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Journey into the world of hyperemesis gravidarum...
29Sep 13

HG Heroes

In recognition of the fact that HG doesn't just affect the pregnant woman but often her partner, previous children and anyone else caring for her, I'm going to do a series of HG Heroes. Starting with my own I will be posting pictures and stories of all the wonderful people who have helped women through their worst moments. I also hope it will offer strength and support to those suffering at the moment.
 
HG Heroes can be partners, friends and relatives but I would also like to recognise all the brilliant doctors, midwives, nurses and employers who have help women with HG.
 
If you have an HG Hero you would like me to post about then please contact me using the form on the right.
 
So, my biggest HG hero has got to be my wonderful husband Rob. He has been by my side for literally thousands of vomits, willing to support me regardless. Asking him to support me through a third round of HG was hard but he was therefore me at every turn.
 
He is particularly skilled at emptying sick buckets.
 
My HG has had silver linings for Rob as he is now a very hands-on, confident dad and he admits that may not have been the case had I not have suffered so badly, rendering him a single dad during the subsequent pregnancies. It has also given our marriage an unimaginable strength which we are both very proud of.
 
Now he supports me in my ongoing mission to raise the profile of the condition and my work with PSS despite it taking up vast amounts of family time. I know how proud he is of my work and I know I couldn't do any of it if it wasn't for him.
 
He's handsome too isn't he? :)
 
 

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25Sep 13

Hyperemesis Gravidarum - how nurses and midwives can help

During a wonderful twitter chat last week by @WeMidwives, part of the We Nurses community a number of the midwives involved highlighted that the difference between normal “morning sickness” and hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) wasn't clear and they didn't feel confident in identifying the point at which treatment is indicated. Further, they didn't feel confident in knowing how best to treat and support a woman with HG.
 
Therefore, in addition to the information currently available on the Pregnancy Sickness Support website, I though I would clear the matter up a little and this post is particularly for all the nurses and midwives who are coming into daily contact with women suffering HG.
 
The difference between the two
 
Morning sickness (a misnomer as it is rarely confined to pre-midday!) is a normal part of pregnancy, effecting 80% of women. It's not particularly nice but it's not that bad either, a bit of a queasy feeling sporadically during the day or night, particularly if you haven't eaten. Perhaps throwing up sometimes and then feeling a bit better. Believe it or not most women actually look forward to this normal part of pregnancy as a sort of “right of passage”. It's an indication and reminder of the pregnancy which she has planned and is oh so excited about and generally considered a sign of a progressing pregnancy.
 
Normal pregnancy sickness is usually over by 12 weeks and can be eased by self help techniques such as rest and eating little and often and possibly by wearing acupressure bands and taking a capsule of ginger extract, 1000mg per day.
 
You are unlikely to lose significant weight with normal pregnancy sickness and it won't be interfering with your ability to go to work or look after your household. It may to the sufferer feel awful but ultimately it's not that bad in the scheme of things and we all know it's worth it in the end.
 
Most women with normal pregnancy sickness don't moan that much about it, are unlikely to present to a GP or in hospital and won't suffer significant emotional upset or long term complications from it.
 
Pregnancy sickness is on a spectrum from the very mild to the life threatening and somewhere around the moderate-severe end of Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy (NVP), before it can be fully considered HG, it needs treatment.
 
If the nausea is so constant that she is unable to eat and drink normally then she needs treatment. If she is having time off work and is house or bed bound then she needs treatment.
 
In many cases the first line treatment of antihistamine (ie. Cyclizine or Promethazine) plus vitamin B6 will do the trick and enable her to get on top of eating and drinking again and prevent further deterioration. Now this is important: The VAST majority of women, particularly if the pregnancy was planned, do NOT want to take medication in pregnancy. Fears over safety and the impact on the baby will be overwhelming her as she takes that first tablet. It is the role of the nurse or midwife to reassure her and comfort her with the mountains of evidence for their safety. It is NOT the role of the nurse or midwife to add to her stress and worry with comments such as “well you really shouldn't take anything in pregnancy, we don't know if it's safe”. If you personally don't know if it is safe then do some research. Midwifery and nursing are evidence based professions and all qualified staff should be more than capable of accessing and reviewing the relevant literature.
 
