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What's the difference between morning sickness and hyperemesis?

Hyperemesis gravidarum is an extreme type of nausea during pregnancy that can make it very difficult to keep food or drink down and continue with normal life.⁠

While morning sickness affects about eight in 10 pregnant women and only lasts until around weeks 16 to 20, hyperemesis is much less common and much more severe, affecting around one to three in every 100 pregnant women.

We don’t know exactly what causes hyperemesis, but some people believe it is caused by the quickly changing hormones during pregnancy.⁠

While morning sickness is harmless, the extreme nausea and vomiting that women with hyperemesis suffer from can lead to low blood pressure, weight loss, and severe dehydration. Women with hyperemesis may need to be treated in hospital.⁠

The condition is unlikely to harm your baby. But, depending on how much weight you lose, your baby may be born smaller than expected so your hospital will want to keep a close eye on baby’s weight.⁠

If you are being sick frequently, make sure you tell your midwife or doctor as soon as you can. As always, early intervention is best here.