Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP) are common in early pregnancy but there is a wide spectrum of severity in terms of the duration and acuity of symptoms throughout gestation. Adverse maternal and fetal outcomes have been seen in women who experience severe symptoms, also known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). Evidence-based, assessment and management can reduce symptom severity, avoid physical and psychological deterioration and minimise the impact on quality of life and function. A pathway for assessment and management of NVP and HG in the emergency room is presented based on the Society of Obstetric Medicine of Australia and New Zealand Guideline for the Management of Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy and Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Assessment requires an objective evaluation using a validated scoring system such as the PUQE-24 score, as well as calculation of hydration and nutritional status. Ketonuria is not associated with either the diagnosis or severity of HG. Further investigation including biochemistry is only required in severe cases. Many women will have tried a range of therapies and an important aspect of treatment is to recognise the validity of their symptoms. Treatment may require a combination of intravenous fluids, anti-emetics, acid suppression and laxatives. Outpatient management is optimal but admission may be required for refractory symptoms, organ dysfunction or concurrent significant co-morbidities. Emergency management of NVP and HG requires an appropriate pathway of care to support women until the natural resolution of their condition. Both underuse of safe therapies and overuse of ineffective medication must be avoided.
Keywords: hyperemesis gravidarum; nausea and vomiting in pregnancy; practise guideline; therapeutic intervention.
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