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Do you think you could support someone suffering Pregnancy Sickness or Hyperemesis Gravidarum? then volunteer today. Contact the Support Coordinator via our Volunteer Page.

In Hospital Care for Patients with Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy and Hyperemesis Gravidarum can be particularly isolating for women experiencing them; in first pregnancies it is usually a complete shock to find themselves feeling so ill and it is important that Healthcare professionals take them seriously so that they can feel understood and that the condition is a valid one [1]. It is actually shocking how many qualified doctors actually don't know what Hyperemesis Gravidarum is, let alone the appropriate treatment of it. Sadly, studies have found that many hospital staff, including doctors, nurses and midwives, have a prevailing view that women admitted for hyperemesis gravidarum are 'wasting their time' [2]. However, before the introduction of IV therapy, Hyperemesis Gravidarum was the leading cause of death for women in early pregnancy! [3]

The Pregnancy Sickness Support Trust is not able to provide information on prescribing for women with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, and all practice should be in accordance with local hospital policy. However we have provided information on current treatments and we have a resource page with up to date research and references for you to access when treating women with this condition.

Following are some basic tips and information on how to improve the care and experience of women with hyperemesis gravidarum and helping women manage their symptoms.

  • Be sympathetic! First time mums presenting with Hyperemesis Gravidarum are probably terrified about what is happening to her and having to take medication. Women are bombarded with pregnancy books which tell us we should have 'natural pregnancies' avoiding all medication. Hyperemesis usually comes as a complete shock to the sufferer, as more often then not women have never heard of it before.
  • Evaluate weight loss and signs of malnutrition.
  • Provide a side room so as to reduce sensory stimulation... Odour, sound, light, movement and so on can all trigger nausea and vomiting.
  • Be aware that if she is already at the point of admission to hospital then she is likely to be beyond the help of ginger, acupressure and eating little and often, and she is likely to have heard about these remedies so often that suggesting them will add to her isolation and could lead to a loss of trust in medical professionals.
  • Refer her to our support network for support from other sufferers.



1. MUNCH S. A Qualitative Analysis of Physician Humanism: Women's Experiences with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Journal of Perinatology, 2000; 20 - 540-547

2. POWER, Z., THOMSON, A. M. & WATERMAN, H. 2010. Understanding the Stigma of Hyperemesis Gravidarum: Qualitative Findings from an Action Research Study. Birth-Issues in Perinatal Care, 37, 237-244

3. MUNCH, S.  2002. Chicken or the egg? The biological–psychological controversy surrounding hyperemesis gravidarum. Social Science & Medicine 55 (2002) 1267–1278