Hyperemesis Gravidarum: What is it!?!

So What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

Here is a description of what Hyperemesis is and the symptoms that characterize it quoted from both Hyperemesis Research & Education (HelpHer) and Wikipedia.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a severe form of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. It is generally described as unrelenting, excessive pregnancy-related nausea and/or vomiting that prevents adequate intake of food and fluids.[1]

When HG is severe and/or inadequately treated, it may result in:[2]
  • Loss of 5% or more of pre-pregnancy body weight
  • Dehydration, causing ketosis, and constipation
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Metabolic imbalances
  • Altered sense of taste
  • Sensitivity of the brain to motion
  • Food leaving the stomach more slowly
  • Rapidly changing hormone levels during pregnancy
  • Stomach contents moving back up from the stomach
  • Physical and emotional stress of pregnancy on the body
  • Subconjunctival hemorrhage (broken blood vessels in the eyes)
  • Difficulty with daily activities
  • Hallucinations
Some women with HG lose as much as 30% of their body weight. Many sufferers of HG are extremely sensitive to odors in their environment; certain smells may exacerbate symptoms. This is known as hyperolfaction. Ptyalism, or hypersalivation, is another symptom experienced by some women suffering from HG.
As compared to morning sickness, HG tends to begin somewhat earlier in the pregnancy and last significantly longer. While most women will experience near-complete relief of morning sickness symptoms near the beginning of their second trimester, some sufferers of HG will experience severe symptoms until they give birth to their baby, and sometimes even after giving birth. An overview of the significant differences between morning sickness and HG can be found at Hyperemesis or Morning Sickness: Overview. [2]

Before I was diagnose with HG I was already having many of the symptoms listed above. I had no idea how pregnancy could be making me so sick! I told my husband (Alex) that I couldn't stand to look at the television, I couldn't bare to listen to him run on our treadmill, and I couldn't possibly to look at a computer screen (sensitivity to noise and motion). I would throw up so much and so hard that my eyes would look like they were bleeding (subconjunctival hemorrhage). When I did eat something it would make me so ill that you could literally hear my stomach protesting from across the room. When I would throw up the offending food it would look as if I had just eaten it even if it had been a few hours (slow digestion). I pulled many stomach and back muscles from the violent vomiting that would take place. I was so dehydrated that I couldn't think clearly and was unable to care for myself at all. It was quite a relief when I was diagnosed with HG (at 8 weeks) and I realized that all of the symptoms that I was experiencing had a name. It wasn't just morning sickness and I wasn't just being dramatic, I had a disease! Although I had a lot to learn about HG, I was at least relieved to hear that I was not alone and most importantly, I was NOT crazy. This was real, it was not in my head, I could not simply distract myself, I could not eat saltines, or try ginger, or sea-bands and find a magic cure. Believe me, I tried ALL of these things and all it did was cause me to be more and more frustrated and defeated...

When HG is not treated sufficiantly with the correct medications and other methods of intervention, it can cause a number of serious problems for the mother. It can cause renal failure, atrophy, hypoglycemia, Mallory-Weiss syndrome, jaundice, malnutrition, and many other complications. It is very important to get the appropriate intervention from a healthcare professional. If your doctor is not listening to you about how sick you are, try to find a new one! If you can not switch doctors, try to find someone else who knows about Hyperemesis and see if there are further rescources you can look into. Contact me through this blog and I will try to help in any way I can. If I am unable to answer your questions, I'm sure I can find someone that will be able to. Do not try to fight this alone!

There are many rescources available that provided very helpful information to me when I was going through my own battle with HG. Some of the links I will provide are simply informative while some of them are helpful in other ways. I will explain what I mean by that as I list each one.

Where can I learn more about HG?

