Hyperemesis gravidarum

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is persistent vomiting in pregnancy often leading to fluid, electrolyte and acid-base imbalance, nutritional deficiency and weight loss. It occurs in approximately 0.3%-1.5% of live births and can last the first trimester, or occasionally right up until the baby and placenta is delivered. Famous sufferers include Charlotte Bronte (19th century English poet); Catherine Middleton (Duchess of Cambridge) and Amy Schumer (Hollywood actress and comedian).

HG is far more severe than morning sickness and is not normal. It can have a profound effect on maternal quality of life, often leading to work absence and low mood. Therefore, early detection and treatment is important. Reassuringly, having HG does not increase a woman’s risk of early pregnancy miscarriage. HG can lead to babies born with low birth weight or preterm.2

If you are experiencing nausea and vomiting in pregnancy that is affecting your ability to do your regular daily activities, contributing to weight loss or is concerning to you, book an appointment with a One for Women (OFW) GP for help.

At OFW we promote early recognition and intervention for women with nausea and vomiting (morning sickness) or HG. This improves quality of life and helps reduce the chance of hospital admission.

Initial management by a OFW GP will be to exclude causes other than pregnancy alone, and ensure adequate fluid and nutritional intake. There is good safety data available for a variety of medications that can be used throughout all trimesters of pregnancy in the treatment of nausea and vomiting and HG.

With the help of early intervention, oral medications, lifestyle and dietary changes, most patients can be managed out of hospital. Within our OFW team we have urgent access to a dietician specialising in pregnancy conditions. They can help HG sufferers tailor their food and fluid intake to minimise symptoms and maximise nutrition throughout the pregnancy. Our OFW psychologist can also help with management of low mood and anxiety that can be associated with HG. Our goal will be to reduce symptoms and optimise maternal and foetal health, and pregnancy outcomes.

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