Interviewing a New Doctor
After you find a few physicians meeting your criteria, review our list of questions below and ask each doctor you interview for their response. This will help you decide if he/she is a good candidate. Having a doctor who will treat you early on can be the best strategy in managing HG effectively. If you have HG now and don't feel you are getting adequate care, seek a second opinion. These questions also apply to you and will help you find a doctor.
After you read through the following questions, change them as appropriate for your situation. These will help you determine if a doctor you are considering is comfortable treating HG and will intervene before you get too sick. Treatment strategies vary greatly by doctor, so you have to ask. If a doctor has a preset plan that is followed and not adapted to your specific symptoms, you may have difficulties getting the care you need.
It's also a good idea to think through the problems you had last time (or are having now) and ask how this doctor will respond to them or prevent them if possible. Examples of secondary problems include medication reactions, reflux, depression, muscle atrophy, malnutrition, thyroid dysfunction, etc. Don't forget to review as much info on our site as possible before your first visit. This will help you be informed on your options.
Questions to Ask
- How many women do you see with HG each year?
(If they say only a few, they may be uncomfortable being aggressive early on, or may not realize how sick you are until you are very sick.)
- What do you think causes HG?
(If they say it's largely psychological or they don't know, find a different doctor.)
- How do you treat HG?
(Allow them to respond to this before asking the more specific questions listed below. Determine if they have a preset plan or if they treat based on your individual symptoms and response.)
- Do you always start with Phenergan,
antihistamines (Unisom) and/or sedatives (Compazine)? Or can I start with
the medication that worked best last time
(or a different one if nothing helped)?
- At what point can I start
on a medication?
(It's important that doctors are willing to prescribe medications when symptoms begin since you have had HG in the past. This may prevent complications and make HG less severe.)
- Do you use Zofran, Kytril or Anzemet? How many weeks do I have to
be to start on this medicine? What is the dose you feel is the most I can
take in a day?
(It is a misconception that no drug is safe until after the first trimester. Refer to our Risks and Outcomes page for more info. See our Medication page for dosages.)
- If I don't improve with those drugs,
what would be the next step?
- Do you ever use steroid therapy?
(If you have severe HG and/or have not responded to medications in the past, you may want to consider this. Review more on it on our Medication page.)
- Do you prescribe home TPN or other
options for nutritional support? If so, at what point (how many
pounds do I have to lose, how long do I have to vomit, etc.)?
- What other options do you recommend
for treatment besides (or in conjunction with) medications? (e.g. Acupuncture, homeopathy, gastric pacing, psychotherapy)
- Since I have
had HG before (or now) and we are trying to get pregnant, can you give
me a prescription for a few doses of (the
you want to try
first) to have on hand in case the nausea/vomiting
begins while you are not available or I am away from home
(if you travel).
(If another doctor is on call, they may not be willing to offer you medication without first seeing you.)
- Are you comfortable with my using
homeopathics or other natural treatments?
(If you plan to try them. See our Complementary & Alternative Medicine section.)
- What are my options for contacting you after hours
if I am getting worse since you will know my
(Do you have to talk with the nurse or an on-call person first? Is that your only option?)
Feel free to refer the physicians you interview to our site to educate themselves on management of hyperemesis. We have developed a protocol to help them determine how best to care for you. We also have many links to medical research articles they can read to learn more.
Updated on: Apr. 18, 2013