Hyperemesis Gravidarum: More support needed

Friday, 3 March 2017

Unusually for me, this post is going to be a serious one!

Yesterday I was listening to Jeremy Vine's show on Radio 2 in the car. They were talking about Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which is something I know all about and the stories really touched me.

When I was pregnant with Dorothy I suffered with hyperemesis throughout. I remember that almost as I found out that I was pregnant, I began to be sick. Not just a little bit of morning sickness, but so much so that by 8 weeks I was not able to keep anything down, not even sips of water. I remember crying every day. I was so dehydrated that I was fainting every day and I was in a constant state of exhaustion and could barely move.

In the end Mikey, (bless him) rang my mum, who along with Mark took me to my doctor, who immediately sent me to my local hospital, where I was admitted. While in hospital, I was given an anti-sickness injection and fluids and was finally able to sleep and eat without being sick.

Along with a lot of support from my husband and my family, I also had a lot of support from my doctor, who was fantastic. She was very sympathetic and immediately took me seriously.

Luckily, I did not need to be hospitalised for hyperemesis again, but I was prescribed anti-sickness drugs throughout my pregnancy, although most of the time they didn't work and I lost a lot of weight throughout the pregnancy. I suffered until Dot was born.

However, when I was listening to the radio, I was shocked. Some of the stories were really awful. There were mothers-to-be who had been so low from suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum and had little or no support from medical professionals. Some of them had even considered abortion just because they felt that they had no choice 

I could honestly say that I definitely did not suffer as these poor women did. Although I was annoyed that my midwife brushed it off and told me that I should "drink more water", I was extremely lucky that my doctor was so helpful and supportive.

More definitely needs to be done for mothers-to-be who struggling with hyperemesis gravidarum.  Medical professionals should be paying more attention to suffering mothers-to-be and not just brush it off as morning sickness.  Hyperemesis is not morning sickness. It is an illness in it's own right.

Pregnancy Sickness Support, a charity, is calling for more day units, much like the one I was admitted to, so that women can receive the specialist care they need. 

They also offer help and advice. They run a national support network run by volunteers who know first hand the trials of extreme sickness in pregnancy.

They also have a forum where women who have been through pregnancy sickness and hyperemesis share their coping strategies.

You can find more information on their website, www.pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk.