How do I cope with severe morning sickness?

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Severe morning sickness affects around three percent of pregnant women and can lead to a hospital stay if not treated correctly. Find out how to tell if you have severe morning sickness and how you can cope with the condition.

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Severe morning sickness affects around three percent of pregnant women and can lead to a hospital stay if not treated correctly.

Morning sickness affects many expectant mummies in the first trimester of pregnancy. There are varying degrees of morning sickness. While some of us feel queasy, others are actually sick, and anything from the sight of food, a unusual smell or just drinking water, can set it off.

Consider yourself lucky if you fall in the category of pregnant mummies that don’t experience any sickness at all! Three percent of pregnant women suffer from a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) – severe morning sickness.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is like the angry big brother of morning sickness, and is much more serious and persistent. Imagine suffering through bouts of extreme nausea for months, without an end in sight. This is what HG sufferers go through.

Thankfully, this condition is relatively rare, but if you are one of the unlucky few to experience it, then it can be an upsetting time and a little scary. While you are over joyed at the news of being a mother, it becomes overshadowed by the nausea.

The condition can be very troublesome. Some women are unable to eat or drink anything and it can often continue throughout the duration of a pregnancy. It is a treatable condition as long as it is diagnosed early enough,  and it poses little risk to your baby, unless you become extremely dehydrated and jaundice.

Always attend your check ups and make an appointment with the doctor if you are struggling with morning sickness during your 1st trimester. You need to be monitored to ensure that baby has all the nutrients needed to develop.

The difference between hyperemesis gravidarum and morning sickness

Symptoms of morning sickness include nausea accompanied sometimes by vomiting, but not all women will actually throw up. This nausea is usually triggered by the sight and smell of certain foods but it won’t leave you dehydrated, and will subside by the twelve week of your pregnancy. The end of your 1st trimester.

Severe morning sickness (HG) on the other hand, is characterized by constant nausea and vomiting, weight loss, electrolyte disturbances, jaundice and dehydration. It can easily take over your life as you feel perpetually drained, which can leave you feeling depressed.

Causes of severe morning sickness

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There are several different contributors to morning sickness.

Causes of severe morning sickness

The exact causes of hyperemesis gravidarum are still relatively unknown, but we do know that it makes its unwanted appearance around the fourth week of pregnancy, and peaks between the ninth and thirteenth week.

Some of the factors contributing to HG might include;

  • The rise of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) pregnancy hormones which triggers the nausea controls in your brain. Increased estrogen levels are also to blame here.
  • Your organs displace during your pregnancy to make room for your growing foetus, which may result in acid reflux.
  • The presence of a bacteria called helicobacter pylori which is a common cause of stomach ulcers.

Up to twenty percent of HG sufferers will need care for the duration of their pregnancy, and while there is no way to prevent it, you can at least take a little comfort in knowing how to keep it under control

Treatment of severe morning sickness

Always seek medical advice if you are suffering from severe morning sickness as you and the baby will need to be monitored closely. You can also try the following home remedies to help relieve the symptoms:

  • Get lots of rest. Tiredness can only make your nausea worse
  • Eat whatever you can face, when you can face it. Your baby needs the nutrients now; you can worry about a balanced diet once you feel better.
  • Try sipping on herbal teas like ginger or peppermint.
  • Acupressure is said to also assist in combating nausea. Consider purchasing a sea band from your local pharmacy, which will stimulate the acupressure points.

If you are unable to stomach anything, call your doctor so that you can receive proper treatment.  Extreme cases will require a hospital stay where you will receive intravenous nutrition. Your doctor will also be able to prescribe safe anti-reflux and anti-nausea medication.

Article originally written by Reinette Robbertze.

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