Hyperemesis Research & Education - This is an amazing website full of  information on signs and symptoms of HG, treatment options, tips and tricks, complications, and many other things. It also has a separate section dedicated specifically to friends and family of a woman suffering with HG. If you have HG or have had it in the past, you understand how important it is to have a supportive family and you probably came across at least some people that felt that this disease was "all in your head". This website does a great job expaining what it is all about so YOU DON'T HAVE TO!! You can even look up recommended Obstetricians in your area who have dealt with Hyperemesis. It is SO important to have a doctor who is willing to treat you!

Beyond Morning Sickness - Ashli McCall is a former HG sufferer (four times!) who wrote about her experience in her book Beyond Morning Sickness" Battling Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It also includes helpful information on treatment options and several stories from other HG moms. She also wrote a childrens' book called Mama has Hyperemesis Gravidarum (But Only for a While). I can't tell you how many times I read this book to my 4 year old. He loved it and it explains HG in such a simple way for kids to understand. It comes highly recommended by me! Both books can be found on Amazon.com and purchased for a very reasonable price. While the books are very helpful in dealing with HG, I must say that the volunteers at Beyond Morning Sickness are even more helpful! They are the SWEETEST PEOPLE EVER. I'm sure that anyone else that has ever dealt with them in one way or another would say the same thing. If you go on the website and contact the author, they will not only send you the books I talked about if you are unable to afford them, they will also set you up with an HG mentor. My mentor sent me emails every single day and I am more thankful than I can even express. There is just something priceless about talking to someone that UNDERSTANDS. If you are suffering right now from HG, please contact these wonderful people. You will not be sorry.


These are the websites that I gathered most of my information and help from but I also became a part of a few different Hyperemesis forums online. I have never been the type to be a part of an online forum before but the women on one site in particular became my lifeline. I am friends with many off them outside of the forum and I am so grateful for their friendship! If you would like me to give you a list of online forums for you to check out, feel free to ask me in a comment (please include an email address and I will send you some links). I am trying to maintain some privacy which is why I don't want to publicly say what forums I am a part of. I want it to be a safe place for you as well as for myself.

Here are some links of other blogs about hyperemesis. Please check them out and learn as much as you can!

My Hyperemesis Journey
Hyperemesis Gravidarum Survivor
Are you there God?: An HG Story
Naturally Nauseous Momma
Baby, You're Making Me Sick
My Hyperemesis (With Residual Postpartum Nausea)

Now for my personal story...

Now that you have learned a little about HG, please feel free to check out my personal story here. I just want to let you know that there are some descriptive entries and some detailed photos that may gross some people out. You can't say I didn't warn you! I intended to start a blog while I was still pregnant but I was unable to even look a my laptop screen so it wasn't even a remote possibility. I did, however, write entries in a "pregnancy calendar" that my good friend gave me so I set my story up as somewhat of a journal with dates and how many weeks/days I was pregnant at the time. Aside from the entries in the pregnancy calendar, I also have quotes from my Facebook statuses and even some longer journal entries that I wrote towards the end of my pregnancy. Anything in quotations was written on the date specified and everything else is just added details to explain things a bit more. Thanks for reading. :)

1. Hyperemesis Education & Research Foundation Understanding Hyperemesis: Overview
2. Wikipedia: Hyperemesis Gravidarum


  1. Hi Tricia,
    Thank you again for sharing your HG story. I am so inspired by your strength and faith despite the many difficulties of HG. I have nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. You can read about it here - http://prisonerinmyownbody.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/very-inspiring-blogger-award/
    Congrats on your pregnancy! May the Lord strengthen you and carry you through another pregnancy!

  2. Drooling is the unintentional spillage of saliva from the mouth. Drooling can occur with any condition that impairs neuromuscular control of the muscles around the mouth, leading to weak muscles around the mouth, that increases salivation (the production of saliva), or that impairs swallowing. Cerebral palsy is one example of a condition in which oral neuromuscular control may be impaired, resulting in drooling. Drooling is common in infants because of immature muscular control. Medically, drooling is referred to as ptyalism, and an excess of saliva is known as sialorrhea.