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Morning sickness is a condition which is very common in early pregnancy but it usually goes away by the 4th month. For some women, the symptoms do occur first thing in the morning while others find these same symptoms can come and go or occur during the whole day. Some 75% of women suffer from morning sickness during pregnancy.
There is another level of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum and while it is estimated that this extreme type of morning sickness only occurs in .5 to 2 per cent of pregnant women, it can be very unpleasant and if untreated, can lead to life threatening complications for the woman affected as well as her unborn baby. This condition causes severe nausea and vomiting that prevents the adequate intake of food and fluids and can lead to dehydration, weight loss and nutritional deficiencies as well as other complications for your and your baby.
If you suspect you have this condition, then contact your doctor or healthcare provider immediately. If you are newly pregnant and do not yet have someone looking after you, then go to the emergency room.
Your doctor, healthcare provider or the emergency room will probably give you some intravenous fluids right away. Tests then follow to determine your electrolyte levels and to make sure no underlying illness is causing your constant vomiting. Depending on your condition, you may need to be hospitalized so that you can continue to receive IV fluids and medication.
It is more than likely that you will feel much better once you have been rehydrated and you will then be able to control your symptoms with anti nausea medication. In very rare cases, the mom-to-be might need to continue to receive intravenous therapy on and off either in the hospital or at home. This condition will always need careful monitoring by your doctor or healthcare provider.
The signs of Hyperemesis Gravidarium can be:
o Severe nausea with persistent excessive vomiting (more than 4 times per day).
o Inability to keep down even fluids.
o Dehydration, the production of ketones, and a decrease in urination.
o Either maternal weight loss or the failure to gain weight - loss of greater than 5% (usually over 10%) of your pre-pregnancy body weight.
o A rapid heartbeat.
o Headaches and possible confusion.
o Pale-looking and dry skin.
o Nutritional deficiencies.
o Metabolic imbalances and
o Difficulty with daily activities
If you are not sure whether or not you are dehydrated – here are the signs for this condition:
o Pinched skin which only goes back to its normal state slowly.
o Flushed and dry skin.
o Decreased tears or saliva.
o A coated tongue.
o Confusion or irritability;
o Infrequent urination which is very dark in color.
HG is not fully understood nor is conclusive research on its potential cause available. Fresh theories and findings only substantiate that it is a complex physiological disease which is likely caused by multiple factors. Treating this condition is very challenging and the early intervention and treatment is critical. Any risks from this condition increase if medical intervention is inadequate or delayed.
As we have said above, the important thing is to receive medical attention as soon as possible, as your chances are then much improved for a healthy pregnancy right up until your baby is safely delivered. After your pregnancy is over and in preparation for any future pregnancy, it is also important to address any resulting physical and psychological complications as this condition can affect family relationships as well as the mother-to-be’s employment status. Women with Hyperemesis Gravidarum often lose their employment because of their condition and feel stigmatized by a disease which many mistakenly consider to be psychological.