Moving on – When severe NVP gets worse and a woman is dehydrated then she has HG and probably needs admission for fluids and IV anti-emetics. Criteria to look for include: weight loss greater then 5% of pre-pregnancy weight; dehydration and starvation either with ketosis or fluid intake less than 500ml/24hrs; quality of life severely affected ie. Unable to get out of bed, wash, watch TV, read etc.
 
If a woman has HG then she needs treatment as not treating can lead to serious complications for both mum and baby. Woman should be reassured that in a risk verses benefit are assessed, taking the medication is the safer option.
 
There are a number of treatment options to move on from the first line of antihistamine/B6 and adding in rather than switching meds is generally more effective as various anti-emetics work in different ways. More information about treatments are available here.
 
Supporting a woman with HG
 
So how can nurses and midwives support patients with this horrid condition? Well, believing her will get you off to a good start. See my previous post on “what not to say to a woman with HG”. In particular, healthcare professionals (HCP's) should avoid suggestions of alternative therapies. Not only do many of them lack an evidence base, or indeed safety data, but you can rest assured that by the time a woman is presenting with HG she will have tried almost all of them and she will have heard of the rest. Suggesting them will undermine her confidence in your ability as a nurse/midwife and will add to her feelings of isolation by highlighting that you don't know what she is going through. If she is still throwing up on anti-emetics then believe me, ginger isn't going to make the blindest bit of difference - plus it burns on the way back out! Suggestions of ginger and hypnosis should be left to the mother-in-laws and the second cousins once removed. And speaking of those “helpful” relatives and friends, you could always print off this leaflet for when they visit.
 
 
Advocacy:During my nurse training I was taught that the nurse should be an advocate for the patient who is unable to express themselves. Many nurses and midwives are actually intimidated by doctors and consultants and I've never really understood why. The doctors themselves admit they don't, indeed can't, know everything about everything and the vast majority are genuinely pleased if a nurse has a thorough knowledge of a subject. Our roles are different and most doctors really respect the professional knowledge of the nurses and midwives they proudly call colleagues. So speak up! Explain that she is suffering and desperate. Explain that she isn't making herself sick and doesn't just want drugs but that she feels like she's been poisoned and cannot move without retching. That she tried for this baby and wants it more than anything but she feels like she is dying and is scared. Suggest that if they aren't sure of the best way forward then they could contact PSS. Question why they aren't moving her on to the next level of treatment – they may have a good reason and you could then relay that to the patient, or perhaps they simply aren't aware of the use of ondansetron or steroids in HG management. 
 
Working in partnership: Many women feel utterly out of control when they have HG and that's scary. By helping women to understand their condition better and self manage in partnership with their HCP's you give her back some control over her life and you make your job easier too – Bingo! So how do you do that? First of all, listen to what does and doesn't work for her. Next, talk to her about the treatment plan, which medication has been prescribed and why, what the options are if those don't work and so on.
 
Plan the discharge with her and she is less likely to come back in! Teaching a woman to monitor her own fluid balance intake/output at home is easy enough, as is monitoring her own ketones at home (NB. She shouldn't have to do either of these for herself in hospital – that's your job and she needs to rest while she can). You can also come up with a care plan for self monitoring and knowing when to come back in for more fluids or to step up medication. Direct access to a ward is easy to arrange too and in some areas IV at home is possible to arrange for her. Call the GP to ensure he/she is on board with the treatment plan.
 
Practical tips for the ward environment: Ideally get her a side room, away from where food is served and not overlooking the smoking area. If the choice is ward bay with crying babies, side room by the kitchen or side room overlooking the smoking area then explain that, apologise for the lack of good option and ask which she would prefer. Do not wear perfume to work... but you already know that. Ensure a good stack of clean vomit bowls and try to check regularly to remove used ones. Be gentle with her battered veins. Where possible try to get her food when she wants it, I know it's not terribly practical on a busy ward but asking a care assistant to make a slice of toast could make a big difference – Or perhaps her visitor could use the ward kitchen? Try to get the drugs to her on time, again I know it's tricky but keeping blood levels stable with the anti-emetics is key to management. Perhaps any oral meds could be kept as patient own so she can take them exactly when she need them without relying on overstretched staff.
 
