Common misconceptions about nausea and vomiting of pregnancy


I was recently asked by Helio to do a Q&A on the misconceptions, risk factors, and treatments for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP). You can access the article HERE!

Here are a few key takeaways:

1. Studies have found that NVP is associated with good pregnancy and fetal outcomes, and some studies have also demonstrated a reduced risk for pregnancy loss for those affected by NVP.

2. NVP does not only occur in the morning. It can be any combination of nausea, vomiting and retching at any time of the day. Just because someone’s nauseated all the time, but doesn’t have vomiting, doesn’t mean that they will be less affected. They could still be just as affected as someone who’s having multiple episodes of vomiting per day.

3. People do not need to feel guilty if they want or need medications for treatment of their symptoms. It’s not something that you have to suffer through, especially if it’s affecting your quality of life and day-to-day living. If people with significant symptoms go undertreated or untreated, they are much more likely to be hospitalized with symptoms and much more likely to progress to hyperemesis graviDarum (HG).

4. Risk factors for NVP include:

Motion sickness

Super tasters are at increased risk, and those who can’t smell have a lower risk.

A history of HG in a prior pregnancy

Nulliparity (forst pregnancy)

Young maternal age

Having a female fetus

Multiple gestations

Maternal comorbid conditions, such as parathyroid dysfunction, thyroid disorders, type 1 diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, Helicobacter Pylori infection or migraine headaches with nausea

Use of assisted reproductive technology

Underweight BMI.

5. Most pregnancies affected by NVP are not affected by any kind of adverse pregnancy outcome. However, there are rare cases where long-standing hyperemesis can cause pregnancy complications. Maternal weight gain, poor nutritional status and fetal growth can be affected after a prolonged period of time of poor nutrition and dehydration.  

6. There are medications availableto treat NVP, and we have safety data on a lot of these medications. If you need treatment with a medication, speak up. Progression to HG can potentially be avoided.

Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy and HG. Nat Rev Dis Primers5, 63 (2019).

For more information, go to the search bar on this website and enter "NVP" or "HG" or go to the "nausea" highlight on my Instagram page!

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