Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It is not common.
The cause is not known. There are many thoughts about what may cause it, such as:
- Hormonal changes
- A lack of vitamin B
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HG is more common in young pregnant women. It is also more common in pregnant women who are Asian or Black.
Other things that may raise the risk are:
- HG during prior pregnancies
- Prior molar pregnancy—a growth of abnormal tissue in the womb
- A mother or sister with HG
- A multiples pregnancy
- First-time pregnancy
- Having certain health problems, such as migraines or motion sickness
Problems may be:
- Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy
- Weight loss
- Light-headedness and fainting
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Blood and urine tests may also be done.
Other tests may be:
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms to prevent weight loss and dehydration. Choices are:
- Lifestyle changes, such as eating frequent small meals of bland, dry, high-protein foods
- Anti-nausea medicine
- Vitamin B6 to ease nausea
The risk of this problem may be lowered by taking prenatal vitamins for 1 month before becoming pregnant.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org
HER Foundation http://www.helpher.org
The Canadian Women's Health Network http://www.cwhn.ca
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) http://sogc.org
About hyperemesis gravidarum. HER Foundation website. Available at: http://www.helpher.org/hyperemesis-gravidarum. Accessed November 24, 2020.
American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Practice Bulletin 189: nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol 2018 Jan;131(1):e15.
Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/nausea-and-vomiting-in-pregnancy. Accessed November 24, 2020.
Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/practice-bulletin/articles/2018/01/nausea-and-vomiting-of-pregnancy. Accessed November 24, 2020.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 09/2020
- Update Date: 04/20/2021