Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG)

*The information about HG shared on this blog today was taken from hyperemesis.org. I highly recommend checking out their website for further information in regards to how to speak to your provider if you or your husband/partner believe that you may be suffering from HG. I myself am a survivor of these sickness multiple times and am always happen to be a listening ear to anything you may have suffered or endured while having HG.


Most women during pregnancy will suffer from some form of nausea or so-called "morning sickness", especially during the first trimester. What happens when it rapidly progresses to not being able to keep anything down? Of when it surpasses well into the second trimester after most women get their second-trimester glow and usually tend to feel better?


For most women, typical nausea that occurs during the initial phase of pregnancy will decrease and eventually go away. This typically happens around the end of the first trimester once the placenta has formed and takes over the load of nurturing the baby within your body. However, for a small percentage of women, nausea can not only last throughout the majority entirety of pregnancy, but become debilitating to the point of medical intervention needed on a regular basis


Hyperemesis Gravidarum, also known as HG, is severe nausea and vomiting that occurs in up to 2% of pregnant women. This type of sickness can result in dehydration, malnutrition, muscle weakness and extreme fatigue, loss of weight from 5-20 lbs during the first trimester, and inability to care for yourself. Not only does this affect the mother directly, but it also impacts those who surround her, especially her immediate family who will have to take care of her as well as the household tasks, chores, and other children.


What Causes HG?

As of right now, there is no set reason or cause for a mother having HG during pregnancy. Research is still being conducted, but as of now, some theories are due to genetics, hormones, thyroid issues, nutritional deficiencies, or gastric dysfunctions.


How Do I Know If I Have HG?

While it does take an actual diagnosis from your care provider if you have been dealing with any of these symptoms described below from the chart (provided by hyperemesis.org)then reach out to your provider about getting the necessary medical help that you need. The key with HG is that you do NEED medical attention because it can get worse, and if not treated it can and will affect you and your baby's health.


How To Talk to My Provider

Always be upfront and honest with your doctor. If you are suffering severe sickness and nothing that they have been giving you is working, please let them know. It can be very easy to think that you just need to tough it out or that it is all in your head. Know that this type of nausea and vomiting is NOT NORMAL for pregnancy, and you do NOT need to or should be feeling this way.

If they haven't been giving you what you need, you get to go to hyperemesis.org and print out their informational flyers to give to your provider at your next appointment to help you explain what you are feeling, but also give them a hint at what they can do to best get you the help that you need.

Providers who know of HG will most likely run some blood tests to see what nutrients you may be deficient in, such as vitamin B6, and order what is called a fusion, or an IV packet with extra vitamins in it to help supplement your fluids.


How to Help Someone Suffering From HG

This section is huge if you know someone who is suffering or has suffered from HG. Not only does this sickness impact their entire family, but it also has lasting impacts even after giving birth. One of the most common lastest impacts on the mother is PTSD, which can result in fear of getting pregnant again. So how can you help?


1. Offer specifically to help: Don't ask how to help, since the mother will not be focused on anything else other than trying not to be sick. When you want to help, have something specific in mind, such as cleaning the house, doing laundry, making meals for the family, or watching their children.


2. Don't tell them to try x, y, or z: Most of the common solutions to nausea such as ginger, cinnamon, lemon, and peppermint have most likely already been tried and failed miserably. At the end of the day, each mother will find something different that will help them through it as much as possible, or there really may only be one thing that they can stomach. For example, in my first pregnancy, I could only keep down orange Gatorade (mango not just orange) with a certain amount of ice in it. In my second pregnancy I tried Gatorade instantly got sick, so after much trial and error, I ended up drinking only orange juice with the right amount of seltzer water for 5 months straight. In my current pregnancy, I couldn't stomach either of them and plain seltzer water was all I could stomach.


3. Be a good listener: There is a lot to process after suffering from HG; how the family survived for that long without their wife/mother around, how many times the mother was in and out of the hospital, if the mother had to quit her job due to being so sick, as well as the countless moments that she will never remember from being so sick (no joke I can't remember patches of my life when I was that sick, which is hard since I don't remember much of when my oldest daughter was 2 years old). Just be a listening ear to how she is processing everything. You can always refer her to an HG support group if she wants to talk with others who went through it as well.


How to Process Having/Had HG

Talking and finding good support groups is the best way to start. It is a traumatic part of life for not only the mother but also her family, so finding someone outside of the family to process with can be a big help. You can find a specific HG support group on their website to join, or reach out to someone who has had HG and talk one on one with them.


I myself have had HG several times, even mildly this pregnancy in the beginning. If anyone ever needs to talk to process, please reach out to me!

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