Severe Morning Sickness – Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Posted on Jul 15, 2011 | Articles Category | | Print This Article

Typical morning sickness is estimated to occur in 50 to 90 percent of all pregnancies. There is another level of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarium and it is estimated to occur in .5 % to 2% of pregnant women. If untreated, it can lead to life threatening complications for the mom to be and the unborn baby.

HG (Hyperemesis Gravidarium) is characterized by severe nausea and vomiting and can lead to dehydration, weight loss and nutritional deficiencies. This condition needs to be supervised by your medical care professional to make sure mom and baby stay as healthy as possible.

Symptoms of Hyperemesis Gravidarium

  • Severe nausea
  • Persistent excessive vomiting (more than 3 or 4 times a day)
  • Dehydration.
  • A decrease in urination due to dehydration.
  • Maternal weight loss or failure to gain weight.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Headaches and confusion.
  • Skin may become pale-looking and dry.

Signs of Dehydration

  • Pinched skin “snaps back” slowly.
  • Flushed dry skin
  • Decreased tearing or salivation
  • Coated tongue
  • Confusion or irritability
  • Decreased urination
  • Urine very dark in color.

If you feel that you have the symptoms above, PLEASE talk to your doctor about it.

Zofran and Severe Morning Sickness / Hyperemesis Gravidarum

When you have been diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), your doctor will try to find the treatment that will get the condition under control as quickly as possible.

One of the more common treatments for severe morning sickness is Zofran. Zofran (Ondansetron) is a newer very powerful antiemetic. An antiemetic is a drug that is effective against vomiting and nausea.

Zofran, although newer, seems to cause no harm to mom and baby. The potential side effects, as per the Zofran corporate site, are as follows:

“The most commonly reported adverse events in patients receiving ZOFRAN in clinical trials were headache (5% to 27%), diarrhea (1% to 16%), constipation (1% to 9%), fever (1% to 8%), and malaise/fatigue (0% to13%)”

Zofran and Pregnancy – Safe Together?

Many women have taken Zofran throughout their pregnancy and even through subsequent pregnancies in order to be able to eat and drink, and have suffered no ill effects from taking this drug during pregnancy.

There have been very few studies done on the usage of this product during pregnancy. MedSafe, a New Zealand government organization, has a data sheet on Zofran (Ondansetron) which states the following:

The safety of ondansetron for use in human pregnancy has not been established. Evaluation of experimental animal studies does not indicate direct or indirect harmful effects with respect to the development of the embryo, or foetus, the course of gestation and peri- and post-natal development. However, as animal studies are not always predictive of human response the use of ondansetron in pregnancy is not recommended.

Tests have shown that ondansetron passes into the milk of lactating animals. It is therefore recommended that mothers receiving ondansetron should not breast-feed their babies.

As with all medications, you need to weigh the positives and negatives of each intervention for severe morning sickness. If left untreated, hyperemesis gravidarum can cause serious complications for both mom and baby. For this reason, some medical intervention is necessary for the health of mom and baby.

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