Knowing how to help a woman with hyperemesis gravidarum (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 reading this site. 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 causes of HG have not yet been fully identified; thus, some wrongly assume it is psychological. Please see our research page for our groundbreaking genetics studies on the cause of HG.
Imagine for a moment the last time you had a stomach bug or food poisoning. Do you remember the misery and exhaustion after just 24 hours of vomiting? It probably made certain foods aversive and took several days or a week to fully recover. For a woman with HG, these symptoms last weeks to months! Can you imagine how hard that is to endure while also pregnant? She doesn’t know when it will end and understandably fears serious complications or death of her and/or baby.
HG typically resolves by mid-pregnancy, however,
it may last until delivery.
The first 3-4 months are usually the worst for her. She will need the most help and support during this time. The first way you can help is to learn about HG. Read our Survival Guide and brochures about HG.
If she has to lay down much of the day and/or cannot leave home often, please also read our page on bed rest to see the effects.