Public Defence: Helena Kames Kjeldgaard – Epidemiology

M.Sc. Helena Kames Kjeldgaard will be defending the thesis "Hyperemesis gravidarum and mental health: Exploring associations." for the degree of PhD.

Foto: Privat

Trial Lecture - time and place

See Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Associate Professor Rebecca Painter, University of Amsterdam
  • Second opponent: Associate Professor Trine Munk-Olsen, Aarhus University
  • Third  member of the adjudication committee: Professor Anne Flem Jacobsen, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Associate Professor Eva Malt, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Researcher Åse Vikanes, Norwegian Institute of Public Health


Severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and mental health

MSc Helena K. Kjeldgaard has studied possible associations between extreme nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and mental health.

Almost 90% of all pregnant women occasionally experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Between 1-3% are suffering from more severe and long-lasting nausea and vomiting called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), characterised by frequent vomiting, often loss of weight and dehydration, necessitating in-hospital intravenous treatment including fluids vitamins and electrolytes. Historically HG has been stigmatising for the pregnant women and seen as hysteria and psychological problems.

In her study «Hyperemesis gravidarum and mental health: Exploring associations» Kjeldgaard has been exploring possible associations between HG and mental health before, during and after pregnancy, using data from the Norwegian mother and child cohort study and Akershus Birth Cohort Study.

The study shows that women with previous depression had 50% higher risk for developing HG, but only 1.2% of women with previous depression developed HG. 2/3 of women with HG had no sign depression before or during pregnancy.

Women with HG also had higher odds for reporting symptoms of depression at pregnancy weeks 17 and 32, and 6 months after delivery, compared to women without HG. There were no differences between the two studied groups 18 months after delivery. Moreover, hyperemetic women reported more symptoms of posttraumatic stress 2 months and 2 years after delivery compared to women without HG.

The results indicate that earlier depression has relatively little impact on the development of HG. HG may, however, impact the general experience of pregnancy and delivery and the risk of developing symptoms of depression during pregnancy as well as posttraumatic stress after delivery. Hence, it is important to attend to mental health as part of the HG treatment.

Additional information

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Publisert 13. nov. 2018 14:33 - Sist endret 13. nov. 2018 14:40