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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Managing hyperemesis gravidarum: a multimodal challenge

JK Jueckstock, R Kaestner and I Mylonas*

Author Affiliations

First Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Campus Innenstadt, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Maistrasse 11, 80337 Munich, Germany

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BMC Medicine 2010, 8:46  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-8-46

Published: 15 July 2010


Up to 90% of pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting. When prolonged or severe, this is known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), which can, in individual cases, be life threatening. In this article the aetiology, diagnosis and treatment strategies will be presented based on a selective literature review. Treatment strategies range from outpatient dietary advice and antiemetic drugs to hospitalization and intravenous (IV) fluid replacement in persistent or severe cases. Alternative methods, such as acupuncture, are not yet evidence based but sometimes have a therapeutic effect.

In most cases, the condition is self limiting and subsides by around 20 weeks gestation. More severe forms require medical intervention once other organic causes of nausea and vomiting have been excluded. In addition, a psychosomatic approach is often helpful.

In view of its potential complexity, general practitioners and obstetricians should be well informed about HG and therapy should be multimodal.