Increase Awareness of and Research for Hyperemesis Gravidarum
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Nearly all expectant mothers experience nausea and vomiting to some degree. While some cases of morning sickness are more severe than others, there exists a condition on another plane of suffering - Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
While severe morning sickness can cause great discomfort and can disrupt the daily life of an expectant mother, Hyperemesis Gravidarum leads to substantial weight loss, dangerous dehydration, and malnutrition. The disease is rare, but occurs commonly enough for there to be treatment protocols in all OB/gyn offices and in all emergency rooms and labor/delivery units. We are asking that the Federal government address the dangerous nature of hyperemesis gravidarum by encouraging and funding the National Institutes of Health in researching the cause of and best practice treatments for hyperemesis gravidarum (HG).
Treatment of morning sickness can range from candied ginger to mint water to eating small meals throughout the day. For patients of life-threatening Hyperemesis Gravidarum, the solution is not nearly as simple. The inability to keep down any food or drink which characterizes the disease quickly leads to dehydration that is dangerous for both mother and baby. Most of the time, IV fluids and medications such as ondansetron, promethazine, and others are required to sustain the pregnancy. Without adequate treatment, miscarriage may occur or a woman may feel forced to seek a termination. The long-term effects of Hyperemesis Gravidarum may spell organ, tooth, gum, and bone damage for surviving mothers and even conditions as serious as Wernicke’s Encephalopathy (a neurological disorder caused by thiamine deficiency).
With highly aggressive treatment, HG patients and their children can have positive outcomes. Unfortunately, insurance coverage and application of aggressive treatment is far from universal. We are asking the Federal Department of Health and Human Services to assist HG patients and survivors in the following ways:
- Increased awareness of the disease and its differences from typical morning sickness in the form of PSAs and pamphlets to be distributed among obstetricians.
- Research into the efficacy of preventive care and treatment for Hyperemesis Gravidarum, as well as follow-up care for surviving mothers.
- Stressing the importance of proper and aggressive HG treatments to physicians and insurers through regulation of protocols.
On behalf of families who have survived Hyperemesis Gravidarum, as well as those who have experienced infant and maternal loss or are still suffering, we thank you for your kind and prompt attention to this critical matter.
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