Hyperemesis gravidarum causes

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


Hyperemesis gravidarum is caused by many conditions such as:


The cause of HG is unknown. The leading theories speculate that it is an adverse reaction to the hormonal changes of pregnancy. In particular, hyperemesis may be due to raised levels of beta HCG (Human chorionic gonadotrophin) as it is more common in multiple pregnancies and in gestational trophoblastic disease.

Additional theories point to high levels of estrogen and progesterone, which may also be to blame for hypersalivation; decreased gastric motility (slowed emptying of the stomach and intestines); immune response to fragments of chorionic villi that enter the maternal bloodstream; or immune response to the "foreign" fetus.

Historically, HG was blamed upon a psychological condition of pregnant women. Medical professionals believed it was a reaction to an unwanted pregnancy or some other emotional or psychological problem. This theory has been disproved, but unfortunately some medical professionals espouse this view and fail to give patients the care they need.

A recent study gives "preliminary evidence" that there may be a genetic component.[1]


  1. Fejzo MS, Ingles SA, Wilson M; et al. (2008). "High prevalence of severe nausea and vomiting of pregnancy and hyperemesis gravidarum among relatives of affected individuals". European journal of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology. doi:10.1016/j.ejogrb.2008.07.003. PMID 18752885. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)

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