I was surprised to learn that Hyperemesis Gravidarum had a day to call its own and pleased that this unpleasant condition has been recognized as a serious problem. In honor of that special day, here are 15 facts about hyperemesis gravidarum. (See my next post for 15 things you can do about it).

15 Facts About Hyperemesis Gravidarum:

  1. Nausea affects almost 90% of women during pregnancy, ranging from mild nausea when confronted by specific smells (my trigger was garlic) to near-constant nausea from non-specific causes that leads to vomiting.
  2. Although nausea and vomiting (N&V) during pregnancy are often called ‘morning sickness,’ the symptoms do not only occur early in the day. Up to 80% of pregnant women with N&V in pregnancy feel sick throughout the day.
  3. If you experience nausea when you take birth control pills or other hormones, are prone to motion sickness or migraines, you may be more likely to have N&V during pregnancy.
  4. N&V in pregnancy usually begins by 5 or 6 weeks, peaks at 9 weeks, and resolves by 16 to 18 weeks.
  5. Studies have shown that pregnant women who have some degree of N&V experience fewer miscarriages and stillbirths than women who don’t.
  6. Unfortunately, about 20% of pregnant women have N&V up until the 3rd trimester and 5% of pregnant women experience it right up to delivery.
  7. In most cases, N&V does not have any effect on the health of the pregnant mother or the baby.
  8. When severe nausea and multiple episodes of vomiting occur daily and prevent the pregnant woman from eating and drinking, more serious complications can occur.
  9. Weight loss is the most common complication. See your health care provider if you lose more than 5 pounds.
  10. Dehydration is the most dangerous complication.
  11. Infrequent urination, urine that is dark colored, dizziness when you stand up are all symptoms of dehydration. See your health care provider if you are experiencing these symptoms.
  12. You should see your healthcare provider if you cannot keep down any food or drink for more than 12 hours.
  13. If your N&V are severe, your health care provider will check your weight, blood pressure, urine, and blood for abnormal findings and perform an ultrasound to take a look at your baby.
  14. If you have N&V with one pregnancy, it is likely that you will experience it again in your next pregnancy. If you do not have N&V during pregnancy, it is likely that you will not have it in your next pregnancy.
  15. Even in women with severe hyperemesis gravidarum, although their babies may be small or underweight, they are usually otherwise healthy.