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Hyperemesis Gravidarum – Between a Rock and a Hard Place



It descends like a rain shower you can’t protect your self from.One minute you’re fine, the next you can’t stand up straight and the third you can’t stand the smell of your favorite perfume.


While Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) has been getting some ‘royal’ thanks to Kate Middleton, an HG sufferer,  but moms all around the world believe – people still don’t get how bad it is. People have this notion that some ‘moms- to- be’ exaggerate everything, but in this situation, you don’t have to exaggerate. It’s as bad as you can imagine.


It’s like the worst hangover you’ve ever had. You feel the poison running through your veins, pushing through your skin, trying to find a way out. Now imagine feeling like that every time you wake up, day after day, all day. Every day.


While nausea and morning sickness is an extremely tough phase of the first trimester, for women who have hyperemesis – constant feeling of nausea, the vomiting, and the sickness is crippling and multi fold.Getting on with life simply isn’t an option – the vomiting can be near on continuous while you’re awake with episodes anywhere from 5 to 50 times a day and puts women and babies at risk.


What is hyperemesis gravidarum (HG)?


Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a pregnancy condition that causes severe nausea and vomiting, weight loss and an imbalance of the body’s electrolytes.


While 70-80 percent of women experience some type of morning sickness during pregnancy, a diagnosis of HG is unusual –  current estimates suggest that between 0.3 and 2.3 percent of all pregnant women experience HG, though it’s possible the numbers are higher because some women don’t seek treatment for it.



What causes hyperemesis gravidarum (HG)?


The hormones associated with pregnancy(namely estrogen) are thought to play a key role. With symptoms usually appearing early in pregnancy – around 4-6 weeks – and peaking around 9-13 weeks. While most women find the symptoms ease after 20 weeks, some unlucky women suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum right up until they give birth.


What’s the difference between morning sickness and HG?


  • Constant nausea that doesn’t subside and accompanied by severe vomiting
  • Weight loss of 5 percent or more of your pre-pregnancy weight
  • Vomiting that prevents you from keeping any food down
  • Dehydration conditions that might require hospitalization


Surviving hyperemesis gravidarum


Treatment options do exist -generally through rest, changes to the diet and antacids, but full relief isn’t always on the table. Here are a couple of things you can try around the house:


Stay hydrated: Dehydration is a key factor with HG, and it can set in quickly when you struggle to keep any food or drinks down. So even though it’s hard to keep anything down, it’s super important to keep hydrated.


  • Drink few sips every couple of minutes and avoid taking large mouthfuls
  • Keep some electrolyte ice blocks in the freezer to replace the electrolytes you lose when you vomit.
  • Try sucking on ice or ice blocks.


Eat smaller meals: The LAST thing you want to think about when you feel like death warmed up is food! But try eating smaller portions and light in-between meals – food intake up is important for both your energy and child’s health.


Pamper yourself: When you’ve been feeling so ill for so long, sometimes a little bit of pampering can brighten you up just that little bit, making it easier to cope with day-to-day life.


Accept any form of help: Accept and familiarize people around you about HG. To begin with, it’s not the usual morning sickness. Being frightened is OK, being an emotional wreck is OK, being unsure of the future is OK, all of these feelings are natural and normal for an HG sufferer to experience. Make thy partner your greatest strength and support system during this period.


Ditch the guilt: HG is not a punishment at all; it’s a documented medical illness that for some reason or another affects ~2.3% of pregnant women through no fault of their own. You really are going through one of the hardest times of your life right now, and it’s OK to focus on you and your needs.


And most importantly, remind yourself it’s not forever.When every day is a struggle, you are going to be feeling overwhelmed, disheartened and will continue to believe that this is never going to end, but – ‘This too shall pass!’