|This photo isn't my own; it can be located at this link.|
Today it was reported that Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, was hospitalized for a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum. So what is hyperemesis gravidarum? It's extreme, persistent, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy that without treatment may cause dehydration, significant weight loss, and electrolyte imbalances. Hyperemesis gravidarum commonly begins between the 4th and 6th week of pregnancy and abates by the 15th to 20th week, but some women continue to have episodes throughout pregnancy.
Presenting signs and symptoms
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Food aversions
- Weight loss
- Decreased urine output
- Extreme fatigue
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Tachycardia (elevated heart rate)
- Loss of skin elasticity
If symptoms aren't severe, treatment includes:
- Encouraging small, frequent, meals and dry foods, such as crackers to relieve nausea.
- Increasing fluid intake during the day; seltzer, ginger ale, or other sparkling water may be helpful
- Taking vitamin B6 to decrease nausea.
If hyperemesis gravidarum is severe enough to require hospitalization, treatment may include:
- IV fluids to reverse dehydration and replace electrolytes.
- Enteral tube feeding to restore nutrients.
- Metoclopramide to improve GI motility.
- Antireflux medications to counteract reflux.