Extreme Morning Sickness: Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Morning sickness is probably one of the first symptoms of pregnancy that you have encountered. Throughout the first trimester, most women will feel nauseous and some will be accompanied by vomiting. None of this is pleasant, but it is one of the beginning signs of pregnancy. However, how do you know that what you are experiencing is normal?
Morning sickness is caused by the sudden and rapid release of human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG. This hormone is released by the placenta and causes the “positive” sign to appear on pregnancy tests. Despite being called “morning sickness,” this can strike you at any time. Most women will feel nauseous at various times throughout the day. Some women will even vomit or have a hard time holding down their food. If this occurs one or maybe even twice a day, it is considered normal. The symptoms of nausea usually go away around the 13th week of pregnancy, although it varies from woman to woman. If you are the lucky majority, your nausea and vomiting will completely go away and stay away in the middle of your second trimester.

There are some women that are not so lucky. Around five percent of pregnant women will come down with hyperemesis gravidarum, also known as extreme morning sickness. This is when nausea is accompanied with violent vomiting throughout the day. Food and fluids will not stay in the system and the expecting mother will become severely dehydrated, causing an imbalance in her electrolytes. There is also rapid weight loss, such as over five pounds in a single week. People suffering from this will also see a decrease in blood pressure, causing confusion, exhaustion, and headaches.
As scary as it sounds, it is manageable. Research has not found a way to cure or prevent it yet but it is very treatable. The test for hyperemesis gravidarum requires you to undergo a urinalysis that will test for ketones. If it is found that she is dehydrated, she will usually be taken into the hospital for overnight care. In extreme cases, a woman may need to be in the hospital for extended stay. She will be hooked up to an IV in order to receive proper nutrients and hydration. Women that cannot receive an IV will often be intubated so she could be fed. She will stay in the hospital until the weight loss stops and her health regulates. Afterwards, it is highly recommended that the woman stay on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy or until the symptoms subside. When the woman is discharged from the hospital, she will be given medication to treat the issue. Some women will use herbal care, such as using ginger, or turn to acupressure.
Morning sickness affects up the eighty perfect of all pregnant women. Extreme morning sickness will affect only a handful, but there are ways to treat it. As uncomfortable as it is, there are definitely ways in modern medicine to manage the illness. Luckily, it goes away right after the mother gives birth- so she has two things to look forward to!


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