Skip to main content

Warning notification:Warning

Unfortunately, you are using an outdated browser. Please, upgrade your browser to improve your experience with HSE. The list of supported browsers:

  1. Chrome
  2. Edge
  3. FireFox
  4. Opera
  5. Safari

Symptoms - Hyperemesis gravidarum (very severe sickness in pregnancy)

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is the medical name for severe sickness and vomiting during pregnancy.

About 8 in every 10 people feel sick, or vomit, during their pregnancy.

Between 1 and 3 out of every 100 pregnant people get HG. The effects usually last longer than morning sickness.

If treated, HG should not harm your baby. But if you're losing weight, there is a chance your baby could be born small.

Symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum

HG is much worse than regular morning sickness during pregnancy. It also lasts for longer than regular pregnancy sickness.

The symptoms can have an impact on your daily life.

Symptoms of HG can include:

  • severe sickness
  • vomiting forcefully and often
  • tiredness
  • extra saliva
  • weight loss

Non-urgent advice: Talk to your GP if you:

  • are losing weight
  • have dizziness
  • have dehydration

When to get medical help

If you have severe sickness and vomiting get help from your GP or midwife. Getting help early can prevent dehydration and weight loss.

Urgent advice: Go to your GP urgently or contact your maternity hospital if you:

  • cannot keep down any fluids for 24 hours
  • are vomiting multiple times a day
  • are vomiting blood
  • feel dizzy or faint
  • are losing weight
  • are peeing a dark colour
  • are peeing less than normal
  • have not peed for 8 hours
  • feel pain when peeing
  • have blood in your pee

Causes of hyperemesis gravidarum

The exact cause of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is unknown.

Things suspected of causing it are:

  • hormonal changes during pregnancy
  • nutritional problems - a lack of vitamin B6 can make symptoms worse
  • genetics

If you have another pregnancy after having HG, you may get it again. You might need to get more rest or spend time in hospital because of HG.

Page last reviewed: 27 June 2023
Next review due: 27 June 2026