Instead of a pregnancy update this week I thought I’d dedicate a post to raising awareness of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) and how it affects day to day life for the women who suffer from it. Throughout my pregnancy I’ve found that HG can be a really lonely condition to suffer with and is so often misunderstood by well meaning people who want to try and help. To try and combat this loneliness and spread some awareness of what HG is really like I’ve teamed up with some amazing bloggers who have shared their experiences of HG and what they wish people knew about it. You’ve heard me ramble on about my experience so far, here are some experiences/words of wisdom from some other lovely ladies:
Real HG mamas share their experiences
When ginger just wont cut it
I have had it with both my pregnancies, both boys too! (Was told it would likely be girls haha) Nothing helped me food wise. I had IV fluids / anti sickness with both as was severely dehydrated. In hindsight I was depressed waiting for it to pass I think. First time round was 2014 and I can definitely say I was taken more seriously in 2016. I was quicker to be treated and given IV fluids in 24hrs. I was also offered better medication this time, Ondansatron saved my soul. It’s an anti sickness drug used normally in conjunction with chemotherapy but also used in HG. It reduced to sickness massively and helped me go to work (still had episodes of sickness and weakness) but it was a wonder drug for me. The harsh reality is that so many people don’t take it serious (the NICE guidelines used by the NHS still quotes to try GINGER)even when I was at my weakest and constantly vomiting just the saliva I had swallowed I was told it was just morning sickness and you had to get on with it. My boss even told me the classic line “pregnancy isn’t an illness” and it’s soul destroying. I didn’t brush my hair for weeks, couldn’t brush my teeth. Your lips split as you are so dehydrated. To get through each day I just lay in bed, towel over my head in silence,not moving as I didn’t want to start up the vomiting. It was awful second time round with toddler around me but it does sort of help you muster up something inside to do a little bit more each day. One of my classic memories is arriving home in the car, I used to be sick in a carrier bag on the way home, this time I didn’t have time and as I threw up over myself I also peed all over my car seat.If you get help from family and friends- take it. Just rest all you can and fight for medication. Don’t be fobbed off with cyclyzine/prochlorperazine tablets if they don’t work- there are other treatments you can have (The NICE guidelines are useful if current meds aren’t working https://cks.nice.org.uk/nauseavomiting-in-pregnancy… )even writing this takes me right back and I feel for anyone with it. I was so elated to be pregnant but prettified to have HG again
I had horrendous morning sickness to the point I couldn’t eat, drink, stand up, anything really. I was constantly heaving and on the verge of being sick but because I was rarely actually sick (or despite the heaving didn’t bring anything up) I didn’t fit the standard HG mould. I was still breastfeeding at the time and the force of the heaving used to make me leak milk everywhere (so embarrassing), and I ended up with a possible prolapse because of it too. I had to constantly eat something to try and control the sickness, but this also had the issue of causing really bad indigestion and acid reflux because of my digestive system having to constantly deal with the food. It was much worse this time with a toddler to contend with as I couldn’t rest. It would definitely make me consider whether I could go through it again.
I lost 2 stone over the course of my last Pregnancy due to HG. Nothing stayed down, not even sips of water. In the end I found grapefruit juice seemed to be tolerable and so I survived by drinking it for 6 months and eating whenever I could manage. HG can feel soul destroying and effects you mentally as well as physically.
First trimester struggles
I only had bad morning sickness for about 6 weeks with my first pregnancy but I was signed off work as I could barely stand. (No sympathy or help on that front – management said “pregnancy is not all illness”.)My experience was brief but it was awful. Never underestimate how badly it can affect mental health and well being. It was like living in a nightmare. I cannot imagine what people who suffer for their whole pregnancies or multiple pregnancies go through.
Put off foods for life
I lost almost 5 stone and it put me off some foods for life after seeing them come back up!! My son is 11 now and it seems much more well known now than it was when I had it with him and no one really got it!
