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Is hyperemesis gravidarum a concern for Washington, D.C., women?

For a woman who has recently discovered she is pregnant, the joy of that discovery is sometimes overshadowed by morning sickness. While most pregnant women experience morning sickness, some women experience a severe form of morning sickness known as hyperemesis gravidarum. This condition can make a woman miserable, so many women will seek out suitable treatments for the condition. As it turns out, some of those treatments aren't always safe for pregnant women. Pregnant women in Washington, D.C., might be interested in learning about this.

What is hyperemesis gravidarum?

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe form of morning sickness that can lead to extreme vomiting, severe nausea, electrolyte disturbances and weight loss. While some minor cases can be managed at home, others require treatment in the hospital.

What is the difference between morning sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum?

Morning sickness causes nausea that doesn't always result vomiting, but hyperemesis gravidarum causes severe vomiting with the nausea. Morning sickness usually goes away by the 12th week of the pregnancy, but hyperemesis gravidarum doesn't. Women with morning sickness can usually keep some food down and won't become severely dehydrated. The opposite is true for women with hyperemesis gravidarum.

What are the treatments for hyperemesis gravidarum?

Some women are able to take antacids, make dietary changes and rest to control hyperemesis gravidarum. Others might require fluids via an intravenous line. Still others might be given an antiemetic, such as Zofran. Some of those, however, aren't suitable for use in pregnant women. Some antiemetics are used for pregnant women in an off-label use, which can lead to disastrous effects on the baby. Those women might opt to seek compensation for the damage the drug caused to their baby.

Source: American Pregnancy Association, "Hyperemesis Gravidarum" accessed Mar. 25, 2015

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