It is estimated that between 70% and 80% of women in early pregnancy suffer from nausea and the symptoms of morning sickness. In most cases, symptoms disappear after the first trimester however this is not always the case. Some unlucky women will have morning sickness through their entire pregnancy morning, day and night. What is even more unfortunate is that a small percentage of those women will suffer from life threatening levels of nausea and vomiting that is often described as relentless. This is referred to as Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
Princess Kate suffered from this during her pregnancy with Prince George. It even killed Charlotte Bronte, the famous English novelist in 1855.
Causes of Hyperemesis Gravidarum
It is not known exactly what causes some women to suffer from the serious pregnancy illness Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Evidence suggests it may be linked to the levels of the pregnancy hormone Human Chronionic Gonadotrophin (hCG) and the fact that some women are more sensitive to the hormone.
Additionally, some experts believe there is a genetic link. Anecdotal evidence indicates that 30% of women who have Hyperemesis Gravidarum have mothers who suffered from it. 20% also have sisters who have had the debilitating disease.
Symptoms of Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Far more dangerous than morning sickness, Hyperemesis Gravidarum has been known to kill when left untreated. It will normally commence between the fourth and sixth week of pregnancy. Some women will find symptoms will lessen in the second trimester. Unfortunately many sufferers will often experience severe relapses throughout the remainder of the pregnancy.
Here are some of the symptoms of Hyperemesis Gravidarum to look out for:
- Constant nausea and relentless vomiting
- The feeling of motion sickness
- Inability to keep down food or water
- Excessive weight loss
- Severe dehydration
- Decreased urination
- Extreme fatigue
- Inability to complete simple tasks such as taking a shower
- Rapid heart rate
- Dry/furry tongue
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or suspect you may have Hyperemesis Gravidarum, please seek medical treatment immediately.
Treatment of Hyperemesis Gravidarum
The problem with Hyperemesis Gravidarum is that often women with it will believe it’s just another part of being pregnant and, unaware of the dangers, will simply put up with it. The severity of the symptoms has even led some women to consider termination because it is so debilitating.
In the past, the medical industry proved complacent and unsympathetic towards sufferers but with increased research and education, this attitude has dramatically changed.
Many women are hospitalised when suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum. They will often be treated with prescription medication and intravenous fluids.
Treatment outside of the hospital may include:
- Anti-nausea medication
- Nutritional replacement programs, particularly Vitamin B and chromium
- Bed rest and sleep
- Behavioural therapy
- Natural medicines such as ginger
- High protein diet
It is important to discuss available treatments with your doctor to determine what is right for you.
Have you or a family member suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum? What treatment did you seek? How did you manage this life threatening illness?
If you become concerned about any symptoms please seek immediate medical attention we have some hotlines and suggested websites for further information and advice https://www.stayathomemum.com.au/my-kids/babies/important-hotlines-websites/
SAHM takes no responsibility for any illness, injury or death caused by misuse of this information. All information provided is correct at time of publication.