Hyperemesis Gravidarum: What moms-to-be need to know

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Extreme morning sickness is making pregnancy tough for women, including Kate Middleton. Have you heard of this condition?

You’ve probably heard the news by now – The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, is expecting her third child. That’s great news. But here’s the not-so-good news: she is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, otherwise known as extreme morning sickness.

This isn’t the first time that the Duchess is suffering from this condition. During her previous pregnancies with Prince George and Princess Charlotte, she experienced the same plight.

So what is this extreme morning sickness? Let’s find out.

What is extreme morning sickness?

Hyperemesis gravidarum, otherwise known as extreme morning sickness or severe pregnancy sickness, is basically, extreme vomiting.

Hyperemesis means a lot of vomiting and gravidarum means in pregnancy. Yes, it’s pretty much as simple as that.

This condition affects about one in every 100 pregnant women and those who have it generally feel awful, and are barely able to keep anything in their stomach. Sometimes it’s so bad that they can hardly get out of bed.

Vomiting in pregnancy is of course extremely common, but this extreme morning sickness (not confined to morning) can get women vomiting up to 50 times a day!

While regular morning sickness tends to go away by 14 weeks, extreme morning sickness begins between four to seven weeks and usually ends by about 20 weeks. But this isn’t always the case for in some unfortunate cases, it lasts throughout the pregnancy.

In very rare cases, it can cause danger to the mother and the child but otherwise, the most it does is to cause the mother to feel weak and lethargic.

How do I know it’s extreme morning sickness?

For normal morning sickness, the nausea isn’t always accompanied by severe vomiting and it usually subsides by 12 to 14 weeks.

Extreme morning sickness means that the nausea is always accompanied by severe vomiting, and it may go on throughout the pregnancy. Also, in this case, you may end up severely dehydrated and will not be able to keep any food in down.

extreme morning sickness

Excessive vomiting causes you to feel weak and lethargic.

The other common signs and symptoms of extreme morning sickness are:

  • Food aversions
  • Losing more than 5% of your pre-pregnancy weight
  • Less urination
  • Dehydration
  • Fainting spells
  • Fatigue
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate

In the event that this severe vomiting occurs after 12 weeks and is accompanied by fever and pain, the cause could be a gastric upset, urinary tract infection, thyroid or pre-existing diabetes.

Causes and risk factors of extreme morning sickness

The exact cause remains at large but it is likely to be a rise in hormone levels. There is no way that you can prevent this from happening to you.

These factors make you more likely to experience extreme morning sickness:

  • Expecting your first child
  • Expecting a baby girl
  • Expecting twins or triplets
  • Family history or previous experience with the condition
  • History of nausea when using oestrogen-based hormonal contraceptives
  • Prone to motion sickness or migraine
  • You are overweight

Complications

It is extremely rare for complications to occur as a result of extreme morning sickness. The main concern is the mother becoming too dehydrated as this can reduce the amniotic fluid levels, which in turn is harmful for the baby as amniotic fluid is necessary for the baby to thrive.

Dehydration and a lack of movement also increase your odds of developing deep vein thrombosis. Wearing compression stockings can help in this situation.

Losing too much weight during pregnancy can also cause the baby to have low birth weight.

Severe vomiting can cause physical damage such as bursting a blood vessel in your eye or tearing your esophagus. Such conditions would need immediate medical attention.

Treatment

Early intervention is important for it will prevent the extreme morning sickness from worsening. Treatment can also help alleviate the symptoms.

extreme morning sickness

You might be given medication and asked to be on bed rest.

Anti-sickness medication is an option, and it is safe for consumption during the first trimester. However, in some situations, the vomiting is so bad that you can’t even keep the medication in your stomach.

This might leave you with no choice but to be hospitalized. It’s likely that you will be put on intravenous fluid (IV) drips to replace lost fluids, vitamins, and minerals.

You might also require tube feeding such as:

  • Nasogastric – restores nutrients through a tube that passes through your nose and into the stomach
  • Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy – restores nutrients through a tube passing through the abdomen and into the stomach

Well, if you've been wondering just what is this extreme morning sickness that's been making pregnancy tough for the Duchess, now you know. We hope that it gets better for her, and anyone else who is going through it!

sources: American Pregnancy.org, Baby Centre

This article was originally published on theAsianparent Singapore. Minor edits have been made.

READ: 10 Mom-approved home remedies for morning sickness

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