Food for Thought
Many pregnant women experience morning sickness, usually during their first trimester. In fact, 70%–80% of pregnant women report having some degree of morning sickness, according to the American Pregnancy Association. While pesky, this condition is quite normal and (blessedly) short in duration.
However, in about 1% of pregnancies, women will experience a much more severe form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum, says the American Pregnancy Association. Although the condition is thought to be caused by a rise in hormone levels, the cause is still unknown.
Hyperemesis gravidarum is characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss and electrolyte disturbances. Although mild cases react well to dietary change, rest and antacids, severe cases often require a hospital stay to allow treatment with intravenous fluids and nutrients.
So how can pregnant women differentiate between morning sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum? Here are some distinctions between the two conditions:
|Morning Sickness||Hyperemesis Gravidarum|
|nausea (sometimes with vomiting)||nausea with severe vomiting|
|nausea ends at 12 weeks or sooner||nausea does not subside|
|vomiting without severe dehydration||vomiting that causes severe dehydration|
|vomiting but can keep some food down||vomiting; unable to keep any food down|
Source: The American Pregnancy Association 2007.