated, this condition can cause life-threatening complications for mum and her unborn baby.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum symptoms include:
- Persistent excessive vomiting (more than 3 or 4 times a day)
- Unrelenting, severe nausea
- A decrease in urination due to dehydration
- Maternal weight loss or failure to gain weight
- Rapid heartbeat
- Headaches and confusion
Severe morning sickness is considered Hyperemesis Gravidarum when:
- There is a loss of greater than 5% of pre-pregnancy body weight - this weight loss is often over 10%
- There is dehydration and a production of ketones (chemicals in the body that are present due to the breakdown of fat. Ketones are harmful in large amounts.)
- There are nutritional deficiencies
- There are metabolic imbalances
- There is a serious and ongoing inability to participate in regular daily activities
Hyperemesis Gravidarum usually lasts longer than the usual first trimester period for morning sickness but it does tend to resolve around 21 weeks – although, about half of HG sufferers experience symptoms for the entire duration of their pregnancy.
Complications of Hyperemesis Gravidarum can include:
- Gastric ulcers
- Oesophageal bleeding
Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a serious condition that needs aggressive treatment and care to avoid life-threatening complications. Early intervention and treatment, which very often includes hospitalisation, is vital to keep both mum and baby from becoming seriously unwell.