Although morning sickness is the most common cause of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, other diagnoses must also be considered, particularly if you lose more than 3 pounds within a one-week period and are retching day and night.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HD) is a severe form of nausea and votiting affect 3 percent of pregnant women and is associated with severe dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and weight loss. Your provider should consider this diagnosis if

  • You have lost more than 10 pounds in a two-week period and have relentless vomiting.
  • Large ketones, substances the body makes when it is not receiving enough calories, are found in the urine. This can be documented with a dipstick urine test.

The treatment of HD includes hospitalization with IV fluids (with vitamins added) until the patient is against able to tolerate food.

Gallstones develop when cholesterol and other substances in the bile form crystals that become hard stones in the gallbladder. The female hormone estrogen can cause this condition during pregnancy. The symptoms of gallbladder disease in pregnancy include the following:

  • Severe nausea and vomiting associated with pain in the upper right portion of the abdomen or pain that radiates to the back or shoulder blade.
  • Jaundice (yellowing) of the skin and eyes, dark urine, and light-colored stools. These symptoms are associated with gallstones that have blocked the common bile duct.

A diagnosis of gallbladder disease can be made using an ultrasound. Depending upon the symptoms and the number and location of the stones, treatment can range from prescribing a bland diet to surgically removing the entire gallbladder.

A molar pregnancy is a rare condition occurring in approximately one in a thousand pregnancies. It is an abnormality of the placenta that’s very rare and occurs when a sperm fertilizes an empty egg. Sometimes it may be associated with severe nausea and vomiting. The two types of molar pregnancy are complete and partial. In a complete mole, there is no baby, just a placenta. In a partial molar pregnancy, there is a baby that has an abnormal number of chromosomes and usually dies. Sometimes this condition is also associated with cancer. You don’t need to be concerned about this condition unless you have vaginal bleeding with the passage of grapelike clots. This condition is confirmed by an ultrasound.

Between 50 to 90 percent of women have some form of nausea during pregnancy that is normal. However, should you experience any of the symptoms that are mentioned above; please see your provider immediately.

Remember, a healthy pregnancy doesn’t just happen. It takes a smart mother who knows what to do.

This is an excerpt from The Smart Mother’s Guide to a Better Pregnancy