Mercy Hospital & Health Services Contact Us
MyChart
About Mercy
Join Our Team
set font size large set font size medium set font size small
email this page print this page
Health Illustrated Encyclopedia Banner
Health Illustrated Encyclopedia

Disclaimer:
Our Health Information Database is provided by A.D.A.M. the leading provider of electronic and printed information for professionals and consumers in healthcare and industry. It provides authoritative, reliable content written and reviewed by an editorial board who represent a variety of specialty areas. This board reviews and evaluates all healthcare information to ensure it is accurate, reliable, and can be used with complete confidence. And now you have access to the same authoritative, trusted clinical information relied upon by health professionals around the world.
Hyperemesis gravidarum

Definition

Hyperemesis gravidarum is extreme, persistent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy that may lead to dehydration.

Alternative Names

Nausea - persistent - in pregnancy; Vomiting - persistent - in pregnancy

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Nearly all women have some nausea or vomiting, or "morning sickness," particularly during the first 3 months of pregnancy. The cause of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is believed to be rapidly rising blood levels of a hormone called HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), which is released by the placenta.

Extreme nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can happen if you are pregnant with twins (or more) or if you have a hydatidiform mole.

Symptoms

Signs and tests

The doctor will perform a physical exam. Blood pressure may be low. Pulse may be high.

The following laboratory tests will be done to check for signs of dehydration:

Your doctor may need to run tests to rule out liver and gastrointestinal problems.

A pregnancy ultrasound will be done to see if you are carrying twins or more, and to check for a hydatidiform mole.

Treatment

Small, frequent meals and eating dry foods such as crackers may help relieve uncomplicated nausea.

You should drink plenty of fluids. Increase fluids during the times of the day when you feel the least nauseated. Seltzer, ginger ale, or other sparkling waters may be helpful.

Vitamin B6 (no more than 100 mg daily) has been shown to decrease the nausea in early pregnancy.

Medication to prevent nausea is reserved for cases where vomiting is persistent and severe enough to present potential risks to you and your unborn baby. In severe cases, you may be admitted to the hospital, where fluids will be given to you through an IV.

Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

Nausea and vomiting usually peaks between 2 and 12 weeks of pregnancy and goes away by the second half of pregnancy. With proper identification of symptoms and careful follow-up, this condition rarely presents serious complications for the infant or mother.

Complications

Too much vomiting is harmful because it leads to dehydration and poor weight gain during pregnancy.

Social or psychological problems may be associated with this disorder of pregnancy. If such problems exist, they need to be identified and addressed appropriately.

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you are pregnant and have severe nausea and vomiting.

Prevention

References

Hepatic and gastrointestinal diseases. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 5th ed. New York, NY: Churchill Livingstone; 2007:Chap.43

Jewell D, Young G. Interventions for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;(4):CD000145

View Spanish Version

Encyclopedia Home
Drug Note Home
Health Information Home

Images

Care Points
    Read More

    Review Date: 6/5/2010

    Review By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

    The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

    www.adam.com
    www.mercyweb.org
    follow us online
    facebook youtube


    Contact us
    Home  |  Sitemap

    Disclaimer & Terms of Use  |  Privacy Statement  |  Notice of Privacy Practices
    Copyright ©2013 Mercy. Last modified 2/16/2011