With the Duchess of Cambridge expecting her third child, lets take a look at what HG is...
8 September 2014| Last updated on 31 December 2017
Hypermesis Gravidarum is the medical term used to diagnose severe vomiting and nausea during pregnancy. HG is not a common pregnancy condition; statistically, it only affects up to three per cent of expecting mothers. However, if you're unlucky enough to suffer from HG, it is difficult to deal with and can be very worrying. You'll probably struggle to keep anything down, even your own saliva.
The condition usually begins between four weeks and seven weeks and starts to subside between 14 weeks and 16 weeks of pregnancy. By about 20 weeks most symptoms of HG will ease off completely. For some - between 10 and 20 per cent of sufferers - HG unfortunately goes on to last for the entire pregnancy.
Signs and symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum include:
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Food aversions
- Weight loss of 5% or more of pre-pregnancy weight
- Less frequent urination
- Extreme fatigue
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Secondary anxiety/depression
The exact cause of HG is unknown however there are a few likely factors. You may be more likely to develop HG if you:
- Are expecting twins or triplets
- Have a family history of HG
- Suffered from HG in a past pregnancy
- Are prone to migraines or travel sickness
- Have a pre-existing liver disease
Though HG can be miserable, if it is treated early on, it is very unlikely that your baby will be harmed. If you are concerned you may be suffering from the condition, it is vital you consult with your doctor first before taking any medication. Your doctor will assess your condition and prescribe what’s best for you and your baby.
The following steps help lessen, and deal with, the symptoms of HG:
- Talk to your doctor early on and explain the severity of your condition
- If you can't keep fluids down, contact your doctor as soon as possible to prevent dehydration
- Ask your partner, family and friends for support and help with cooking, shopping, childcare and household chores
- Avoid sights and smells that trigger your nausea
- Stay hydrated by taking small sips of fluid, or by sucking ice cubes
- Try home remedies such as ginger or peppermint tea
- Accept your cravings. Eat whatever you can manage and don’t worry about what you're eating. You can catch up on good nutrition later, as your baby will get nourishment from your body’s reserves
- Get as much rest as you can. Tiredness can make nausea and vomiting worse
- Don't feel guilty about how you feel. It is not something you can control and stress will only make it worse