This is not morning sickness.

1 in 3 HG pregnancies does not make it to term. Mothers still die in the 21st Century.

Woman with feeding tube
HG baby

Maternal Complications Due to Hyperemesis

Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) increases maternal risk of malnutrition, Wernicke's encephalopathy (WE), sepsis, thiamin deficiency (TD), preeclampsia, hemorrhage, preterm labor, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD), embolism, peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM), and placental abruption.


Acute malnutrition due to lack of macronutrients and micronutrients causes weight loss, muscle wasting, immobility, and other serious complications and may be fatal for both patient and child.

Wernicke's Encephalopathy

Wernicke's encephalopathy is a neurological emergency caused by vitamin B1 deficiencies that must be treated immediately to prevent serious or fatal complications for both patient and child.


According to the CDC, 14.3% of maternal deaths between 2017-2019 were caused by infection or sepsis. HG puts patients at higher risk due to reduced immune function, invasive procedures, and urinary tract infections.

Thiamin Deficiency

Vitamin B1 comes from food and supplements, but is depleted within two weeks of HG, leading to complications which initially share the symptoms of HG and worsen HG but may become life-threatening. Know the signs: changes in vision, speech, gait/movement, cognition, cardiac function, and mood.

Patients with prolonged HG are twice as likely to develop preeclampsia and more likely to experience eclamptic seizures possibly due to malnutrition, stress, immune dysfunction, hormone and neurotransmitter changes, kidney dysfunction, premature birth, and fetal demise.


The risk of hemorrhage is greater in HG due to malnutrition and the changes of pregnancy, plus complications of HG including placental abruption and preeclampsia.

Preterm Labor

Patients with HG have 2x the risk of preterm labor, a 4-fold increased risk of premature birth and are more likely to deliver babies that are small for gestational age and growth restricted likely due to malnutrition and stress.


18% of HG patients meet full criteria PTSD compared to 9% of all pregnant patients, and about half of HG survivors have symptoms of trauma due to severe nausea/vomiting, fear of loss, complications, and invasive procedures.


1 in 2 HG patients are diagnosed with Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders compared to 1 in 7 of all pregnant patients. The risk increases with severe and prolonged HG symptoms which increase physical and psychosocial challenges.


The risk of clotting or embolism increases in pregnancy and is exacerbated by dehydration, malnutrition, and immobility due to HG. Pulmonary embolism is the leading cause of death in pregnancy.


According to the CDC, 12.1% of maternal deaths between 2017-2019 were due to peripartum cardiomyopathy. PPCM may occur due to malnutrition in HG and presents as shortness of breath, swelling, rapid weight gain, irregular heartbeat, and chest pain.

Placental Abruption

Women with HG extending beyond the 1st trimester are 3x more likely to have placental abruptions which can lead to life-threatening hemorrhage, preterm delivery, hypoxic encephalopathy and fetal demise.

Fetal Complications

Over half of children exposed to Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) in utero will have a neurodevelopmental diagnosis such as ADD/ADHD, Anxiety, Autism Spectrum Disorder, sensory processing disorder (SID/SPD),  Social Development Delay, and/or Social Anxiety. HG also increases fetal risk of Intrauterine Growth Restriction or Small for Gestational Age (IUGR/SGA), prematurity, learning disabilities, adult mental health issues, and adult cardiometabolic issues. 1 in 3 babies does not make it to term.


Intrauterine Growth Restriction or Small for Gestational Age is more commonly diagnosed in babies exposed to HG due to malnutrition.


15% of HG pregnancies result in premature birth (a 4-fold increased risk).

Neurological Impact

Children exposed to HG in utero have a 3.3-fold increase in neurodevelopmental issues with the risk increasing with maternal symptoms severity and weight.

Autism Spectrum

Autism spectrum disorders have been found to occur more frequently in children born to mothers who had hyperemesis gravidarum, most likely due to stress, malnutrition, and other factors.

Language Delays

Speech and language delays are more common in children of HG mothers with the risk being greatest in those born to mothers with severe or prolonged symptoms.

Sensory Processing

Many women experiencing severe or prolonged HG, especially those on bed rest late in pregnancy, have children with Sensory Processing Disorder likely due to stress, an immature vestibular system, and malnutrition.

Learning Disabilities

Delays in learning are more common in children of HG mothers with the risk being greatest in those born to mothers with severe or prolonged symptoms.

Mental Health 

Children exposed to HG in utero have a 3.6-fold increased risk (38% vs 15% controls) of childhood conduct issues, and double the risk of adult mental health disorders, primarily depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety.

Adult Cardiometabolic

A significant number of babies exposed to HG in utero will develop chronic cardiac and metabolic issues in adulthood. Findings on this vary.

Symptoms MS v. HG (1)-min



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