‘I’m pregnant, not sick!’
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
There are however some women who 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 to show symptoms of hyperemesis.
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 most complex to hardest.
This means the break down of – carbohydrate, 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 a 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 are to take when pregnant are:
- Regular sleep
- and avoiding stress
- Using regular anti-sickness tablets to keep nausea/ vomiting controlled until the end of the trimester.
Foods to Avoid when Pregnant – Infogram
We recommend speaking with your health care worker if you have any concerns.
Editing by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
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