I was so ill with HG the second time I ended up on a drip in hospital – by that point I couldn’t stand in the kitchen to get my daughter a drink as I was so weak, I was just going to faint! I went from 9 stone to 8 stone in the first 4 weeks. Non stop sickness all day long even if I didn’t eat anything. Worst thing was noone understood – I had friends messaging asking if I want to meet them at the park with my daughter – I couldn’t even get off the sofa to stand up! Best way I’ve seen it described is imagine how you feel after food poisoning and being sick for 1-2 days – then times that by 6 weeks! I was depressed and felt like death! At 6 weeks I finally got admitted and had a drip, then loads of sickness tablets. I was still sick through the rest of the pregnancy and had hyper salivation which was horrific, but never got as ill as those first few weeks because of 3 strong sickness tablets. One of them was very strong and I was only put on it because the benefits outweighed the negatives, supposedly. Hyper salivation can go hand in hand with HG and I even had some midwife’s who had never even heard of it before. It was extreme salivating (gross I know) and I had to have a paper cup to spit in to as it kept coming and I couldn’t swallow it – like a pint a day (sorry if that’s TMI!) The first pregnancy I had quite weak sickness tablets and they never did a thing, but I was 100 times sicker with the second. I never want to be pregnant again. It was a very dark time for me.
Vomiting thousands of times
I lost 2.5 stone while pregnant with HG. I vomited more than 5,000 times and I even tore my oesophagus!
Admitted to hospital
I lost 2 stone when I had HG last year! I was admitted for 3 weeks, going in daily for IV fluids as I didn’t want to stay overnight, in the end I was going home with my IV cannula in rather than putting a new one in each day! On the good days I could manage half a slice of toast, however I think if I ate any more toast I would have turned into a toast! I can only just about manage it now over a year later!
Jade from The Newlyweds Site
Unable to face another pregnancy
HG Is horrific. I had it with both pregnancies, for 4 months with the first and worse with the second – from 6 weeks to C-setion at 39. I lost more than the “standard HG” expected weight loss, hospitalised on numerous occasions whilst trying to be mummy to a toddler. Hospitals always seem a little under informed and I ended up on ward with women post hysterectomy or occasionally in maternity, wherever beds were free. It’s NOT morning sickness or “severe” morning sickness. Awareness is growing but still not enough. I won’t have another baby because of HG. It is damaging to physical and mental health. My heart goes to anyone suffering with HG or who has lived through it. I briefly touched on it on
It can get better
I had it with both of my first pregnancies (boys) but got the strong medication straight away with my second so I didn’t become hospitalised. I was hospitalised with my first and it took so long for me to go to the hospital because everyone thought I was playing on it I actually ended up needing 8 litres of liquid because I was so bad, and I didn’t even bloat at all.. could have easily taken another 2-3litres. People don’t realise how bad it is until they have it themselves and saying eat a ginger biscuit doesn’t help at all! I couldn’t eat, couldn’t drink (even my own spit made me sick), I was exhausted and I was throwing up every 10 minutes, hadn’t slept in weeks and my oh said enough was enough because I wasn’t even going to the toilet and took me to out of hours who referred me straight to hospital. First thing I did when I was admitted was message my grandma and tell her the ginger would never have worked and told her to look up HG. My dad and step mum came to see me after I got out of hospital and they only recently told me that they thought I really wasn’t going to get through the pregnancy safely. Sends shivers down my spine even thinking about all this again! Now on my third pregnancy and I feel great! Nauseous at the beginning but compared to HG anything is a walk in the park!
Low blood pressure
I had HG with both of my kids. The first time around though my blood pressure dropped so low due to my lack of eating and constant vomiting that the hospital literally couldn’t find my blood pressure at all.
Whilst adjusting the machine the doctor breathed on me (he had terrible breath) and I literally just passed out.
Ginger is the worst
I started my pregnancy at size 14 by 12 weeks I was a size 10 as even the sight of the food made me throw up; nothing worked I tried all the old wives tales – ginger biscuits were the worst as they didn’t even go down before I threw them back up. I had dry crackers every morning and threw them straight back up. The only thing that helped me was strong anti sickness pills. After being put on a drip on hospital they sent me home with it and i was finally able to eat again!
I’m a HG peer supporter with Pregnancy Sickness Support, had with both of my children. Was admitted over 30 times for re hydration with my second and had to have him early due to my liver failing.
Jessica from That Mummy Blog
Trust your instincts
You know your body/symptoms better than anyone – don’t be palmed off. I literally couldn’t keep sips of water down and was dismissed by our local midwives. They only took me more seriously when I found out I was having twins but that shouldn’t have ever even been a factor. Don’t settle when it’s your baby/s health at risk
Beth from Twinderelmo