All in Caitlin Dean

The risk of medication during in pregnancy

This week saw an episode of Call the Midwife in which a women who was suffering Hyperemesis Gravidarum was given a drug called Thalidomide. The programme is set in the 1960's and while the women suffering portrayed the horrors of hyperemesis very well, the miraculous cure of the drug was perhaps a little overstated... I don't think even Thalidomide had that much of a wondrous effect on full blown HG! Anyway, that's by the by... We all know the devastating effects Thalidomide caused when taken between days 35-50 of pregnancy. It must be historically one of the most Teratogenic drugs (a medication which causes abnormalities in a developing foetus) ever to have been given in pregnancy and it is thanks to this the danger of using treatments without proper analysis and adequate testing was exposed and no longer happens.

The importance of awards for raising awareness

At the risk of sounding like I'm just trying to big myself up and win stuff... there really is a good reason for voting for me. Getting the subject of hyperemesis gravidarum into the public eye is vital! By the HG community speaking up in the form of votes, nominations, completing surveys and so on makes everyone else realise it's a subject worth talking about.

Tackling the biggest Taboo

I speak to women day in and day out about hyperemesis gravidarum and the all consuming impact it can have on their lives, not just during pregnancy but for many years afterwards too. The biggest taboo has got to be the issue of termination for the condition. To say it's common would be an understatement. These are not terminations of unwanted babies. Many of these are babies which were planned and tried for within happy and healthy relationships. Some are babies which took months, years and even IVF to conceive. Others are babies conceived by “surprise” yet none the less wanted and welcome.

New year plans 2015

Well last year finished off rather manically for me as I worked my little socks off bringing the Charity's amazing support network up to speed and matched dozens of desperate sufferers with volunteers to hold their cyber hands over the Christmas period while they endured non-sick relatives and bouncy excited children.

Changing Opinions

Yesterday I watched this UpWorthy piece, a story by Ash Beckham who, while taking her niece to meet the frozen princess character, was mistaken for her dad. In the split moment she was torn between keeping her mouth shut and enjoying the moment with her niece and speaking out as an advocate for the LGBT community and raising awareness about gender stereotyping. It was interesting because I find myself in a similar dilemma surprisingly often when it comes to raising awareness about HG. Should I just keep quite at this kids party my children are enjoying so much and not risk any kind of scene or discomfort... or should I politely but clearly set this ignorant woman straight on how her “morning sickness” was not the same as her poor friends symptoms and her friend is not just “making a fuss” and it's not “psychological” and perhaps she should show some compassion rather than gossiping about her while she to sick to speak. Realistically, no matter how gently or carefully you try to correct someone you're inevitably coming to cause them embarrassment and risk appearing confrontational.

The book is here!

It's taken two years of seriously hard work. Started by Amanda Shortman in 2012 and joined by me last year to drive it forward it's finally here, the first of it's kind in the UK... Hyperemesis Gravidarum – The Definitive Guide. And boy-o-boy are we about bursting with pride! Pre-orders of it on Amazon has shot it straight to #4 on their Pregnancy and Childbrith Best seller list.

Lets see some action

It's the Pregnancy Sickness Support conference on 11th October at the super cool Think Tank Science Museum in Birmingham. I'll be there, presenting on a range of topics and I'll have copies of our book which Amanda (who will also be there) and I can sign. And I want you there too...

Getting to the MADS

It's been quite a whirlwind the last couple of weeks with the news that the Duchess of Cambridge is suffering hyperemesis again and the associated media frenzy that came with it. I don't know if we're really making head way or not to be honest. The news that she was unable to go to Malta was reported without even the “acute” or “extreme” bit in front of the “morning sickness” she was reported to have. Sometimes it really feels like I'm banging my head against a brick wall.

Passing the long lonely hours

The thing with hyperemesis gravidarum is that on top of all the spewing and constant nausea there is horrendous isolation and intense loneliness that comes with long long hours alone in your bedroom or on the sofa with no one else around and very little you can do to help yourself out of the ensuring misery and depression that comes with it.

Bed bound for 9 long months

Hyperemesis gravidarum doesn't only bring a whole lot of nausea and vomiting to the sufferer. As if that wasn't enough it can bring pytalism (excessive saliva), pounding headaches, torn stomach muscles, torn oesophagus', loss of bladder control and unimaginable misery. And it brings nine long months of being pretty much bed bound.

Sex and intimacy after HG

Okay well you know I'm not one to beat around the bush and it's recently come to light that this is a topic that needs rapid addressing for my audience! I conducted a quick survey on a “survivors” group on Facebook to get a gist of the key issues couples are facing in the bedroom post hyperemesis gravidarum to cover the subject in the book. Goodness me! I was almost in tears reading some of the problems women and their partners are facing.

Choosing to have HG again

There seems to be increasing speculation about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge planning another baby and I'm getting calls and emails for interviews on the subject due to the Duchess's history of hyperemesis gravidarum. Honestly, who would want to be famous eh... The pressure for that poor woman to have to go through hyperemesis again is appalling! It's bad enough that she doesn't seem to have a choice about whether or not to go through it again... She can't even do it in her own time scale! The media seem to be demanding she get on with it and her baby is only 10 months old.

Employment rights for spewing mummies

I've been advising a friend of mine this week who works for a big, well known supermarket in the UK and is being treated unfairly due to pregnancy sickness. Like 30% of pregnant women she has needed to have a few days off work because she's spewing up constantly. Now I don't know about you but I don't particularly want people spewing up at work in the supermarket I shop in... Clearly she needs to be off for a bit.