Hyderabad: Acute morning sickness can cause severe dehydration. Vomiting, during pregnancy, up to 30 times a day, falls under the classification of acute morning sickness and is called hyperremessis gravidarum. Duchess Kate Middleton, in her second pregnancy, is suffering from acute morning sickness. She has severe nausea due to elevated levels of pregnancy hormones that increase during conception.
Leading to severe dehydration, this condition puts both mother and baby at the risk of being deprived of essential nutrients. In India, 70 per cent of pregnant women are estimated to have severe morning sickness but only 2 per cent of them suffer from excessive symptoms like these.
Women who suffer from morning sickness should have help and good support systems. Help can be sought from experts and in neo-natal classes. Also, it is important to ensure sufficient rehydration. Pregnancy counsellors must be consulted in case there is pain or dizziness or any abnormal feeling.
Symptoms to watch out for:
Persistent vomiting, dehydration, tiredness and dizziness.
Fainting spells and weakness.
- Have dry and sweet items like ginger, digestive biscuits, rusks or toasted bread.
- Do not take water first thing in the morning. Avoid the triggers which can lead to Nausea:
- Avoid supplements like iron as it can irritate the stomach
- Restrict folic acid to only once in a day.
- Limit coffee and tea to two cups a day.
- Avoid alcohol
- Keep supplements minimal during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Good apps for both iPhone and android phones:
My pregnancy center/ babycenter.
‘Severe vomiting leads to vitamin deficiencies’
Morning sickness is characterised by nausea and vomiting and is a fairly common condition in the 9th week of pregnancy and continues till 12 to 20 weeks. Severe nausea could also be due to higher pregnancy hormone levels or multiple pregnancies. Five in 100 women suffer from this severe or prolonged dehydration, excessive fatigue and weight loss. They can also develop vitamin deficiency or vomit blood.
Dr Srilatha Gorthi, consultant gynaecology, infertility and minimal access surgery, at Continental Hospitals, explains, “As the women are not able to eat, pregnant women can develop signs of starvation. This can be tested with a simple sample urine test. While there is no risk of miscarriage, there is a great risk of having a low birth-weight infant, growth restrictions for the infant and high blood pressure for the mother during pregnancy. It is important for women to take plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids.”
‘Consume more water and Short, Frequent Meals’
Women who have a family history of excessive morning sickness tend to experience excessive vomiting. Obesity, female baby, history of motion sickness or migraine are also some of the predisposing factors. Dehydration affects the mother badly and if neglected it can lead to severe life-threatening conditions like hypokalemia, severe metabolic acidosis and vitamin deficiency.
Dr Manjula A. of Beams Hospital says, “To avoid this situation it is important to seek medical advice and follow simple dietary and lifestyle modifications to control morning sickness. Women must eat a little more in the form of short frequent meals. They must consume water in small quantities at intervals and ensure that they always have a water bottle accessible. There are times when pregnant women feel light-headed, hence they must never be left alone. If they can’t drink too much of water then flat lemonades, diluted fruit juices or soups will also help the mothers-to-be keep their hydration levels up.”
‘Home remedies are of great help’
The urge to eat tasty food is often followed by nausea in pregnant women. Psychological and behavioural factors are also found to increase the levels of the hormones estrogen and hyperremessis gravidarum.
It is very important for women to be calm and patient as it helps to control the hormones. Minimal exercise like walking in a park or where there is fresh air, along with an escort, will also help. Medication is usually not suggested unless the vomiting is severe.
Dr Lakshmi Kiran, obstetric gynaecologist at Rainbow Hospitals, says, “Home remedies like sucking on ginger, lemon and mint are helpful. Even frozen popsicles made from fresh juice can be helpful. Foods with strong flavours and strong smells must be avoided. Bland foods, fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products must be consumed.”
Dr Kiran says, “In a small section of women the condition persists for more than 14 weeks and when this happens it leads to gastric reflux which needs looking into.”