I had bad morning -- er, never ending -- sickness during my first pregnancy. Since it started pretty much after the pregnancy test was positive, when I was around eight-weeks pregnant in my second pregnancy and felt awesome, I thought I was out of the woods. WRONG. And this time, the morning sickness got worse. One day, I had really had enough. The vomiting -- which I actually found to be a relief after all-day nausea the first time around -- wouldn’t stop. I called my midwife who instructed me to get some sugar in my system. She said to eat a popsicle then call her if I couldn't keep it down. You can see where this is going -- all that grape popsicle goodness came right back up. I was sent to the hospital, where I was told I likely had HG. Luckily, I was given a couple bags of IV fluids, felt like a new woman and went home. Some moms aren't as lucky and need to stay in the hospital longer and run the risk of losing weight and body fluids -- much more than I did.
So, what's the difference between "regular" morning sickness and HG?
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) nausea and vomiting are common in early pregnancy, affecting 70-85 percent of pregnant women. Morning sickness typically begins within the first nine weeks of pregnancy, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. HG -- severe vomiting and nausea occurs in approximately one to two percent of pregnancies. ACOG explains that HG is the most common indication for hospitalization during early pregnancy and second only to preterm labor as the most common reason for hospitalization during pregnancy.
What causes HG?
Some chalk HG up to being stressed or overly hormonal -- um, it's called pregnancy, right? ACOG says HG may run in the family and if your mom or sister had it, you may be at higher risk. Moms of multiples and those carrying a girl may also be at risk for HG. I have boys, go figure. Whatever the cause, HG can make you physically and mentally drained and even be dangerous if you start losing a lot of weight or fluids.
What can you do about it?
Your doctor or midwife may recommend medical treatment. In addition to IV fluids like I had to have, ACOG says treatments may include vitamin B6, doxylamine -- an antihistamine -- or anti-nausea medications.
Bottom line? If you have severe nausea or vomiting, don't feel like you just have to "deal with it." Talk to your healthcare provider and seek medical treatment if needed. You will feel better!