The ABC of Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) for friends and family
A short course for partners, family, friends and anyone in mom’s support system.
HER Foundation
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Pregnancy
Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
Mental Health
Support Group
Maternal Health
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Course Description
Has a loved one been diagnosed with HG? If the answer is yes, then this is the right course for you. You may feel helpless and frustrated because she is so sick, and you don't know how to help her. Sometimes you may even wonder if she would get better if she tried harder, or if she is exaggerating how she feels. It is natural to have these feelings when you have not experienced HG and don't know how sick she really is. In this course, you will find information to answer many of your questions about HG as well as resources to confidently support her and ensure she gets the best care available. Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is a debilitating and potentially life-threatening pregnancy disease marked by rapid weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration due to unrelenting nausea and/or vomiting with potential adverse consequences for the mom-to-be and the newborn(s). 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.
Units

Unit 1 HG Explained- what you need to know
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. 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 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. 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.
Unit 2 How to support an HG mom
Knowing how to help a woman with HG may be confusing. You have not likely experienced it before and don't really know what she is feeling, but obviously want to help since you are taking this course. Know that she is not making herself sick, nor can she control her vomiting/nausea. HG is a serious illness that has been largely misunderstood by health professionals because the cause of HG has not yet been identified, thus some wrongly assume it is psychological. HG typically resolves by mid-pregnancy; however, it may last until delivery. For most moms, HG is gone at delivery, but for some, it does not fully resolve for days or weeks. The first 3-4 months of an HG pregnancy are usually the worst for a woman. She will need the most help and support during this time. The first way you can help is to learn about HG. Pregnant women with HG as well as their families and friends need to be understanding and adaptable, especially in regard to diet. Food cravings can be bizarre, complex, irregular and often a woman's whole life becomes centered around food. 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 and fluid intake by any means possible. It's important to create a network of support for all aspects of daily life to minimize stress and provide foods as tolerated. Stress (mental, physical or emotional) and malnutrition only worsen HG. Your support will greatly impact how well she copes with this illness.