BAD Morning Sickness (aka Hyperemesis Gravidarum) during Pregnancy
Yay you’re pregnant! It’s amazing to have another life growing inside you knowing one day they will change the world in some way. Unfortunately, it also means you wake up extremely nauseous and morning sick. For being a miracle, pregnancy can come with nasty (literally) side effects. While morning sickness is normal, especially during the first trimester, excessive nausea and vomiting can be concerning. Luckily, hyperemesis gravidarum (aka morning sickness to the extreme) is pretty rare, but it's still worth knowing the symptoms.
Morning Sickness Symptoms vs. Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Hyperemesis Gravidarum requires a medical diagnosis by your OBGYN. If you’re wondering: what’s the difference between morning sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum? Check out the symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum below.
- severe nausea that does not go away
- vomiting that leads to dehydration
- nausea that almost always results in vomiting
- you can’t keep ANY food down
- weight loss
- significant lightheadedness/dizziness
Weight loss of 5% or more of your pre-pregnancy weight and decreased urination are also signs of this extreme form of morning sickness. Without the proper nutrients, your body naturally starts breaking down muscle to provide the missing nutrients. This breakdown of muscles causes chemical compounds called ketones to be found in urine. Excessive vomiting will often lead to dehydration due to the fluid and salt loss. Dehydration can be linked to headaches, confusion, fainting, loss of skin elasticity, low blood pressure, and rapid heart rate. While you may not experience all of these symptoms, they are signs to be aware of. Extreme fatigue is another sign, and no I’m not talking about being a little tired and wanting a nap, I mean not being able to get up to perform daily tasks like getting the mail or even going to another room.
Hyperemesis gravidarum can start at 4-6 weeks but may peak from 9-13 weeks. 80% of diagnosed hyperemesis gravidarum patients get relief between 14-20 weeks, but 20% still have severe nausea and vomiting during the remainder of their pregnancy.
Treatment for Hyperemesis Gravidarum & Morning Sickness Relief
While these symptoms are no fun and scary, the good news is that it is very rare! There are fewer than 200,000 US cases per year which equates to only about 1.5% of pregnant women. And here’s some other great news: it’s treatable by medical professionals.
Mild cases are treated with dietary changes, rest, and antacids. Some of the best dietary changes are easy home remedies found in our Pregnancy Pukeology Podcast Episode 4. For a quick sneak peek, some helpful foods for nausea are apples, crackers and ginger. Although you may not realize it, your body is working extra hard supporting two people instead of one! So get your rest; you deserve it! Antacids are great and most are available at your local drugstore, like CVS Pharmacy. Most are over-the-counter as well. Two common antacids are Tums and Pepcid (which is a slightly stronger version of Tums). Both work well, but Pepcid you only have to take every 12 hours whereas regular Tums can be taken about every 6 hours. However, you should always consult your doctor and OBGYN before starting new medications especially when you’re pregnant.
Another great option to decrease nausea and morning sickness are NoMo Nausea Bands. Research studies have also found that acupressure bands like NoMo Nausea help to reduce ketonuria, meaning that it truly helps to decrease pregnancy sickness by decreasing the amount of muscle. NoMo Nausea has also been clinically approved to stop nausea and vomiting safely in SECONDS. Yes, I mean 1/60th of a minute. So that means that if you wake up and feel your stomach doing flips, you can slip on a NoMo Nausea band and have instant relief! Best of all, they are all natural. They combine peppermint oil aromatherapy, distraction technology and acupressure to stop your morning sickness nearly as fast as it starts. Visit www.NoMoNausea.comto get your hyperemesis gravidarum / morning sickness relief bracelet right now. Or when you’re at CVS Pharmacy picking up some Tums or Pepcid, pick up a NoMo Nausea band too! But don’t worry if that fatigue is setting in, you can order them off Amazon too.
Unfortunately, some cases of hyperemesis gravidarum are very severe and must be treated in a hospital. Due to the imbalance of electrolytes and loss of nutrients hyperemesis causes, those with serious morning sickness may need to receive nutrients through an IV. In the most severe cases, those suffering from excessive vomiting may need nourishment by TPN (total parenteral nutrition), which is through your nose. Gross, I know, but it’s for your own and your child’s health and safety.
Long term care with IV nutrients and fluids is not the ultimate solution. They often require the placement of invasive feeding tubes which require anesthesia. Luckily, there are 2 types of harmless anesthesia used for this procedure that are completely safe for you and baby. One type is a small amount of Propofol (a drug that causes some drowsiness) and local anesthetics on the skin prior to incision. The second type is a spinal block. Spinal blocks “block” feeling in the nerves in a certain region. In this case, you wouldn’t feel anything from the epigastric region (upper stomach region) or below.
Medications are also available but should only be limitedly due to possible side effects that could affect you or your baby. That’s why we highly recommend NoMo Nausea because it helps block 4 of the 5 nausea receptors in the brain and belly and there are no side effects. But if the case requires the use of medications these are commonly prescribed:
- Metoclopramide (Reglan) which increases gastromotility (movement of food through your digestive system)
- Antihistamines like Benadryl
- Pepcid which decreases the formation of additional stomach acid
However, if you cannot keep anything down and you have tried all the home remedies (remember Pregnancy Pukeology Podcast Episode 4!), then contact your OBGYN doctor. It might also help to have a hospital bag packed just in case you have to stay a few nights.
Now that you know the symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum and the possible treatments, you can have a more comfortable pregnancy. Don’t forget to pick up your NoMo Nausea Band at CVS to help your morning sickness whether mild or severe. And never be afraid to ask your doctor for advice if you need it. For more information on hyperemesis gravidarum (really bad morning sickness) listen to Episode 6 of our Pukeology Podcast, just click below!