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Hyperemesis Gravidarum


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Jun 2021| Content last modified Jun 2021
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What is hyperemesis gravidarum?

  • Hyperemesis gravidarum is when you're pregnant and you throw up (vomit) a lot

  • You throw up so much that you lose weight and become dehydrated (don't have enough water or other fluid in your body)

Some vomiting in pregnancy is common. It's often called "morning sickness." If you have morning sickness, you feel uncomfortable but continue to gain weight and stay hydrated. Doctors aren't sure why some women have severe vomiting.

  • Hyperemesis gravidarum is different from ordinary morning sickness because it's so severe

  • You'll need IV fluid (directly into your vein) and usually medicines to stop the vomiting

  • Usually, hyperemesis gravidarum stops by 16 to 18 weeks of pregnancy

  • If it lasts for a long time or is very severe, it can cause problems with your liver

How can doctors tell if I have hyperemesis gravidarum?

  • Doctors will do blood and urine tests to tell if you’re dehydrated

  • They’ll also do an ultrasound (taking moving pictures of the insides of your uterus)

  • The ultrasound can help doctors tell if you’re vomiting for other reasons, like because you’re pregnant with more than one baby

How do doctors treat hyperemesis gravidarum?

  • You'll go to the hospital

  • Doctors there will give you IV fluids directly into your vein

  • Usually, you’ll stay in the hospital so you can get more IV fluids and medicines to help stop the vomiting

  • After you’ve stopped vomiting, you’ll get fluids to drink and small amounts of bland foods to eat

  • If you start throwing up again, this process starts over

Rarely, if you keep vomiting and losing weight, you may be fed through a tube. The tube goes through your nose and down your throat into your belly.

If you keep vomiting and losing weight and have liver problems, you may want to consider ending your pregnancy. You can talk with your doctor about this option.

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