The Complications of Hyperemesis

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    • Hypermesis gravidarum is a rare form of extreme morning sickness that effects approximately 1 percent of pregnant women who get morning sickness. There is no truth to the belief that it is caused by the body "rejecting" the fetus. Hypermesis gravidarum results in some complications, and, while not fatal, it can cause extreme discomfort if not treated properly.

    Vomiting and Nausea

    • The primary complications of hyperemesis gravidarum are extreme and persistent nausea and vomiting. The most dangerous aspect of this is the mother's loss of weight--sometimes up to 5 percent of the pre-illness weight.

    Lack of Nutrients

    • The secondary complication is lack of nutrients, both for the fetus and the mother. This lack of nutrients is caused by the excessive vomiting and also by an aversion to food, loss of appetite, dehydration, fainting and headaches that sometimes accompany hyperemesis gravidarum. Lack of nutrients can lead to several other complications, including vitamin deficiencies and renal failure.

    Causes and Treatments

    • The cause of hyperemesis gravidarum is not completely known; it is believed to be released by the sudden increase of the hormone chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which is triggered by the placenta. Most cases of hyperemesis gravidarum occur within the first three months of pregnancy and it is more frequent in women pregnant with twins. Most cases of common morning sickness are cured by bed rest and an increase in fluid consumption; however, in the case of hyperemesis gravidarum, hospitalization may be necessary to ensure that the mother and baby gain necessary vitamins and minerals. To this end, the pregnant woman may be treated with intravenous fluids or tube fed to restore nutrients.

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