Finally, support her: She is lonely and miserable, she feels guilty that she isn't enjoying the pregnancy and is probably fantasising about miscarriage or termination, which adds to her guilt and worry. What can you do? Refer her to PSS for peer support. There is a forum she can go on to “meet” other sufferers. If you are concerned she is depressed, which is not a cause of HG but a common complication of it, (clearly 24/7 nausea and vomiting for weeks will make you depressed!), then refer for counselling or to the peri-natal mental health team in you area if you have one. She may be encouraged by a scan to see the baby so if that can be arranged then do.
 
I know HG is a frustrating condition to manage for staff and sometime the women come in and seem so miserable and unwilling to help themselves. It's because they are utterly exhausted, scared, depressed and feeling guilty, hormonal, and constantly nauseous. Lots of midwives and nurses I've spoken to over the years express exacerbation at feeling like they can't help but actually, just being empathetic and supportive of a woman with HG can make the most incredible difference to her miserable experience. To have just one supportive nurse or midwife is wonderful, to have a whole ward full... well sadly, to date, that's unheard of... hopefully not for much longer though!
 

 

Please share this blog with your colleagues and THANK YOU for reading it.

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Excellent post
Helen Hendy, 25th September 2013

Very well written :)
Natalie Morley, 25th September 2013

Will share this :-)
honeycat, 26th September 2013

Once I am better I would like to share the excellent information you provide and give it to the relevant wards in our hospital and GP surgeries. Just wondering though about poor suffering husbands/partners? I know my husband felt so helpless when I was at my worse. He does read the articles on here but I am just wondering if there is an artcle written for the men in our lives! Thanks.
Natalie Morley, 26th September 2013

Thanks Helen :)
Spewing Mummy, 26th September 2013

Thanks Honeycat... very much appreciated! the more we share the more awareness is raised and the less excuses there are for poor care!
Spewing Mummy, 26th September 2013

Hi Natalie, thanks for your comment. I had planned to do a post about the partners perspective in the near future but I'll bring it forward a bit I think. In the mean time there is information on the PSS site for partners here: http://www.pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk/help/information-for-carers/ and you can download the page to print off. There is also a section on the PSS forum just for partners to access for support. Great that you want to share and spread the word! x
Spewing Mummy, 26th September 2013

Such a wonderful post, having had HG 6 times and twice lost baby just having someone who is lnowledgable on how to treat women with HG would be great. Once I was moved from a mat ward to a ward with old ladies who got up and sprayed themselves with the most foul smelling perfumes that caused me to be so severely sick I had a nose bleed, I discharged myself out citing, I would rather chance it at home than in am environment that would make me worse :(
Chunkybums, 13th November 2013

Hey Chunkybums, I'm glad you enjoyed the post and I'm sorry that you suffered so badly and so many times. There has been a definite improvement in awareness and care in the last couple of years but we still have a long way to go and it's very hit and miss still. I'll keep on posting and raising awareness though and in another few years things will be even better for women with HG. x
Spewing Mummy, 17th November 2013

17Sep 13

10 tips to help a friend with hyperemesis gravidarum

The reality is that no one intentionally hurts or upsets a friend who is suffering - they simply don't realise the impact their innocent, well meaning suggestions can have. Often people feel very out of their depth trying to help a friend who is suffering in a way they can't personally imagine. And why should we be able to understand an experience which we haven't been through? Some things we can imagine are universally horrendous for anyone (deaths of love ones and so on) but of ailments, which we have no personal experience... how are we meant to know?
 
The hip pain at night during pregnancy was awful but I honestly can't imagine what symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) is like because I didn't have it. To have that pain constantly! The GP who gave me such excellent and compassionate care never had any pregnancy sickness but she did have terrible SPD and described it as “every step was agony, like walking on broken glass, and no-one understood”.
 
