Doctors prescribe a number of different treatments for hyperemesis gravidarum based on several factors that include the woman’s health and medical history and the current pregnancy. Among other considerations are:
- the extent of the condition
- how the condition is expected to progress
- the mother’s ability to tolerate medications and other therapy
- the mother’s own preferences
Treatment options for hyperemesis gravidarum focus on relieving the nausea and vomiting, replenishing fluids and restoring electrolytes, and reversing weight loss with improved nutrition.
If the nausea is not complicated, smaller and more frequent meals along with dry foods may help relieve symptoms. It is important for the woman to consume fluids, increasing the intake at times when she feels less nausea. Carbonated water, such as seltzer, and ginger ale sometimes reduce nausea. Some research indicates that taking no more than 100 mg a day of vitamin B6 also reduces nausea in early pregnancy. Anti-nausea medication may be administered in cases where the vomiting is severe enough to threaten the health of the mother and baby.
In many cases treatment for hyperemesis gravidarum requires hospitalization. Food and drink may be discontinued for a short time to help the digestive tract recover from the vomiting. Sedatives and anti-vomiting medication may be prescribed to help the patient relax. Fluids are usually administered to counter dehydration and correct electrolyte imbalances. Many times women receive what is called total parenteral nutrition, in which nutrients are provided through an IV. Occasionally, small, continuous feedings are administered through a tube inserted through the nose into the stomach.
Treatments for hyperemesis gravidarum are generally very effective and typically no serious complications result for the mother or the baby. As with all medical conditions, treatment is most effective when delivered as soon as possible. To minimize the discomfort and potential complications, an exam for hyperemesis gravidarum by an OB/GYN is recommended if severe nausea develops, especially if it continues after the first trimester.