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If HG continued past mid-pregnancy, did you experience complications during delivery related to your poor health such as a strained ligaments/joints, pelvic floor damage, prolonged or weak pushing, fainting, low blood pressure, low pain tolerance, forceps/assisted delivery, broken bones, nerve damage, low amniotic fluid, fetal problems due to difficult delivery, etc.?

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Related Links
  • Nutritional Strategies
    Find ways to make the most of what you can eat.
  • Referral Network
    A list of health professionals recommended to us as well as tips on finding one in your area.
  • Complications
    More detailed info and research about possible complications of HG for both mother and child(ren).

Possible Complications

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) usually resolves by mid-pregnancy, allowing you to recover and gain sufficient weight to adequately nourish your body and your baby during the rapid growth period of later pregnancy. You might experience other problems such as muscle atrophy, fatigue, sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety, constipation, and throat or stomach irritation. Most of these are treated safely during pregnancy and are not reasons for concern, but they may cause you significant distress or discomfort.

Do the best you can to eat as healthy as you can, and don't feel guilty if you lose weight or have trouble eating lots of vegetables and other nutritious foods. See our Nutritional Strategies page for ideas on how to choose the best foods for your cravings and aversions. 

Severe HG

The number of women with more severe HG is relatively small and estimated to be about 10% of all women with HG. If you have severe or prolonged HG, and medical care is not sufficient or is delayed, you are at risk for more serious complications.

Symptoms peak between 8 and 12 weeks and you may feel somewhat more miserable during this time, despite medication. However, severe HG is usually characterized by more extreme symptoms that may continue into the 2nd or even 3rd trimester. Rapid weight loss and chronic dehydration are classic signs. These women usually have several of the following signs.

Signs of Severe HG

  • Debilitating, chronic nausea 
  • Frequent vomiting of bile or blood
  • Chronic ketosis and dehydration
  • Muscle weakness and extreme fatigue
  • Medication does not stop vomiting/nausea
  • Inability to care for self (shower, prepare food)
  • Loss of over 5-10% of your pre-pregnancy weight
  • Weight loss (or little gain) after the first trimester
  • Inability to eat/drink sufficiently by about 14 weeks

If you feel you have severe HG and are not receiving adequate care, you may need a second opinion. Seek the help of a friend, family member, or spouse to help you in this process. It's very difficult to think clearly and advocate for yourself when you are ill.

Also see our Referral Network page for tips on finding a doctor. Early intervention can minimize your suffering and complications.

List of Potential Complications of HG
Potential Complications: Common Signs/Symptoms: Offsite Links for more info:
Constipation Cramps, infrequent or hard stools, or difficulty passing stools MEDLINEplus Medical Encyclopedia: Constipation
Fatigue Inability to work or perform usual activities  
Atrophy - wasting or loss of muscle tissue resulting from disease or lack of use Weakness, fatigue, pain Pregnancy Bed Rest Information
Stomach ulcers or irritation Pain, nausea, food aversions NIDDK: Stomach and Duodenal Ulcers
Psychosocial Stress Depression, anxiety www.dartmouth.edu: Depression In Pregnancy

PubMed: Obstetrical complications and the development of postpartum depressive symptoms: a prospective survey of the MATQUID cohort.

PubMed: Obstetric, somatic, and demographic risk factors for postpartum depressive symptoms.
Sleep Disturbance or Insomnia Difficulty sleeping MEDLINEplus Medical Encyclopedia: Sleeping difficulty
Acid Reflux & Heartburn Throat pain, indigestion, nausea MEDLINEplus Medical Encyclopedia: Gastroesophageal reflux disease

 

List of Additional Complications Related to Prolonged or Severe HG
Potential Complications: Common Signs/Symptoms: Offsite Links for more info:
Kidney Failure - loss of the kidneys' ability to excrete wastes, concentrate urine, and conserve electrolytes Decreased urine output, fluid retention, changes in mental status or mood, increased blood pressure, ear noise/buzzing, breath odor, fatigue, nausea, vomiting PubMed: Acute renal failure in association with severe hyperemesis gravidarum.

MEDLINEplus Medical Encyclopedia: Acute renal failure
Deconditioning - a decrease in the responsiveness of heart muscle Fatigue, weakness, breathlessness, pain PubMed: An overview of the issues: physiological effects of bed rest and restricted physical activity.
Esophageal bleeding – Bleeding in the throat Blood in vomit and/or stool, throat pain, light-headedness NIDDK: Bleeding in the Digestive Tract
TMJ Trauma - pain or injury to the jaw joint (TMJ or TMD) Pain or stiffness when opening mouth, headaches, vision changes, clicking noises from jaw  
Hemorrhagic Retinitis - bleeding into the retina of the eye    
Jaundice - Discoloring of the skin, mucous membranes, and eyes, caused by too much bilirubin in the blood Yellow skin, mucous membranes, and eyes; itching  
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Flashback episodes, memories, nightmares, or frightening thoughts, when they are exposed to events or objects reminiscent of the trauma. May also experience emotional numbness and sleep disturbances, depression, anxiety, and irritability or outbursts of anger. PubMed: Posttraumatic stress disorder and pregnancy complications.

NIMH: Reliving Trauma: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Neurological (brain) changes Vision changes (double vision, involuntary movements), confusion, disorientation, lack of muscle coordination Notify physician immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
Exhaustion and/or extreme fatigue Lack of energy, weariness, or tiredness. May be unable to care for self and family.  

Updated on: Apr. 18, 2013

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