Had I not have suffered HG myself I would have been the first to suggest the alternative remedies for pregnancy sickness, SPD and any other pregnancy aliment which I would assume myself to be an expert on simply from having been pregnant myself. Now I try to relay my experience with one misunderstood condition and apply similar sensitivity to other people's misunderstood conditions... SPD, migraine, myalgic encephalomyelitis, fibromyalgia, depression and so on.
 
Anyway... rather off track there!
 
Down to the business of how you can actually help a friend with HG. Here are my 10 top tips:
  1. Just listen and believe her. Unfortunately no suggestions you make are going to miraculously cure the HG and not suggesting them won't make her think you don't care. Quite the opposite... by not suggesting those things she will enjoy your company and support all the more.
  2. Offer practical support such as making some meals for the freezer that her partner will appreciate too... but PLEASE don't put any garlic in it... her partner won't appreciate relegation to the spare room for stinking!
  3. If she already has kids then perhaps take them out for the day? She'll be comforted to know they are having fun with friends.
  4. Going to the supermarket? Text to ask if she needs any essentials... bread, milk etc. If you drop them over put them actually in the fridge for her. A lot of women with HG can't stand the smell of the fridge.
  5. Be sensitive to how strong her sense of smell is. It's not just strong but it's warped too so once pleasant smells are absolutely revolting. Therefore, if visiting, avoid strong perfume, eating garlic the night before, smoking prior to visit and so on. As nice as flowers are she is likely not able to tolerate the smell.
  6. Talking about gifts - chocolates are a no no unless she has specified wanting them. A magazine would be better, perhaps rather than a pregnancy or girly one how about something that interests her like countryside, knitting, photography etc. Explain that while you appreciate she can't do those things at the moment you hoped that she would be able to flick through the pictures during her better moments and distract her a little.
  7. While you are there, nip to the loo and give it a clean. Don't tell her you're going to do that or ask if she wants you to... who on earth would say “yes please, if you don't mind cleaning the splatters of vomit off the inside of my toilet I'd really appreciate it”?
  8. Send her texts to check up on her and let her know you are thinking of her but don’t' get huffy if she doesn't reply all the time or with any speed. Phone screen induced vomiting is pretty standard but so too is the loneliness and depression which makes you want to shut off from the whole world... especially those who have never suffered. Your texts will mean more to her than you can imagine.
  9. If her partner works and isn't able to attend doctor appointments and you are able to go with her then great... advocate for her. If she can't speak for herself then speak up on her behalf... tell the doctor or midwife how it really is... ie. She's not being sick in a normal way 2-3 times a day, it's relentless, x-y times per day... she may not have the strength herself.
  10. If she is worried about prescribed meds then do a bit of research to reassure her of the safety – Contact charity Pregnancy Sickness Support for more info.
I realise a lot of those things are quite demanding of your time and energy and perhaps difficult to fit into a busy life with children and work. A lot of it will depend on how good a friend you are and the personal circumstances – a sister is clearly going to do more than a work colleague. But if you aim for the above and don't make any of the comments in the last post then you're on your way to winning the award for Best Friend of The Year!
 
Regardless of how bad the woman is suffering and to be honest what the condition is (I'm sure the above would apply to plenty of acute and chronic illnesses: cancer; flu; depression; broken limbs etc.) ultimately a bit of compassion goes a long way and is often appreciated all the more if it's acknowledged that you can't actually imagine the suffering they are experiencing but want to help if you can.
 
For further information about how to help a friend or relative suffering click here.

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My daughter is 12 weeks pregnant and, although not vomiting, suffers almost constant nausea from food stuck in her oesophagus that just won't shift down. Even a small mouthful causes pain and discomfort, yet she is very hungry and if she doesn't eat she still suffers from excess acid. Reflux is getting under control but she still can't eat without discomfort. She is becoming so depressed (she suffered from PPD quite badly) and I worry that her low mood will affect her baby and her post natal mood. I live far from her and its not easy to get to her very often. Her husband cannot understand or help and she feels utterly alone without support. She knows of no one who suffers from this and feels she is being pathetic. She also suffers from extreme tiredness and is frustrated that she can't get motivated to anything but sleep when she can. She has an active toddler aged 3 so doesn't get much rest. If there is anyone out there who suffers as she does she might feel less isolated if she could chat to them. Help P-L-E-A-S-E !!!!!!
Unknown, 22nd September 2013

