Understanding Hyperemesis Gravidarum: Severe Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy

Understanding Hyperemesis Gravidarum: Severe Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy
months pregnant happy vector isolated

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe form of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy that can lead to dehydration, weight loss, and electrolyte imbalances. It affects a small percentage of pregnant women, typically occurring during the first trimester but can persist throughout pregnancy. Here’s what you need to know:


  1. Persistent Nausea and Vomiting:
    • Women with hyperemesis gravidarum experience severe and prolonged nausea and vomiting, often leading to an inability to keep food or liquids down.
  2. Dehydration:
    • Excessive vomiting can result in dehydration, characterized by symptoms such as dark urine, dry mouth, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat.
  3. Weight Loss:
    • Due to the inability to retain food and fluids, women with hyperemesis gravidarum may experience significant weight loss during pregnancy.
  4. Electrolyte Imbalances:
    • Prolonged vomiting can disrupt the body’s electrolyte balance, leading to complications such as low potassium levels (hypokalemia).


  1. Hormonal Changes:
    • Fluctuations in hormone levels, particularly elevated levels of pregnancy hormones like human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and estrogen, are believed to contribute to hyperemesis gravidarum.
  2. Gastrointestinal Factors:
    • Some women may have underlying gastrointestinal conditions or hypersensitivity to gastric hormones, which can exacerbate nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.


  1. Fluid and Nutritional Support:
    • Intravenous fluids may be administered to correct dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
    • Nutritional supplementation with vitamins and minerals may be necessary to address deficiencies resulting from inadequate oral intake.
  2. Medications:
    • Antiemetic medications, such as ondansetron (Zofran) or metoclopramide, may be prescribed to help control nausea and vomiting.
    • In severe cases, corticosteroids or other medications may be recommended to alleviate symptoms.
  3. Hospitalization:
    • Women with severe hyperemesis gravidarum may require hospitalization for close monitoring and intravenous treatment.


  1. Maternal Complications:
    • Severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances can lead to organ dysfunction and other complications if left untreated.
  2. Fetal Complications:
    • In severe cases, hyperemesis gravidarum may result in inadequate fetal growth and low birth weight, although the majority of babies are born healthy with appropriate management.
Dr. Anusha K. S.

Gynaecology Expert

+91 8660534318


South Mark Gynaecology Clinic

3rd Main Rd, opposite Star Market, near ISRO layout, Banashankari 5th Stage, ISRO Layout, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560078

Zymus Hospital

No.1, K NO. 92, Nanjappa Complex, Kanakapura Rd, Raghuvanahalli, Bangalore City Municipal Corporation Layout, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560062

© 2024. All Rights Reserved.

Book your appointment today.

Dr. Anusha K. S.

Gynaecology Expert