There's a difference between morning sickness - which is obviously unpleasant and is anything but "morning" -- and hyperemesis gravidarum. Approximately...
There's a difference between morning sickness - which is obviously unpleasant and is anything but "morning" -- and hyperemesis gravidarum.
Approximately 60,000 pregnant women are hospitalized each year due to hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), an extreme form of nausea and vomiting that endangers their lives and often forces them to reluctantly terminate their pregnancies. (Source)
However, the incidence of hyperemesis gravidarum is only one half of one percent of the population. A very small percentage, really, unless you happen to be one of those women. I've watched friends deal with unfortunate morning sickness -- again, not only limited to the mornings -- but I haven't known anyone with hyperemesis gravidarum. Except my mom. That is one of the reasons I chose not to become pregnant (I have medical issues that would make that kind of extreme sickness dangerous at worst, extremely difficult at best), in addition to having a strong desire to adopt since I was a little girl. My mom was very, very sick during her pregnancies. I have random, scattered memories of her being pregnant with my little brother. I had just turned four when she had him, so I recall parts of her pregnancy. During her pregnancies, she was in and out of the hospital. On more than one occasion, she was so sick that none of the regular nurses were able to find a vein that hadn't collapsed for an IV. She was sick from a week after conception until the day she delivered. I remember her lying on the couch, vomiting all day long. It would make the stomach flu seem desirable, as there's an end in sight with the stomach flu...at least one shorter than nine months. I wonder how she ever strummed up the nerve to become pregnant again after having me (I'm the oldest). It wasn't a matter of not feeling well. It was a matter of having her body ravaged by extreme sickness, vomiting, dehydration, etc., for nine months. This new study, conducted by researchers from UCLA and the University of Southern California (USC), confirms that the risk of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) may be greater for women whose grandmothers, mothers or sisters experienced it, and in fact, the likelihood of experiencing HG is 17 times greater, according to their research. That's quite a strong genetic component! It's interesting research and it confirms something I have believed for a while. I would never suggest that a woman shouldn't choose pregnancy because a family member had HG during pregnancy. Rather, having this knowledge could help prepare a woman for what may be a less-than-ideal pregnancy as far as her ability to function normally -- what can she do about work, caring for her other children, etc. Do you know whether HG is prevalent in your family?

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