Is it Morning Sickness, or More?
Morning sickness is a very common pregnancy symptom. It can include nausea and occasionally vomiting. You may also experience fatigue and loss of appetite. Morning sickness symptoms usually subside in 12-14 weeks. They are not often severe.
Hyperemesis Gravidrum (HG), is a condition that causes severe vomiting and nausea that doesn’t go away. HG can occur within six weeks of pregnancy. It can also last for undetermined periods of time. HG can be severe and cause fatigue, a complete loss of appetite, dehydration, poor weight gain, and debilitating symptoms.
The National Organization for Rare Disorders recognizes that HG is “the second leading cause of hospitalization in early pregnancy and is more common in non-white and Asian populations.”
It can be frightening to think of nausea that won’t disappear, but it is important to remember that morning sickness is more common than HG. Morning sickness doesn’t mean you will have to suffer through your entire pregnancy.
HG Signs & Symptoms
It’s important to be able recognize the signs of nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy.
Some of the most common symptoms of HG are:
- Feeling almost constant nausea
- Appetite loss
- Do not vomit more than three to four times per day
- becoming dehydrated
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Nausea or vomiting can cause you to lose more than 10 lbs. or 5 percent of your bodyweight.
Mother’s Mental and Physical Health
As a part of HER Foundation’s blog, Rachel shared her personal experience suffering from HG. Before she was diagnosed with HG, she lost 13 pounds in a week. Due to her debilitating symptoms, she became completely bedridden and couldn’t go to the bathroom after being diagnosed. Rachel relates, “It was unbearable. I wanted to die. In fact, I told my husband, family, and doctors that phrase over and over again.”
The truth about HG is its effects on expectant mothers’ mental health. Postpartum depression, anxiety, difficulties bonding with newborns and even PTSD can all be experienced by women. Her Foundation reports that “Nearly 20% of women with HG will have PTSD and many more will have symptoms of trauma but not full criteria PTSD. Women with HG are more likely to seek help and feel emotional about the pregnancy.
It is normal to be different after any trauma experience. It is possible to grieve the loss of HG, however it may be. Healing is not linear. Reach out to your family and friends and prioritize your mental and physical health. You can also seek counseling or group therapy. This doesn’t apply to HG only. Pregnancy, labor, and postpartum can all be traumatizing. You have prioritized the well-being of your baby for nine months, and you may have experienced some things that can be unpacked. There’s no better time to put yourself and other women first than now.
We can only do the best things: raise awareness, advocate for moms with HG and make sure society understands the mental and physical toll it can have on a woman. We are here to help you if you have ever experienced HG during your pregnancy. You are brave, strong, and inspiring. We encourage you to share stories with us and connect with other moms going through similar situations. You are not alone, as always.