Hyperemesis gravidarum natural history, complications and prognosis

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

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Complications

For the Pregnant Woman

If inadequately treated, HG can cause renal failure, central pontine myelinolysis, coagulopathy, atrophy, Mallory-Weiss syndrome, hypoglycemia, jaundice, malnutrition, Wernicke's encephalopathy, pneumomediastinum, rhabdomyolysis, deconditioning, splenic avulsion and vasospasms of cerebral arteries. Depression is a common secondary complication of HG. The serious, and sometimes fatal complications of HG are almost always avoided with aggressive treatment.

For the Fetus

No long-term follow-up studies have been conducted on children of hyperemetic women. Children born to hyperemetic women appear to have no greater risk of complications or birth defects than the general population. However, recent research in fetal programming indicates that prolonged stress, dehydration and malnutrition during pregnancy can put the fetus at risk for chronic disease, such as diabetes or heart disease, later in life. This underscores the importance of aggressive treatment of the condition.

Prognosis

  • Nausea and vomiting usually peaks between 2 and 12 weeks of pregnancy and goes away by the second half of pregnancy.
  • With proper identification of symptoms and careful follow-up, this condition rarely presents serious complications for the infant or mother.

References


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