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Surviving Hyperemesis: Navigating The Storm of Severe Morning Sickness

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

What Is Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG)?

HG is hyperemesis gravidarum is not morning sickness. It is a debilitating and potentially life-threatening pregnancy disease that affects millions globally. HG may cause weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration, and debility due to severe nausea and/or vomiting, and may increase the risk of other serious pregnancy complications and cause long-term health issues for mother and baby(ies). Mothers can suffer from include neurological disorders, gastrointestinal damage, malnutrition and dehydration, and even organ failure. Children can suffer from low birth weight, intracranial hemorrhage (caused by vitamin K deficiency), intrauterine growth retardation, stillbirth, brain damage, infant disorders (neurological, respiratory, and circulatory), and abnormal development of some organs. One in three babies do not make it to term.

*Hyperemesis gravidarum does not look the same for every patient and severity varies.

Levels of Severity

Severe HG

  • Without treatment, the life of mother and baby are at risk

  • Symptoms are often difficult to control with medications

  • Requires fluids, medications, and sometimes nutrition for months

  • Malnutrition, dehydration, and muscle atrophy cause exhaustion

  • Weight loss may be 10% or more (less with early treatment)

  • Delivery may be complicated and difficult due to weakness

  • Recovery often takes several months or more

  • Signs of trauma and changes in family planning are common

Patients with severe HG are unable to function and constantly sick.

Moderate HG

  • May continue beyond mid-pregnancy but severity lessens

  • Weight loss is <10% (usually less with early treatment)

  • Requires medications, and sometimes fluids and/or nutrition therapy

  • Recovery may take several months

  • Signs of trauma and changes in family planning may occur

Patients with moderatre HG struggle to function and are very miserable.

Mild HG

  • Usually ends by mid-pregnancy

  • Weight loss is less than 5%

  • Benefits from medications and sometimes IV fluids

  • Recovery may take a few months or more

Patients with mild HG are can somewhat function but are miserable.


Click the button below the access the FREE HG HELP Assessment Tool


Causes of HG

Women in their first trimester — the first three months of pregnancy — are at risk for developing hyperemesis gravidarum. There currently is no way to prevent this condition.

Doctors are working to uncover what causes some women to develop the condition. In the last few years, studies found that genes may play a role.

Some doctors think estrogen levels may contribute to nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Estrogen levels are highest during the first trimester, when many women experience morning sickness. Those levels decline during the second trimester, which is when morning sickness goes away for most women. It’s not known why a small percentage of women develop more severe nausea and vomiting.

You may also experience it if you have a family member who has had it.

Conventional Treatment

Treatment depends on your symptoms. You may find relief through at-home remedies, such as bed rest, herbal supplements (such as ginger or peppermint), and acupressure. Motion sickness wrist bands that apply continuous pressure to your wrists also help. If nausea and vomiting continue, your doctor may prescribe an anti-reflux medicine to help control your symptoms.

What happens if symptoms continue despite these interventions? A hospital stay is necessary if you become severely dehydrated, can’t absorb the nutrients you and your baby need, or continue to lose weight. Intravenous therapy can help your body rest and re-hydrate by providing key nutrients to your system.

While the devastating complications of HG are numerous, the silver lining is that a great many of them are preventable with timely, effective, adequate medical and holistic care.

Check out our Blog: 9 Natural Ways to Manage Symptoms of HG!

A portion of this Blog can be found on Please visit their website to access more resources and blogs on HG, treatment, personal stories and more!


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