Nausea and vomiting are just one of the few downsides to pregnancy. Most women eventually ease well into it. But, if you experience a much more intense kind of morning sickness, you just might feel pregnancy is not for you.
Well, fret not, because should you get (or are already having) intense morning sickness, it is not a sign that you’re not ready for motherhood. That’s hyperemesis gravidarum.
Less than 3 per cent of women experience it, so it’s not common (meaning you might not even have it. But, it’s good to find out more about it just in case).
You’ll know you have it when it feels more intense than the type of morning sickness you’ve seen on TV. Expect that it’s going to look a lot less glamorous too.
Essentially, hyperemesis gravidarum makes you vomit more than 3 or 4 times a day. Horrible, yes. But, fortunately, there are treatments available. To find out more about hyperemesis gravidarum, read on.
What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum
This is the medical term for severe and persistent vomiting and nausea in pregnant women. About 3 per cent of pregnant women in the world experience it. The reason this condition is a big concern is that it can cause dehydration and weight loss in pregnant women.
Women with this condition can lose up to 5 per cent of their body weight, which is a challenge when you’re eating for two.
In normal pregnancy, 20 weeks. Some even experience it during their entire pregnancy.
Hyperemesis gravidarum symptoms are so intense that women are unable to do their typical day-to-day activities without vomiting. So, the more you know about hyperemesis gravidarum, the better.
What Causes Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Now, you know how intense it is, you might be thinking about how you can avoid it. The first question that many women with this condition ask is if it’s hereditary. Because if it is, then avoiding the condition at all seems a pretty long shot.
The good news is none of the research done on this topic found that the condition is hereditary.
The not-so-good news is that research cannot tell at all where women get it. What they do know is that hyperemesis gravidarum is caused by the rapid rise of serum levels of hormones HCG and estrogen.
It’s also a sign that you might be carrying more than one baby or have hydatidiform mole.
What this information tells us is that we cannot prevent hyperemesis gravidarum from happening, but we can prevent the experience from getting worse. So, how do we do that exactly?
Treatment for Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Lessen the portions, increase the frequency
When you have this condition, you can think of your stomach as a second-grader who is easily angered by the littlest push. So, as not to trigger your hyperemesis gravidarum, eat smaller portions of food and drink smaller amounts of fluids.
But, we don’t want you to get dehydrated, so smaller portions at increased frequency. So, if you were used to eating three big meals the entire day, change that to 5 small meals instead.
Your intense morning sickness is going to take a lot of your energy. So, the best you could do to prepare for it and not lose 100 per cent of your energy is to sleep more. Get into a comfortable position and plenty of rest, because all of that vomiting is going to take a massive blow.
Image Source: iStock
One way or another, that nausea and vomiting are triggered by something. Whether it’s the garlic sauteing in a pan, the sight of raw chicken, or smelling your husband’s perfume that you used to love, avoid them. You won’t get used to the triggers. Instead, they might just worsen your symptoms.
Drink your nutritional supplements
You can imagine pregnancy as a very literal long and intense drive to an extremely faraway place when you have hyperemesis gravidarum. So, since you know how long the ride is, you have to prepare for extremely long motion sickness as well.
Most doctors will prescribe you vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine. This vitamin can help overcome your nausea. You ought to take only the recommended dosage; otherwise, you can damage your nerves.
As for your vomiting, take more vitamin B1 or Thiamine.
Now, this solution is for women who got the morning sickness so bad that they cannot take fluids by mouth. And, it’s important for pregnant women to be hydrated. So, the next best thing is IV fluids.
Once you regain your ability to take fluids by mouth, your doctor can wean you off the IV fluids.
What to Eat for Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Small, frequent meals are going to be your best friend once you find out you have hyperemesis gravidarum. If you’re not used to them, here are some suggestions you can try:
Kale is rich in B vitamins, so this salad would really go well with your intense morning sickness. Add some balsamic vinaigrette, dried cranberries, and almonds, and this salad is good to go.
Dry foods that are high in starch content are super helpful in relieving a queasy stomach. So, make sure to have some on hand wherever you go. Saving some on your nightstand or inside your bag would really help during times you feel extra nauseous.
Ginger can do wonders for you if you have intense morning sickness. It helps relieve both nausea and vomiting. Try different ginger products – ginger tea, gingersnap cookies, and even some ginger candy. You can also try mixing ginger powder in your drinks or your food.
Image source: iStock
Now, this is a yummy, light snack that is packed with nutrients. It helps restore your potassium when you lose many of it after vomiting. The starch in this delightful fruit can also help you with diarrhea.
It is literally the breath of fresh air you need after extreme nausea and vomiting. Either chew it whole or infuse it in tea.
Of course, the most natural medicine of all is water. You can never go wrong with water. Not only do you stay hydrated (which is the first negative side effect of hyperemesis gravidarum) but it also relieves headaches that come with nausea. But, again, small amounts only. Drinking too much water can also worsen your nausea.
When to Go to the Hospital
If you see any of these signs, you might need to contact your physician right away and make your way to the emergency room:
- Struggle to take in fluids for more than 12 hours
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Abdominal pain
- Immediate drop in weight (more than 5 pounds of weight loss)
- Blood in the vomit
Otherwise, you can continue to eat in small amounts and more frequent intervals, take your vitamins, and rest well to help relieve the symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum.
So, you see, this disorder is manageable. It’s going to be an adjustment for sure. But, once you get the hang of it, you can just hang tight and wait until that bundle of joy arrives. Then, all of those sacrifices you made will be worth it.
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.