Root Causes of Hyperemesis Gravidarum

HG (Hyperemesis gravidarum) is a complicated pregnancy disease characterized by the intractable vomiting, nausea and dehydration. The HG is estimated affecting between 0.5 and 2% of pregnant women. However, malnutrition as well as other serious complications may lead to electrolyte or fluid imbalance. The HG is a rare pregnancy complication because vomiting and nausea during pregnancy exist among many pregnant women. Thus, it is often very difficult to distinguish between HG condition and common form of vomiting and nausea that most pregnant women experience.

Objective of this study is to prepare an analysis of the HG (hyperemesis gravidarum). The study provides the root causes of the disease to enhance a greater understanding of the strategy to address the problem.

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Root Causes of Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Numerous theories have been put forward for the causes of the HG. The health theory suggests that the root cause of the HG is the combination of factors such as genetics, health conditions and body chemistry. Other factor is the body reaction to the hormonal changes during pregnancy. However, the HG level is at its highest during the 8 or 12 weeks of pregnancy, and decline after this period. A report by the University of Maryland (2015) reveals that the exact cause of the HG is unknown; however, the hormone of a pregnant woman rises quickly during the early weeks of pregnancy, which may trigger some part of the brain that controls vomiting and nausea.

Other root cause is the gastrointestinal changes. During a pregnancy period, the digestive organs of a pregnant woman are displaced to make a room for the growing fetus. The result may lead to acid reflux making the stomach to empty more slowly leading to vomiting and nausea. (Goodwin, 2008, Summers, 2012). More importantly, the psychological factors can make a pregnant woman to be physically ill. In essence, the anxiety of a pregnancy can trigger morning sickness for a pregnant woman. Moreover, high fat diet can cause the HG. Typically, high fat diet may trigger hyperemesis gravidarum, and the risks increase by more than five times every time a pregnant woman accumulates “additional 15 grams of saturated fat daily.” (University of Maryland, 2015 p 1). A stomach ulcer can cause the HG because of the Helicobacter pylori bacteria that affects 90% of the pregnant women.

Anthony, (2012) supports this argument by pointing out that between 70 and 85% of pregnant women suffer from vomiting and nauseas during the 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is referred as morning sickness. During the first 20-week of pregnancy, many pregnant women suffer from persistence vomiting that can lead to dehydration, electrolyte and fluid imbalance. If vomiting persists, it can lead to a weight loss. Some women may lose approximately 5% of their weight during pregnancy. Anthony, (2012) provides a comprehensive cause of the HG that includes:

“a rise in production of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin, which stimulates the secretory processes in the upper gastrointestinal tract, leading to nausea and vomiting.” (p 25).

An increase in the maternal serum level, which decreases the gastric emptying, can lead to nausea and vomiting. The rise in the thyroid hormone production can also cause HG. Typically, this hormone stimulates the thyroid gland and about 66% of pregnant women can suffer from this symptom. More importantly, emotional immaturity, anxiety, a maternal and resentment towards an unwanted pregnancy can also cause HG. Other factors such as low mass index, low age, molar pregnancies, and molar pregnancies can cause hyperemesis gravidarum. (Anthony, 2012).

However, several organizations have provided different strategies to manage the HG. The next section identifies these organizations and strategies they employ in assisting pregnant women to manage the HG.

Community and Organizing Strategies to address the Problem

Different communities have implemented several strategies to address the HG problem. The HER (Hyperemesis Foundation & Research) has tried to address the problem by providing a comprehensive education for pregnant women to understand the strategy to address the problem. Typically, the HER Foundation is the largest center that provides education for pregnant women to understand the problem relating to the HG. Founded in 2002, the main goal of the organization is to educate pregnant women in order to minimize the complications associated with the HG. Moreover, the organization is conducting different research to develop an effective treatment protocol for the HG. The HER foundation also aims to raise awareness about the HG to address the problem of a pregnant termination due to an ineffective HG treatment. At present, the HER foundation is affiliated to the University of California in Los Angeles and University of Southern California. The organization is continuously working with experts in genetics, psychology, and nutrition to improve the health outcome of pregnant women suffering from HG. The researchers of HER Foundation have created different online survey studies to collect information about experience of pregnant women. The information has been used for a research purpose and is published in numerous medical journals.

More importantly, the HER Foundation has currently launched a research opportunity to collect DNA samples of pregnant women suffering from HG. The goal of this research is to identify the genes as well as the risk factors of the HG. In essence, the identification of the risk factors and genes will enhance a better understanding of the causes of severe vomiting and nausea among pregnant women. The information collected will assist the organization to develop better and effective treatments for the disease.

CDC (2015) also delivers information that can lead to pregnant complications. The organization carries out a comprehensive research to enhance a greater understanding about the cause of HG and the strategy that can be employed to make pregnancy healthier. In the United States, approximately 6 million pregnancies are recorded yearly. Thus, the agency is implementing several methods to address the HG problem.

The Women Health (2015) is also one of the federal government agencies that are also providing a comprehensive education for the pregnant women. The agency uses the electronic publications to educate women about the complications associated with the HG. In the United States, millions of Americans are connected to the internet, thus, the organization uses this platform to educate millions of American pregnant women across the United States.


Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a disease experienced by pregnant women. Associated symptom of the disease includes nausea and vomiting. This essay carries out a comprehensive analysis of the cause of the HG and the study argues that the main cause of the disease is unknown; however, suggested causes include combination of genetic, environmental and health factors. The study identifies different organizations that are addressing the problem and HER Foundation is one the organizations that is in the forefront to address the problem. The organization uses different strategies such as research and women education to find solution to the HG problems.


Anthony, S. Emergency management of Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Emergency Nurse. 2012.20(4): 24-8.

CDC. Pregnancy Complications. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. USA.2015.

Goodwin, T.M . Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Obstetrics and gynecology clinics of North America. 2008. 35 (3): 401 — 17.

Summers, A. Emergency management of Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Emergency Nurse. 2012. 20 (4): 24 — 28.

University of Maryland. Hyperemesis Gravidarum. University of Maryland Medical Center.USA. 2015.

Women Health. Pregnancy Complications. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.2015.

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