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The psychosocial burden of hyperemesis gravidarum



To describe the psychosocial burden of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) in a large cohort of affected women, focusing on previously unreported problems.

Study Design:

Women with HG described their pregnancy history in an open-ended survey administered internationally through an HG website during 2003 to 2005.


Of the 808 participants, 626 (77.5%) were American. A large majority (82.8%) reported that HG caused negative psychosocial changes, consisting of (1) socioeconomic changes, for example, job loss or difficulties, (2) attitude changes including fear regarding future pregnancies and (3) psychiatric sequelae, for example, feelings of depression and anxiety, which for some continued postpartum. Women who reported that their health-care provider was uncaring or unaware of the severity of their symptoms were nearly twice as likely to report these psychiatric sequelae (odds ratio 1.86, 95% confidence interval 1.06 to 3.29, P=0.032).


Over 80% of a large cohort of women with HG reported that HG caused a negative psychosocial impact.

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This research was supported in part by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.

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Correspondence to L M Korst.

Appendix A

Appendix A

Survey questions relevant to this study.

  1. 1

    What was your health provider's attitude toward hyperemesis care and you?

    1. a)

      Overall very supportive and helpful

    2. b)

      Eventually realized how sick I was and helped me

    3. c)

      Did not understand how sick I was

    4. d)

      Overall not sympathetic or caring

  2. 2

    What specific treatments were offered for hyperemesis?

  3. 3

    How has your life or future plans changed after experiencing hyperemesis?

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Poursharif, B., Korst, L., Fejzo, M. et al. The psychosocial burden of hyperemesis gravidarum. J Perinatol 28, 176–181 (2008).

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  • hyperemesis gravidarum
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • pregnancy
  • psychosocial aspects

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