The majority of pregnant woman will suffer from morning sickness during pregnancy. Typically, short bouts of nausea and vomiting occur for the first few weeks and fade away as the first trimester leads into the second trimester. Morning sickness can feel severe, but there is a difference between having one bad day of morning sickness when pregnant and having hyperemesis gravidarum.
Hyperemesis gravidarum is the most severe form of morning sickness a pregnant woman can have. According to the HER Foundation (Hyperemesis Education & Research), women are diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum when they have lost weight (around 5 to 10% of total body weight), dehydration (sometimes severe), ketones in urine and trouble completing normal, daily tasks. Hyperemesis gravidarum, or severe morning sickness, typically lasts until the 21st week of gestation, but there are cases where pregnant women suffer throughout the pregnancy.
Medical Considerations and Treatment of Severe Morning Sickness
If severe morning sickness is a problem that lasts longer than a few weeks, your medical provider should be notified of the symptoms and issues. Keep track of the foods and drinks you consume during the day and how many times you vomit. Also note how many times you use the bathroom or have a bowel movement each day. Diarrhea is common during pregnancy and can increase the effect of severe morning sickness.
Medical professionals can offer advice on a proper pregnancy diet for severe morning sickness and prescribe medication to stop nausea. The cause of severe morning sickness is not known nor is the condition understood. In certain cases, treatment will require hospitalization for dehydration and malnutrition.
Eating to Stop Severe Morning Sickness
In many cases, severe morning sickness starts in the morning upon waking or when waking from a nap. Pregnant women should keep crackers and water next to their bedside to consume before getting out of bed. It is also important not to drink when eating as this can increase nausea. Gentle foods like chicken broth or vegetable broth offer a good source of nutrition and tend to minimize nausea.
Complications Associated with Severe Morning Sickness
Vomiting is hard on the stomach and teeth. If severe morning sickness is a problem, pregnant women need to have regular dental checkups. Stomach acids can deteriorate oral health quickly leading to cavities and other oral issues. Stomach acids can also burn the esophagus leading to difficulty swallowing.