Hyperemesis Gravidarum (Severe Morning Sickness): Definition
Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is an uncommon condition characterized by frequent, persistent, and severe vomiting and nausea during pregnancy. As a result, you may be unable to take in a sufficient amount of food and fluids. It can cause a weight loss of more than 5% of your pre-pregnancy body weight. This can also cause dehydration and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Treatment may require hospitalization.
HG is a more severe form of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP), also called morning sickness. Morning sickness affects anywhere between 70% to 80% of pregnant women. HG is estimated to occur in 0.5%-2% of pregnancies.
There are many theories about the causes of HG, but none have been confirmed. HG is a complex disease that is likely caused by many factors. Some of these include:
- Vitamin B deficiency
- Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)—hyperemesis most severe during period of highest hCG levels
- Hyperthyroidism —may be a result of hCG levels
- High levels of estrogen
- A multiple pregnancy
- Brain nausea-control-center sensitivity to pregnancy changes
The Brain May Be Cause of Nausea
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Last reviewedAugust 2013by Andrea Chisholm; Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.