Hyperemesis Gravidarum Affects 1 In 200 Pregnant Women

1041 words - 5 pages

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a condition that affects approximately 1 in 200 pregnancies. (Tamay, 2011) HG is a classified as severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy that results in dehydration and nutrition deficiency. (Davidson, 2012) This disorder, if not recognized early, can result in devastating complications to the mother and fetus. It is important to provide early patient education and treatment to reduce the risk of complications, hospitalization, and adverse psychological problems. (H.E.R. Foundation, 2013) Symptoms of HG include weight loss of greater than 5% of pre-pregnancy weight, frequent nausea and vomiting, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, malnutrition, and ketonuria. (Davidson, 2012) These prolonged symptoms can cause the mother to have severe fatigue, decreased physical functioning, and adverse psychological affects throughout the pregnancy. (H.E.R. Foundation, 2013) Although HG can cause serious medical conditions, an early diagnosis with conjunction of non-pharmacological and pharmacological methods, outpatient treatments, hospitalization, and patient education can help support a healthy pregnancy. (Tamay, 2011)
It is not uncommon for mothers to experience nausea and vomiting during the first trimester of pregnancy, however, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy should not result in dehydration, malnutrition, or need for hospitalization. (Tamay, 2011) Vitamin deficiencies, steroid hormones and Human chorionic gonadotropin have been distinguished as possible causes of HG, however, the specific cause is not known. (Tamay, 2011) There are indications of pre-pregnancy disorders that may increase the risk of HG. According to the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, “Hyperthyroid disorders, psychiatric illness, previous molar pregnancy, pre-existing diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders and asthma are reported to be significant risk factors for HG…” (Tamay, 2011) HG typically will subside halfway through the pregnancy, however some mothers may have these symptoms during the entire pregnancy. (H.E.R. Foundation, 2013)
Although this disorder may be easily diagnosed, some physicians may need to utilize the Pregnancy-Unique Quantification of Emesis and Nausea scoring index to assist with diagnosis. (Tamay, 2011) Treatment for HG is dependent on the severity of symptoms. Outpatient treatment would include patient education on how to reduce nausea and vomiting episodes. It is important for the mother to pay attention to triggers of nausea such as smells and certain foods. (Davidson, 2012) Educating the mother to eat small frequent meals, limit spices, eating dry foods before getting up in the morning such as crackers or toast, carbonated beverages, and drinking fluids between meals vs during the meal may help reduce episodes. (Davidson, 2012) Hypotension may also increase nausea so it is important to encourage the mother to change positions slowly. (Davidson, 2012) Some mothers have found relief by using...

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