9 Factors That Increase Your Risk Of Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Hyperemesis gravidarum is severe and unrelenting nausea and vomiting related to pregnancy. If you've had a friend or a relative with this condition, or have suffered through it in the past, you're likely wondering how to avoid this miserable experience in the future. It is important to learn about the factors that increase your risk for hyperemesis gravidarum, so that even if you can't prevent it, you can be more prepared.

Although up to 70 percent of pregnant women experience some amount of nausea and vomiting in their first trimester, Scientific American noted that hyperemesis gravidarum only affects between 0.2 and two percent of women in developed countries. The nausea and vomiting associated with hyperemesis gravidarum is so severe that women can lose five percent or more of their body weight, may be hospitalized, and can even suffer post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after experiencing this condition.

Thankfully, according to Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation (HER), the nausea and vomiting associated with hyperemesis gravidarum may improve sometime between 14 and 21 weeks. But the not-so-great news is that for up to half of the women who are diagnosed, the symptoms last their entire pregnancy.

Because it's such a severe condition, you should learn what factors will increase your risk of the dreaded hyperemesis gravidarum.


You Have Untreated Asthma

According to the the Peggy V. Helmerich Women's Health Center in Tulsa, uncontrolled asthma puts a mother at an increased risk for hyperemesis gravidarum, as well as several other pregnancy complications including preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, and vaginal hemorrhage.


Your Diet Is High In Saturated Fats

The HER Foundation noted a study in which mothers who suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum self-reported a diet high in saturated fats. Similarly, a study published in 2011 found that women who had a diet high in fish and vegetables prior to becoming pregnant were less likely to suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum.


You're Pregnant With Multiples

According to Pregnancy Sickness Support, there is a "very highly significant relationship" between a pregnancy of multiples and hyperemesis gravidarum. This is likely due to the increased amount of hormones your body is producing. Dr. Peter Bernstein, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York told Today, “it’s a sign that the placenta is making more hormones,” he said. “The mother may be miserable but [she's] less likely to have a miscarriage.”


You Suffer From Epilepsy

A study on pregnancy and epilepsy by P. Crawford noted a minor but significant increased risk of hyperemesis gravidarum in women with epilepsy. Other risks include preeclampsia, vaginal bleeding, and premature labor.


You Deal With Migraines

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, hyperemesis gravidarum is more likely in women who suffer from migraines. A study by L. Heinrichs noted that the shared nausea and vomiting experience of hyperemesis gravidarum and migraine headaches suggests a relation.


You Have A Family History

Women with a family history of hyperemesis gravidarum are more likely to experience it in their own pregnancies, according to both the Mayo Clinic and University of Rochester Medical Center.


You're Pregnant With A Girl

They Mayo Clinic also suggested that pregnant mothers who are carrying girls are at a greater risk of suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. A study by M. Rashid supported this statement concluding that women presenting with hyperemesis gravidarum are more likely to have a female fetus.


You Had Hyperemesis Gravidarum In Previous Pregnancy

According to the HER Foundation, if you have had hyperemesis gravidarum in a previous pregnancy, you have a good chance of experiencing it in future pregnancies, and it will likely follow a similar pattern of duration and severity.


You're Underweight Or Overweight

A 2010 study by A. Vikanes concluded that both underweight and obese mothers were more likely to develop hyperemesis gravidarum than those who were "normal-weighted."