What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum? Hyperemesis Gravidarum means Excessive nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.
I thought I would add a blog post, that is totally unrelated to my normal food posts. Why, you may ask? because, I have mentioned more than once that in this pregnancy I have suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It’s a pregnancy complication that is very underestimated and not very well known.
If you read this post and think you are suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum and are not getting the help you need, please contact PSS the Pregnancy Sickness Support in UK. They are amazing and will help you get the treatment needed! https://www.pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk/
Now most of you have probably heard about morning sickness or pregnancy sickness, which is a better term for it (as it does not only happen in the morning). It is well known that 7 out of 10 women will experience some level of Nausea during pregnancy. This is expected and for most people it will settle by week 12. Also, the nausea or pregnancy sickness is not overwhelming and the woman can continue their lives more or less as normal.
But then you got woman who suffer from the rarer form of pregnancy sickness, also known as Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). Approximately 1 out of 100 pregnant woman suffers from this during their pregnancy and it is extreme. Imagine having an extreme hangover, where you can’t sit up, even the smell of coffee, food, your partner makes you feel horrible. Sitting up in bed you feel like throwing up the room spins and you can’t even have anything to drink as it makes you throw it straight up. With the hangover, you know that within a few hours or if really bad, at least by the next day you will feel better.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum is like a hangover from hell, but instead of it disappearing within a few hours days, it continues for ever. For me it lasted from week 6 to 32 in a really bad way, then from week 32 I have been slightly better and feeling at least a bit better. I have actually been able to cook for the last few weeks, but still being sick up to 10 times in a day. If lucky, only 3 times a day… those days have been a blessing.
What is even worse than suffering from HG is that professional people like doctors and midwifes often does not now a lot about this sickness complication and therefore doesn’t take it seriously.
In my first pregnancy, with Toddler “Blip” I had never heard about HG, and when I went to the doctors and told them that I had been sick more than 20 times in the day and hadn’t been able to eat/or drink for almost 3 days, all I was told was that it was normal to be sick and to try and drink more water and eat small meals. I was informed that some women had more problems to accept they are pregnant and therefore psychologically they couldn’t manage as well and morning sickness felt worse than it was.
When I went back from that doctor appointment I felt so bad, I felt that it was me that was wrong and couldn’t cope. The following day I was so bad that I lay down with a pillow in the bathroom so I didn’t have to move when I had to throw up. When my husband came home he took me straight to A&E who admitted me straight away to get medication and fluids. First at this point did I learn about Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Even then, it wasn’t treated proper at doctors etc. More than once I was made to feel bad that I had to take medication for the sickness… But first pregnancy was the easy one. I had one hospital admission…
Second pregnancy, was a total different ball game. I have been admitted 6 times… at week 38 I’m still on 3 types of medication, and still throwing up multiple times a day. Last night, I was up at 1am throwing up, 2:37, 3:16 and a further 3 times… But at least I was able to request medication and treatment from the beginning of the pregnancy… I still ended up in A&E twice due to my doctor surgery refusing to give me medication.
What NOT to tell a woman suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum
– Have you tried, Ginger, sea bands, Lemonade, herbal supplements, thinking about something else, small meals etc….
I can tell you that when someone has thrown up every day for weeks and months then they have tried everything… believe nobody would ever want to have their heads down in a toilet for 9 months!!!
– You should just eat small meals
No, you just don’t get it… I can’t eat anything, small or big… everything is horrible!
– It’s just mind over matter
This is probably the worst you can suggest to someone with HG, because it indicates that there is something wrong with the person who is suffering, and HG isn’t real. Believe me it is very real… You wouldn’t tell a person with a broken arm to just ignore it, so why would you tell someone with HG that it is not real?
– Just remember that if you are sick your baby is healthy…
This is not true, with extreme sickness HG both mummy and baby are at risk of losing their lives. Especially when not correctly treated.
– You should not take medication whilst pregnant it is dangerous for the baby.
When a woman is pregnant she would always want to do the best for her baby, and believe me there is more than enough guilt associated with not being able to eat and being so sick. I can tell you, had it not been for the medication, neither, Toddler “Blip”, Baby “Flipper” and I would not be alive…
– Oh, I had that, but I had to go to work…
Well in that case, you definitely did not suffer the same form of HG as me, I couldn’t even get out of bed!
– Have you tried Ginger… Just stop
– You are so lucky to not gain weight
No I’m not.
– Just be grateful you are pregnant; many women can’t become pregnant.
If you think you suffer from Hyperemesis Gravidarum and you are in the UK then please contact PSS. https://www.pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk/ They are amazing and will support you to get the right treatment!!
The pictures are borrowed from PSS with permission.
Please do not suffer in silence, and raise awareness where possible x