Morning sickness is very common during pregnancy, however, it usually subsides after a few months or so. Fortunately, for many women, morning sickness is mild and very manageable. For some women, however, nausea and vomiting are extreme, and in some cases, occur on a constant basis. When this happens, it is referred to as hyperemesis gravidarum, and unlike regular morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum can last for the entire pregnancy rather than just the first few months.
If not effectively treated, hyperemesis gravidarum can lead to dehydration, nutritional deficiencies, and significant weight loss. It may also raise the risk of premature birth. Here are some obstetric care interventions your physician may recommend helping you manage your symptoms.
Ginger And Lifestyle Changes
Ginger is often very effective in the management of nausea and vomiting. You can enjoy ginger tea, ginger candy, ginger ale, and add fresh ginger to your foods. If you cannot tolerate tea, ginger candy, or eating food with ginger, your obstetrician may recommend ginger supplements. Ginger is usually well-tolerated by most people and it is thought to be as effective as anti-nausea medications.
In addition to ginger, lifestyle changes may also help quell nausea and vomiting associated with hyperemesis gravidarum. These changes may include eating smaller meals and more frequent meals that are rich in thiamine, high in carbohydrates or protein, and low in fat. In addition, avoiding triggers such as strong odors, loud noises, and sleeping in a hot environment may also help ease nausea and vomiting. Aromatherapy using scents such as mint, lemon, lavender, and orange may also help settle your stomach and relieve anxiety.
Medications And Medical Treatment
If conservative measures are ineffective in managing your symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum, your healthcare provider may recommend medications to relieve your symptoms. These may include antihistamines and prescription anti-nausea medications. Antihistamines, such as over-the-counter diphenhydramine, can help relieve nausea and vomiting, however, they can cause drowsiness.
Diphenhydramine is often used to treat allergy symptoms such as a runny nose and watery eyes, and it is also used to prevent motion sickness. If medications are ineffective, your doctor may recommend hospitalization so that you can receive certain medical treatments. These may include the administration of intravenous fluids and electrolytes to help rehydrate you and correct nutritional deficiencies caused by vomiting. In extreme cases, a nasogastric feeding tube may be warranted.
If you suffer from severe nausea and vomiting during your pregnancy, see your doctor right away so that they can implement an effective treatment plan. When hyperemesis gravidarum is treated in its early stages, complications such as dehydration, nutritional deficiencies, and premature birth may be less likely.