Mr Justin Clark
In severe cases there can be dehydration and marked alteration in the composition of electrolytes in the mother's body, as well as vitamin deficiency. These changes can cause headaches, muscle weakness and extreme tiredness.
Her liver can be also affected, leading to jaundice and problems with blood clotting. Dehydration can predispose to a thrombosis - that's a blood clot in a deep leg vein or within the chest. Many women may have 'heartburn' caused by inflammation of the stomach and oesophagus (gullet) but sometimes upper abdominal pain can be severe and, if associated with blood stained vomit, may indicate the possibility of a tear in the gullet from repeated retching and vomiting.
Women and their families should be reassured that most cases can be effectively addressed through relatively simple measures and complications to the mother or her baby are unusual. Prompt rehydration is key, by drinking fluid or, in severe cases, by using a drip. In some stubborn cases, the mother should take Vitamin B1 (thiamine) to prevent rare complications arising from a lack of the vitamin that otherwise would cause confusion, seizures and paralysis. Support and reassurance are important because prolonged, debilitating symptoms can also lead to depression.