Thursday, March 31, 2005

Too Much of a Bad Thing

Two researchers from Washington presented a poster at the annual meeting of the American College of Preventative Medicine. They found increased risk of premature delivery and low birth weight in babies born to mothers who had been hospitalized for hyperemesis gravidarum (excessive vomiting and nausea in pregnancy). They also found the women to be at elevated risk for preeclampsia and for longer postpartum stays in the hospital, whether they delivered vaginally or by Cesarean.

If you aren’t familiar with the condition, or how extreme it can be, you might want to read this woman’s account of her struggles with hyperemesis. Before IV hydration and tube feeding were available, women died from it.

Unfortunately, the cause of hyperemesis is still elusive. And because hyperemesis isn’t well known and most women don’t have their first prenatal appointment until around their 12th week of pregnancy, they can be a month or more into their decline before they begin treatment.

The condition how has a web site devoted to helping women who suffer from it, but it will take a lot of word of mouth to help most women realize there is morning sickness and then there is hyperemesis. One is a normal part of pregnancy, the other is a potentially life-threatening condition.


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