Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), quite a mouthful of a word. And quite a handful to deal with. If you break down the words, literally it means a lot of (Hyper) vomiting (Emesis) in pregnancy (Gravid). So you’d ask what’s new there. The operative word here is ‘A LOT’ which often gets overlooked.
Most women experience nausea and vomiting which we call ‘morning sickness’ (though it doesn’t necessarily come in the morning). Morning sickness usually fades away as the pregnancy progresses into the second trimester. But there are a few for whom it is not only much more severe right from the word go, but continues well beyond the 20th week till the child is delivered.
The major roadblock that comes in the way of the expectant mommy is that for the longest time its waved off as ‘normal’ and the older people tend to label the girl as hyper but not her symptoms. She tries to convince herself but the symptoms are so debilitating that she HAS to seek professional help. Often the expecting mommy finds her puking every hour and anything that goes inside doesn’t stay long enough. This may cause weight loss and dehydration which should raise alarm. The body salts (electrolyte) and fluid balance are gone for a toss.
What causes HG? Anything from hormonal changes to a history of HG in past pregnancies to stress (physical or emotional) or a predilection to acidity (reflux) and vitamin deficiencies- anything can increase a woman’s chances to land up with HG.
When to worry? Really worry enough to consult the obstetrician? A drastic weight loss and vomiting with inability to hold the food down should raise concerns. A loss of one kg in a week indicates a significant weight loss. Examine your urine… if it is unusually dark or you haven’t paid a visit to the restroom for almost eight hours, it often indicates dehydration. Sometimes the forceful retching even bursts the small blood vessels in the eyes and the constant high acidity in the mouth causes sore throat and erosion of tooth enamel and its weakening.
What does the obstetrician do? Assesses the suffering mommy and the cases that are really bad have to be hospitalized. Such women need the intravenous drip to keep them hydrated till they can manage without one. And also the medications that help control the vomiting (the anti-emetics). If and once the woman is stable she’ll be advised upon adequate hydration which means taking fluids like water, buttermilk, coconut water and such sources. Anti-emetic medications are an absolute must and there are enough over the counter safe drugs available. High protein diet is needed and vitamin supplements have to be taken religiously. Having a food diary helps. Because certain foods may increase the symptoms. If there’s a pattern you can nail, avoid such food items. Seeking professional help is also important so that the baby’s development is also assessed. All that stress that the woman goes through sometimes affects the baby too.
Often we ignore the old wives tales but some do have a bit of wisdom tucked up their sleeve. And no harm trying some of the home remedies. A pinch of carrom seeds (ajwain) roasted and ground can be had at regular intervals. Then there are fennel seeds (saunf) and dried gooseberry (aanwla) that help some. Sucking ice or taking sips of cold water help keep nausea at bay. As they say whatever works!
And then there are some logical small things that do help. Eat small meals and have a lot of fluids in between them. However avoid water with meals so it doesn’t become too heavy. Walk around and never lie down immediately after meals. If you lie down all the acid and the food rush back to the mouth. In general walk like it’s a religion.
The wisest and the most concise piece of advice- Avoid the avoidable and deal with the unavoidable. Do not hesitate to seek help. If your instinct tells you something is not right, then it is not.
Do let me know if you have or are suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum or any one you know has. What works or doesn’t work for you. Cumulative wisdom saves a lot of energy and agony.
Stay informed and stay safe.First Published – https://www.momspresso.com/parenting/article/kate-middleton-is-suffering-from-hyperemesis-gravidarum-its-worse-than-it-sounds