What Is Hyperemesis And How Does One Relieve It?

Last year when Amy Schumer was pregnant, she made an Instagram video to bring awareness to hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), a condition affecting less than 3 percent of pregnant women according to WebMD. It was the first time a celebrity had spoken about the harrowing condition in public. 

The condition is characterized by constant vomiting, so much so that it becomes impossible to function and carry out the day’s activities. It appears around the fourth to sixth week of pregnancy, and it worsens between weeks nine to 13. 

The constant vomiting can lead to dehydration and, surprisingly, weight loss during pregnancy. HG lasts longer than morning sickness that generally does not affect pregnant women beyond the first trimester. For some women with hyperemesis, the vomiting dies by week 20, but not for everyone and it cannot be generalized.  

The reasons why women experience these extreme symptoms is not known according to Harvard Health Publishing. But doctors speculate that it is caused by imbalanced hormones, such as excess of estrogen or the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), also called the pregnancy hormone. 

However, there are some women who could be more prone to developing hyperemesis, especially women pregnant with twins and triplets, or  those who have a family history of hyperemesis. Women who experienced motion sickness, migraines frequently and hyperemesis in their previous pregnancy are also likely to get symptoms of  hyperemesis again. 

Some complications include the decreasing functioning of the kidneys and excessive production of saliva. As the pregnancy hormone is in excess, there are fewer chances of miscarriage supposedly. There is so far no research to suggest that the fetus might be affected. Except for some research that shows an increased risk of infants being born with lower than normal birth weight. 

So how is this condition treated? 

At first, what pregnant women can do for themselves is to eat and drink smaller portions but more frequently. Replace cold foods with hot foods if nausea persists. The doctor might recommend supplements, getting enough sleep and stress reduction techniques. Ginger is known to help hyperemesis when 1 to 1.5 grams is consumed at long intervals during the day. Vitamins B6 and B1 could reduce some of the vomiting. Antacids and IV steroids also help. 

In some cases, like with Kate Middleton, women with hyperemesis are admitted to the hospital in the first trimester as they get severely dehydrated. If vomiting becomes so bad that the woman cannot eat, she is given liquid supplements intravenously. This is also done when the woman is having electrolyte abnormalities. The lack of sodium and potassium can lead to low blood pressure and dizziness, hence the electrolytes help.

. pregnant Silent miscarriage is a condition that occurs when the fetus stopped developing or died but the placenta and embryonic tissue remain. Pixabay