In the wake of the Duchess of Cambridge’s hospitalization with severe morning sickness, the Daily Journal asked Ingram about the condition called hyperemesis gravidarum (“hyper” means excessive, “emesis” means vomiting, and “gravid” means pregnant).
Q: What is morning sickness?
A: Morning sickness is a woman’s physical reaction to the boost of pregnancy hormones early in her pregnancy. It’s characterized by nausea and sometimes vomiting.
Q: How is hyperemesis gravidarum different from regular morning sickness?
A: Hyperemesis is a much more severe and dangerous condition. It is characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss and sometimes electrolyte disturbance. Often we can treat milder cases with dietary measures, rest and medications. But severe cases require a stay in the hospital to help the mother get fluids and nutrition intravenously.
After that, the mother may be able to maintain herself at home or at work. But sometimes, the symptoms last throughout the pregnancy.
Q: What advice can you offer to women suffering from either types of morning sickness?
A: First, they should not take either lightly. Their inability to take in food and fluids is very serious and can threaten their health and their baby’s health. Get in touch with your health care provider if symptoms persist, even for a short time.
We have safe, effective medications that can help a lot.
If you are suffering from hyperemesis, it is immediately debilitating, and you should get medical attention right away. This is a very serious situation.
With regular morning sickness, try to eat small amounts of food, especially proteins, throughout the day, drink plenty of fluids and get as much rest as you can.
Hopefully, this will be over in a few weeks.