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‘I’m pregnant, not sick!’

October 15, 2018

Vomiting when Pregnant

You already know that being pregnant for most ladies means a period of nausea and vomiting.

This is commonly in the early stages of pregnancy.

After this, things appear to settle – for most women.

More than usual vomiting

However, some women experience Uncontrollable Vomiting (sickness), usually within the first 3 months of their pregnancy.

This condition is known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

From frequent vomiting, a pregnant woman may end up becoming quite unwell.

This is because severe vomiting leads to severe dehydration and loss of nutritional supplements.

What Hyperemesis means

Very quickly, the doctor can spot what is going on if you start showing hyperemesis symptoms.

This is because, during your physical check, they would also request a urine sample to check for Ketones.

How Hyperemesis happens

When the body breaks down food substances for energy, it begins from the simplest to the most complex to the hardest.

This means the breakdown of – carbohydrates, fat and protein – in that order.

Since the person with hyperemesis is not eating, they have no readily immediately available carbohydrate stores.

Their body quickly latches on to the fat stores and starts to break these down into ketones (i.e. it goes into starvation mode).

Weight loss is another feature of Hyperemesis.

Making the diagnosis

Your doctor can, therefore, tell how severe your hyperemesis is by testing for Ketones in your urine sample.

If the ketones are very high, you may need hospitalisation.

Treatment helps to stop the vomiting and the process of breaking down your fat stores.

This is done using anti-emetic (anti-sickness) medication to help you tolerate food/drink again.

In addition, you are given intravenous fluids to help replace the fluids lost from vomiting.

If untreated, it can affect the baby; but this is rare.

Can Hyperemesis be prevented?

We don’t yet know how to prevent Hyperemesis.

Pregnancy-related vomiting improves by eating small amounts of food frequently during the day and protein snacks at night.

Other helpful measures to take when pregnant are:

  • Regular sleep
  • and avoiding stress
  • Regular anti-sickness tablets keep nausea/ vomiting controlled until the end of the trimester.

Foods to Avoid when Pregnant – Infogram

what to eat when pregnant

We recommend speaking with your healthcare worker if you have any concerns.

Editing by AskAwayHealth Team


All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising  Medical Practitioners on various healthcare conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and help promote quality healthcare. 

The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified healthcare practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly

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Askawayhealth aims to deliver reliable and evidence based women's health, family health and sexual health information in a way that is easily relatable and easy for everyone to access.

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