May is Hyperemesis Gravidarum Awareness Month

by | May 24, 2024 | Blog

Have you heard of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG)? If not, you’re not alone. HG, sometimes called severe morning sickness, is a rare condition that causes extreme, persistent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It can cause weight loss, dehydration, electrolyte disturbance, and can even become life-threatening – especially to the fetus.

How does HG differ from morning sickness?

While up to 80% of pregnant people may experience some nausea and vomiting during their pregnancy, only approximately 1-3% have symptoms severe enough to be diagnosed as HG. When a pregnant woman or birthing person has morning sickness, they typically have nausea that is occasionally accompanied by vomiting that does not cause severe dehydration. Symptoms normally subside by 12 weeks and the person is usually able to keep some food down.

With HG, a pregnant person will have nausea that does not subside and is accompanied by severe vomiting. The symptoms normally do not allow the person to keep food down and can include weight loss of 5% or more of pre-pregnancy weight, dehydration, headaches, fainting, extreme fatigue, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and more.

Pregnant women and birthing people who have HG are at a greater risk of negative maternal and fetal health outcomes, especially if they experience severe weight loss and/or fail to gain weight for two consecutive trimesters. Potential complications include fetal loss (34% of the time), early delivery, low birth weight, and congenital heart conditions.

What does treatment for HG look like?

Fortunately, medications and other treatments are available for HG. If you’re experiencing severe morning sickness, please speak to your healthcare provider to discuss treatment options, along with their risks and benefits.

For a low-risk, at home treatment, the American Pregnancy Association suggests trying acupressure. “The pressure point to reduce nausea is located at the middle of the inner wrist, three-finger lengths away from the crease of the wrist, and between the two tendons. Locate and press firmly, one wrist at a time for three minutes. Sea bands also help with acupressure and can be found at your local drug store.”

If you’re currently experiencing HG, we’re sending our love and healing thoughts your way!


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