Hyperemesis gravidarum leads to extreme morning sickness during the first and second trimesters, causing extended discomfort for the pregnant mother.
Patients must recognise hyperemesis gravidarum as an extreme form of recurrent morning sickness. We suggest pregnant women seek immediate gynaecological aid if prone to severe illness, leading to being bedridden while failing to perform daily activities.
Less than 2% of pregnant women experience hyperemesis gravidarum, making it a rare condition. It differs from morning sickness, an otherwise common thing during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Although the condition is not a fatal one, patients must seek clinical support to prevent potential complications.
Hyperemesis gravidarum meaning in Latin translates into excess vomiting (hyperemesis) + pregnant woman (gravidarum).
Patients experience more than morning sickness, including intense bouts of dehydration and unexplained weight loss. Besides, being bedridden due to prolonged fatigue, differentiates this from usual morning sickness bouts.
Physicians are yet to figure out the potential trigger that leads to hyperemesis gravidarum symptoms.
Women with a history of motion sickness and having experienced the same during previous pregnancies are most prone to this condition. Thanks to advanced prenatal care, it’s a manageable condition throughout pregnancy.
We classify hyperemesis gravidarum symptoms based on the severity experienced during pregnancy.
Pregnant women can experience anything between mild and severe symptoms, where they may experience extreme signs of morning sickness, resulting in complete bed rest.
The phases include:
- Limited to the second trimester
- Slight weight loss (5%)
- May require clinical aid to cope with mild hyperemesis gravidarum symptoms
- May feel discomfort while performing daily activities.
- Symptoms may extend till the last months before delivery
- Marked loss of weight (around 10%)
- Requires consistent clinical aid to counter the medium hyperemesis gravidarum complications
- May become considerably weak and face discomfort in performing daily chores.
- Prolonged symptoms that may continue till parturition
- Patients lose significant weight (over 10%)
- High risk of miscarriage
- Patients may require hospitalisation as general care fails to alleviate severe hyperemesis gravidarum symptoms.
- Leads to a chronic bedridden condition hampering the patient from performing potential chores.
Hyperemesis gravidarum causes symptoms similar to intense morning sickness, besides extreme weight loss and overall discomfort.
While physicians are yet to diagnose the underlying cause that triggers this condition in pregnant women, here are the potential reasons that lead to hyperemesis gravidarum symptoms:
- Side effects of a surge in hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) to maintain the pregnancy
- Individuals with a hydatidiform mole in the uterus
- Pregnant women conceiving twins
- Patients with prior pregnancy complications
While hyperemesis gravidarum and morning sickness share symptoms, the former is an acute condition, unlike the latter, common during pregnancy.
The most striking symptom is being bedridden for prolonged periods, besides losing weight while requiring active clinical support.
More information to recognise hyperemesis gravidarum complications during pregnancy is outlined below:
- Patients lose significant body weight.
- They often experience extreme nausea and vomiting.
- Some may not feel fit for oral consumption and require IV drip and saline transfusions.
- They experience acute body weakness, dehydration, and fainting bouts.
- Might experience unexplained salivation.
- May develop constipation.
- May experience this complication even during the last trimester.
Pregnant women with unexplained discomfort may show underlying hyperemesis gravidarum symptoms. They must consult a gynaecologist to get treated for this condition to prevent potential harm to the developing foetus.
Here are the diagnostic methods used to detect hyperemesis gravidarum complications:
- Manual diagnosis (rapid pulse and low BP are frequent signs of HG)
- Pathological diagnosis of blood and urine samples
- Application of USG to detect unexplained cell mass (hydatidiform mole)
- Measurement of pregnancy-unique quantification emesis and nausea (PUQE) score to calculate the frequency.
- Further diagnosis of liver and GI systems
We practice additional caution when treating pregnant women to prevent unwanted harm to the underlying foetus.
Hyperemesis gravidarum symptoms require a combination of medicinal and lifestyle measures. This reduces the severity, making it possible for pregnant women to lead a normal lifestyle. Here are some of the treatment techniques:
- Anti-nausea medications
- IV drip or saline infusion to replenish the loss of vital nutrients
- Consumption of suitable edibles to ensure both mother and child stay healthy
- Sufficient sleep to ease anxiety
Hyperemesis gravidarum complications are more visible in pregnant women prone to triggers. Women planning to conceive should consult a physician to learn more about individual triggers that can set discomfort bouts during pregnancy.
Besides, we suggest that patients seek clinical help at the earliest to prevent hyperemesis gravidarum breakouts. Here are some preventive care measures:
- Patients should stay away from potential triggers
- Avoid consumption of edibles triggering allergies
- Avoid using ingredients with a characteristic odour that can trigger nausea
- Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol
- Patients having motion sickness must seek treatment or practice advanced prevention when travelling
Hyperemesis gravidarum causes extreme discomfort during pregnancy. However, it is a treatable condition, and besides being a rare illness, it does not lead to potential foetal complications. Presently there is no complete cure for hyperemesis gravidarum complications, but advanced diagnosis can help manage the symptoms well.
Pregnant women experiencing unexplained morning sickness should immediately consult a doctor. For further information on hyperemesis gravidarum, we suggest patients make an appointment at the nearest CK Birla Hospital, offering the best-in-class gynaecology and obstetrics care to ensure a holistic experience from conceiving to parturition under the supervision of our best gynaecologist, Dr Priyanka Suhag.