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antenatal comfort, hyperemesis, severe nausea and vomiting of pregnancy



  1. O'Brien, Beverley
  2. Evans, Marilyn
  3. White-McDonald, Elizabeth


Background: Despite ongoing investigations into specific causes of and treatments for pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting, it remains a common phenomenon of varying intensity that affects the quality of life for both affected women and their families.


Objective: To understand how women cope with severe nausea, vomiting, and/or retching during pregnancy.


Method: Women hospitalized with severe symptoms (N = 24) were purposely selected to participate in 24 semistructured interviews and one focus group (N = 4).


Results: A process was identified wherein women experienced severe and unrelenting nausea and related symptoms which became progressively more debilitating, leaving them feeling uncertain about when and if they would recover. This caused the women to isolate themselves from their world in an effort to cope with symptoms.


Conclusions: Severe nausea and vomiting of pregnancy is a complex and overwhelming syndrome. Rather than emphasizing a specific treatment for a particular symptom (e.g., vomiting), nurses can intervene to reduce the impact of factors that affect the magnitude of nausea, vomiting, and retching.