Medical Definition of Pregnancy, pernicious vomiting of

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Pregnancy, pernicious vomiting of: Medically known as hyperemesis gravidarum, this is excessive vomiting in early pregnancy. By definition, hyperemesis gravidarum, leads to the loss of 5% or more of the body weight of the woman.

Hyperemesis gravidarum affects about one in every 300 pregnant women. It is more common in young women, in first pregnancies and in women with multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, etc.)

Hyperemesis gravidarum is usually self-limited (stops on its own) and, although very inconvenient and very discomforting, it is usually of little clinical consequence. However, sometimes hyperemesis can keep the mother from getting the necessary fluids and nutrition.

Some women with hyperemesis gravidarum have high concentrations of the hormones hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) or estrogen or thyroid hormones in the blood. A few women also have clinical manifestations of hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid state).

The treatment of mild hyperemesis gravidarum is usually with dietary measures, rest and antacids. Severe hyperemesis gravidarum may call for intravenous fluid and nutrition.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is the Latin for excessive vomiting in pregnancy. Hyper means "over"; emesis means "vomiting"; and gravidarum means "pregnant state."

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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