Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) : a survival guide for expecting moms
HG is more than what you see.
HER Foundation

Knowledge tags
Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Global Health
Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
Health and Wellbeing
Maternal Health
Water Resources
Exercise tags
Taking Action
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Course Description
Have you (or a loved one) been diagnosed with HG? If the answer is yes, then “HG: a survival guide for expecting moms” is the right course for you. This course will provide you with information about nausea and vomiting, weight loss, and other symptoms along with nutrition strategies. You can jump from unit to unit based on what you would like to learn. Hyperemesis gravidarum: a potentially life-threatening pregnancy disease that may cause malnutrition, dehydration, and debility due to severe nausea and vomiting, and may cause long-term health issues for mom/baby. ABOUT THE HER FOUNDATION The HER (Hyperemesis Education & Research) Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides support, groundbreaking research, advocacy, and education on hyperemesis. Since 2000, HER has been the leading source of information on HG and a trusted lifeline for hundreds of thousands of families across the globe.

Unit 1 Weight
HER Foundation research shows, “Extreme weight loss is common among women with HG suggesting that HG is a form of prolonged starvation in pregnancy and that the long-term effects of this condition on women and their offspring warrant further investigation.” It is important that you discuss your status with your doctor if you are becoming malnourished. Most mothers with HG have normal babies and recover within months of delivery. However, those who are refused care, becoming malnourished and chronically dehydrated, are at greater risk for problems with either mom or baby. Research shows that women who lose more than 10% of their body weight and/or who are unable to gain weight for two or more consecutive trimesters are most likely to have complications. Although medications present a risk, dehydration and starvation also can harm the baby. Early intervention is the best strategy to avoid complications for both mother and baby. This unit provides a series resources related to weight that you can easily go through at your own pace in the materials and video section below.
Unit 2 Nausea, vomiting, and so much more
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. If severe and/or inadequately treated, it is typically associated with: -loss of greater than 5% of pre-pregnancy body weight (usually over 10%) -dehydration and production of ketones -nutritional deficiencies -metabolic imbalances -difficulty with daily activities Symptoms such as changes in taste or smell, nausea, and vomiting usually begin around week 4-6 and peak between 9-13 weeks. Onset of symptoms may occur before the pregnancy is confirmed by an elevation in hCG level (positive pregnancy test). Typically, there is resolution or at least significant improvement somewhere around 14-20 weeks; however, some women (10-20% or more) continue to require significant care for their entire pregnancy. Most affected women have numerous episodes of vomiting throughout the day with few if any symptom-free periods, especially during the first three to four months. This leads to significant and rapid weight loss, dehydration, electrolyte disturbances, and nutritional deficiencies often requiring hospitalization. Any mother producing ketones or exhibiting signs of dehydration should receive IV fluids, preferably with IV vitamins. Vitamins (including thiamine) are critical in mothers vomiting more than a few weeks to prevent life-altering complications. Head over to the materials section for more detailed information on these symptoms. We've made valuable information easy to read. Simply click on the link titled "HG Symptoms & Facts".
Unit 3 Nutrition Strategies
A mother needs more of everything during pregnancy because she is making a new being. Further, the body has provided the baby with the mechanisms to get what it needs from the mother whether she has extra or not. The baby can pull minerals, vitamins, and protein from the mother's bones, organs, tissues, and other storage areas. This can leave the mother depleted, which can take a long time, even years, to correct. Besides making a new baby, these nutrients are needed to form the placenta, to increase the size of the uterus and breast tissue, and to create amniotic fluid. Mother's blood volume increases by 25-50 percent, and more fluids, iron, B12, folic acid, zinc and copper, calcium, magnesium, and proteins are needed to support this new blood. Storage levels of most nutrients must be obtained from the diet as well. Adequate nutrition is one of the greatest challenges when you have hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). Pregnant women obviously benefit from a variety of nutrients both for their own health and for the development of their unborn child. However, the cravings and aversions that accompany HG will prohibit a well-balanced diet. It may be the smell, texture, appearance or taste that provokes your nausea and vomiting. Even just seeing the food on a TV commercial is enough to trigger vomiting for many. You may crave salty and crunchy, sweet and soft or some other very specific combination. Entering a grocery store, opening the refrigerator, or even contemplating food preparation are usually intolerable for at least the first trimester. This has significant impact on you and your family. It's important that your family know that these food preferences are not within your control, and they need to be accepted to ensure you eat and drink as much as possible. Be as specific as possible when you tell them what you feel like eating or drinking. It's impossible to understand the bizarre cravings of HG unless you have experienced it! Cravings often appear for only a short time - maybe just a few minutes and need to be fulfilled if at all possible. The primary goal is to increase nutrient intake by any means possible. Some mothers need to receive nutritional therapies/interventions.