Nausea is common during pregnancy but what are the signs of extreme morning sickness?
Most women will experience 'morning sickness' feelings of nausea and actual sickness during their pregnancy. Forget the word 'morning', the queasiness can happen at any time of the day.
It's most common during your first trimester, and tends to ease after around 13 weeks, although some women feel queasy and suffer from nausea throughout their pregnancy, while it may return for others at different times.
But extreme sickness - Hyperemesis Gravidarum - is different.
If you're suffering from the following symptoms, you should talk to your midwife or GP in case you're suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum:
Sometimes, what you think is morning sickness - the nausea and the vomiting - could be a sign of a different problem, such as a urinary tract infection, appendicitis or pancreatitis. Get in touch with your doctor or midwife straightaway if you:
This is relentless vomiting and nausea that leads to a weight loss of over 5% of your body weight. It affects one in every 1,000 pregnant women.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum can vary greatly in degree and duration. It can mean frequent vomiting even up until birth. In extreme cases, you may even need to throw up after swallowing your own saliva.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum may require treatment as untreated it can lead to dehydration and malnourishment.
Treatment usually involves special drugs to suppress vomiting, anti-emetics, and possibly a hospital stay and feeding and rehydration through an intravenous drip.
Some doctors may misdiagnose a case of Hyperemesis Gravidarum as severe morning sickness, as it's not an easy condition to diagnose. It's important to let your doctor know exactly how often you are sick and how much weight you have lost, and that you suspect you are suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
With morning sickness you may be unable to cook hot meals or need a short time off work. With Hyperemesis Gravidarum, you could be bed-ridden for weeks, unable to work for long periods, too ill to cope with domestic tasks and need far more support from your family and friends.
For your partner it can be stressful because he has to take on most of the domestic duties and responsibilities. He may find it very distressing to see you go through so much and feel frustrated if he feels he can do nothing to help.
Seeking medical treatment for hyperemesis gravidarum is important.
After this, there are a few things that may help ease Hyperemesis Gravidarum:
If you've suffered Hyperemesis Gravidarum once, it doesn't automatically mean you'll get it again. However, the chances are quite high that you will, though it may be very different the next time.
Whatever happens, it makes sense to assume that you could suffer Hyperemesis Gravidarum again so you can prepare yourself mentally and physically for the possibility.
If you have suffered Hyperemesis Gravidarum, it's important you give your body plenty of time to recover before you fall pregnant again.
“I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum during my first pregnancy, so I knew the signs, and this time it started at around eight weeks. I had sickness from waking up and all through the day. On the worst days it was every half an hour, sometimes going on throughout the whole night as well. I was regularly admitted to the clinic throughout this pregnancy and stayed for a few days at a time, where I had a drip to rehydrate me.
“It’s important to be assertive about getting help – the longer you leave it, the worse it gets. I was constantly told it was normal and it would pass at 12 weeks. Also, eat whatever you want, because your baby will be fine. If it stays down it’s good. Drink water all the time too, because hydration is the key to the whole thing.”
Jules, 30, mum to Winnie, 5, and 34 weeks pregnant
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