Hyperemesis Gravidarum has been making the news recently. This extreme pregnancy sickness – definitely NOT morning sickness – has some high-profile sufferers, including the Duchess of Cambridge, Kelly Clarkson, Kim Kardashian and Kirstie Allsopp. Around 70% of pregnant women suffer from nausea; 45% of these suffer sickness too. However, 1 in 100-150 pregnant women are admitted to hospital with HG.
But, how much do we know about Hyperemesis Gravidarum? How seriously do GPs take it? I asked three Tots 100 bloggers, who suffered HG during pregnancy, about their experiences.
“By my third trimester, I was taking sickness pills and was around 2 and a half stone down and it still affected me every day”
When I fell pregnant with my second, I expected and hoped for another pregnancy like my first. I hadn’t thrown up even once, and that meant when the sickness did hit at 5 weeks I was instantly out of my depth.
I began throwing up everything I ate or drank, and because I hadn’t experienced morning sickness the first time, I was led to believe it was normal. Across my first trimester I lost around a stone and had been in hospital once for IV fluids and rest due to dehydration. By my third trimester, I was taking sickness pills and was around 2 and a half stone down and it still affected me every day. It was like a prison – even thinking about the sickness made me throw up and I was fainting whenever I went out and spending a lot of time in the hospital for fluids.
It took a while for my GP to understand – I’d been in for prescriptions for sickness pills and I was fainting and had low blood pressure as a result, but they told me it was all just a part of being pregnant. My midwife gave me my diagnosis around 18 weeks which finally made me feel like I wasn’t just being pathetic and feeling too sorry for myself. It’s a shame to say, but I think some GPs can’t see how extreme the difference is between HG and normal pregnancy sickness.
My friends and family were supportive, especially my husband. He took on a lot of extra work around the house as he knew I was exhausted. I didn’t really feel like many other people understood how bad it was – there were often comments from other mums who had thrown up loads, but they never described it at the level I was so I felt as though they thought I was exaggerating or being weak. No one really knew what hyperemesis was.
I’d advise any women who are suffering to stop trying to soldier on, and to be as kind to themselves as they can. I was far too hard on myself after not experiencing sickness the first pregnancy and it wasn’t until I educated myself and sought help from the midwife that I realised how horrific it really is. Accept help where you can and know that there is an end eventually.
Read more about Stephanie’s HG experience here.
Stephanie, Under Our Roof
“Most friends and family thought I was suffering normal morning sickness and that it would pass”
I was unfortunate to be admitted to hospital a day or so after I found out I was pregnant; we had hoped to keep our news a secret until 12 weeks. However, this did not happen as I was admitted to hospital at 4 weeks pregnant, I had a scan and baby measured just 4mm! Throughout my pregnancy I didn’t bloom and just kept being admitted to hospital for rehydration, I was very fortunate after the birth I felt so much more human compared to the months of HG. I recently had a very bad reaction to a medication and it brought back all the emotions of HG and it was not pleasant.
I received mixed medical support, some GPs were very understanding and fought to get me the care I needed but others were less so and just told me it will pass when it clearly didn’t!
When I announced I was pregnant most friends and family thought I was suffering normal morning sickness and that it would pass. After numerous hospital admissions and explaining to them it wasn’t normal some people had more understanding but I would say most still don’t understand the impact it had on me.
The best advice I can give someone suffering from HG is be prepared to fight for the best medical care you can and, if you can’t, make sure you have someone who can advocate for you. Don’t allow people to tell you it’s just morning sickness, it’s so much worse and it needs proper treatment.
Read Kimberley’s HG story here.
Kimberley, Ruby + Lottie
“I was in hospital 85 times in the last 3 months of pregnancy”
Hyperemesis Gravidarum affected me from 6 weeks pregnant until my daughter was delivered at 38+4. It took over my entire pregnancy and left me feeling awful the entire way through.
My GP initially was not very supportive but then at 16 weeks, after vomiting while on a telephone call, he prescribed me medication to help with the sickness and it was this lowering of symptoms that really helped me to stay sane throughout my pregnancy.
Initially, my family and friends felt that what I had was normal morning sickness. Once they realised that I really was carrying a bowl everywhere I went, and I was in hospital 85 times in the last 3 months they soon knew it was more than just ‘morning sickness’.
If you think you’re suffering from HG then contact your GP or midwife. Do not suffer in silence. There are medications out there to help you and nobody should feel shame for requiring medication when suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
Pregnancy Sickness Support charity
If you are pregnant and feel that you may have HG, as well as discussing it with your GP and midwife the Pregnancy Sickness Support charity is on hand to offer advice too. They have a comprehensive website, a phone line, and can arrange one-to-one peer support with a lady who has suffered from HG and lives in the same area as you. There’s also a forum with over 5,000 sufferers and survivors. Tots 100 blogger Emma of Adventures and Play is a trustee of the charity. She supports women every day suffering with the condition via their forum; Emma suffered twice from HG. Her pregnancy with HG can be read here.
Have you endured Hyperemesis Gravidarum? Tell us about your journey in the comments below x