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90 percent of all women experience occasional nausea in the first trimester. Usually, by the 14th week, this protective mechanism is put into perspective and you can enjoy the following months to the fullest. But what if the morning sickness persists, becomes stronger, or even dominates the entire pregnancy? Then a rare but well-known condition could be behind it: Hyperemesis gravidarum, the insatiable pregnancy vomiting.
Pregnancy Nausea In Two Extremes
Nausea and pregnancy – these are two things that have become a myth. They seem to go together as a matter of course and form a frequent topic of conversation among expectant mothers.
Little To None
Yet by no means every pregnant woman is affected. Some do not experience nausea even once in 9 months; for others, it is limited to mild discomfort. These women often appear untrustworthy to those around them, as if they were claiming something that can’t actually be true. Sometimes they are even told this – and thus get the feeling that their pregnancy is proceeding abnormally.
But this is not true! Pregnancy sickness is a common phenomenon, but not an inevitable one. Numerous women feel as well as ever and do not notice anything about the hormonal changes in their body – the main cause of morning sickness. You don’t have to justify it or fall into doubt.
Each pregnancy is individual and causes different sensations or accompanying symptoms in each woman.
Several Times A Day, Around The Clock
This also applies to the extreme opposite, so-called hyperemesis gravidarum. In this case, those affected experience a strong urge to vomit more often than average. They vomit several times a day – regardless of whether they have previously ingested food or drink. The condition lasts much longer than normal morning sickness and extends well beyond the first trimester.
Paradoxically, this persistent and constant nausea evokes the same reactions in many outsiders as a lack of discomfort: They do not believe the descriptions of affected women and accuse them of exaggerating or letting themselves go.
Responsible Management Of Vomiting During Pregnancy
Hyperemesis gravidarum not only has a name, but also has a long history, a typical clinical picture, and a number of serious consequences.
Anyone who does not take reports of frequent, persistent, and severe nausea during pregnancy seriously is, in case of doubt, complicit in any late complications that may occur.
You yourself are also responsible: If you experience noticeably severe nausea as a pregnant woman or if you have the feeling that the symptoms of typical nausea during pregnancy last longer than average, you should have yourself examined by a doctor.
Gynecologists and their staff, as well as midwives and maternity nurses, are familiar with the symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum and know what measures are indicated in the event of noticeably severe and prolonged nausea.
Possible Causes Of Nausea In Pregnancy
However, they cannot tell you what the cause of the condition is – because there is still no certainty about this. The only certainty is that hyperemesis gravidarum is not one of the so-called diseases of civilization. The records of the ancient Greek physician Soranos of Ephesus show that severe nausea during pregnancy was already known in ancient times. Modern living conditions such as:
- Increased consumption of white sugar.
- Light and air pollution.
- Abuse of stimulants.
Or the resulting tendency to:
- Functional diseases.
- Sleep disorders.
- Alcoholism and nicotine addiction.
apparently play no role in the onset of the disease.
It is much more likely that hormones are the trigger for hyperemesis gravidarum. This would explain why the severe malaise occurs more frequently in the course of multiple pregnancies than in women carrying a single baby.
The level of hCG in the maternal body rises faster due to two or more embryos and reaches higher maximum levels than in pregnancies with only one child.
However, doctors are not yet in complete agreement as to whether the hormones themselves cause nausea or whether they act as a catalyst. Since not all women have symptoms and only a few develop the extreme form hyperemesis gravidarum, various aspects must be intertwined.
Possible amplifiers are:
- Other hormones and/or enzymes.
- Digestive disorders.
- Malnutrition or malnutrition.
- Psychological influences.
Researchers also do not rule out a hereditary predisposition to constant nausea during pregnancy.
How Persistent Nausea Can Endanger Pregnancy
The importance of timely action is demonstrated by the dramatic consequences of constant vomiting: the loss of fluids leads to
- dry mucous membranes, which favor the penetration of pathogens.
- Disturbances of the electrolyte balance, which impair the metabolism and the efficiency.
- Circulatory weakness with low blood pressure accompanied by an elevated pulse, which can cause drowsiness, disorientation and fainting spells.
- Reduction of body weight by more than five percent.
- crystalline urine, which promotes semolina and stones in the excretory system.
All this endangers not only your own well-being but also the development of the unborn child. Under the influence of hyperemesis gravidarum, it is no longer sufficiently supplied and soon suffers severe deficiency symptoms.
In addition, the toxic waste products of your weakened organism enter the baby’s bloodstream via the placenta, where they cause further damage.
Effectively Combat Constant Nausea During Pregnancy
The treatment of extreme nausea during pregnancy is extremely varied. Here you will find some options:
Change Of Diet And Renunciation
If the danger for you and your baby has not yet become too pronounced, the doctors will first check your diet and try to identify possible disturbing factors. This is particularly indicated if nausea occurs after eating.
Occasionally, hyperemesis gravidarum is nothing more than a natural protective mechanism that protects the baby from harmful influences. By reacting to certain foods with prompt sputum, your body prevents the transfer of toxins.
In this way, many pregnant women develop an aversion to nicotine, alcohol, or coffee. But even seemingly healthy things can cause severe nausea. If it becomes noticeable after eating eggs, fish or dairy products, your organism’s alarm system may have been triggered.
In special situations such as pregnancy, it sends signals at the slightest suspicion to avert even theoretical dangers.
Build-up Cure And In-patient Treatment
However, the therapy of hyperemesis gravidarum is not always so simple. If the loss of fluid and the resulting threat are already very high, doctors must counteract with high-dose food.
However, since nausea is usually intensified by food, they resort to a tried and tested trick: they give you the food of the type used for severely emaciated people and/or after radiation treatment: A kind of astronaut food that provides a maximum of calories, vitamins, and nutrients in a small amount.
Additionally or alternatively, you may be admitted as an inpatient due to existing hyperemesis gravidarum. This gives doctors the opportunity to observe you and your baby and to feed you intravenously if necessary.
If necessary, medications are also used to calm the digestive tract and suppress nausea or to combat illnesses to which the constant nausea is due.
Pay Attention To Mental Health
None of this helps, however, if the hyperemesis gravidarum has psychological causes – in which case there are sometimes fatal interactions: if a woman feels stressed by an unplanned pregnancy, this can lead to increased nausea, which in turn inhibits bonding with the baby.
Another variant of mutual influence is that an intentionally pregnant woman distances herself from her desired child through constant nausea.
Therefore, hyperemesis gravidarum always requires psychotherapeutic support. How intensive this must depend on the personal situation of the pregnant woman. Economic or partnership tensions can certainly be a reason for constant nausea during pregnancy.
If you find yourself in an unclear or otherwise stressful situation, it is worth clarifying this. After all, emotional lows in the mother can endanger the well-being and thriving of the baby just as much as hyperemesis gravidarum itself.