Hi! I'm so sorry to hear your daughter is suffering so badly. There is help out there. I can't post my email on here but you contact me using the form on the right or you can get her help by clicking on this link and filling the form in for the supporters network. http://www.pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk/help/supporters-network/ There is treatment she can get and support she can access and you can help her by accessing that for her. I'd need to know where in the country she is. I can help but would need to take the communication with you further and off this public thread. Caitlin x
Spewing Mummy, 22nd September 2013

Hi Liam,

Thanks for your comment and praise. You sound like a wonderful supportive partner. And it's great that your employer has been so supportive.

I'll be doing a post on the partners experience soon and I would be keen to interview you for another project I'm working on if possible?

Also, there is a section on the PSS website forum for partners to get peer support. If you wanted to get involved with the charity, helping with the forum and supporting other partners I'd been keen to speak with you. You can email me using the contact form above and right.

Well done to you and your wife for getting through such a tough time together.

C x
Spewing Mummy, 26th September 2013

Hi Caitlin - I'd be happy to assist: contact details on their way!
Liam Faulkner, 26th September 2013

As somebody married to a hyperemesis sufferer (my wife is now at 22 weeks and still feeling sick at times) I can't congratulate you enough for your well-written blogs on the condition, and what people around can - and can't - do to help. Like most people we weren't really aware of what HG is or how debilitating it can be, and even after it being recognised by a consultant and my wife being admitted (for the first of six times to date) to be given IV fluid, we had to hunt around to find out information on what HG was, and how to cope with it. The sad truth is that there is scant information on the subject - well that's not entirely true because there is plenty of clinical information on what HG is, but little of any actual use when you're trying to struggle through it day-by-day.

This was particularly infuriating for me, because I (I'm a project manager by trade) like to have a plan on what to do, and have options open to me when things go wrong, but there's nothing worst when than being a partner to somebody who is clearly suffering and you want to help, but no help seems to exist. I did everything I could do to help my wife through the really bad times (thankfully the worst is behind us now) but there were time when I felt totally helpless and I didn't know what to do. All I could do to feel useful was to take as much pressure off her as possible

In the end we came to an agreement: if I felt that we were losing the fight and my wife needed some kind of medical help than I would make that decision. One of the things we realised the GP (or when she was in hospital) would do was check her ketone level, so I popped down to our GP surgery and asked if I could have a ketone testing kit. A presciption (and hunting around several pharmacists) later we had one. It seems obvious now, but having that to hand really helped in making that decision that it was time to call the doctor.

I also had to explain the situation with my boss who was incredibly understanding - and that really helped. They said that my wife came first: I was not to worry if I had to hang around for the GP or if I had to take her into hospital: we'd sort out all the leave at a later date and they turned a blind-eye to my slightly longer lunch-breaks (I go home - and still do - every lunchtime to check on my wife which is tricky to do in an hour when it's a 16 miles round-trip). I appreciate that not every employer would be like this, but I'd recommend to any partner of a woman suffering from HG to talk to their boss and explain the situation.


Liam Faulkner, 26th September 2013

Hi, I just wanted to say how useful this website is and how much I wish I'd found it a couple of months back when I was suffering badly (thankfully I'm at a point where I am being sick much less frequently and am coping much better). Number one on your list where you say 'believe her' really struck a chord with me. One thing I found a lot (other than people recommending bloody ginger!), was people not understanding the seriousness of it and making comments such as 'I had morning sickness and I didn't use it as an excuse to stay off work', or the one that really peed me off 'My friend is pregnant and has just run a half marathon. She's being sick, so if she can do that why can't you get out of bed?'
Anyway, keep up the good work :)
http://lemonadebudget.com/
lemonadebudget.com, 19th October 2013

Hi there, Thanks for your comment and I'm so glad to hear my blog is helping. People really do say the most ignorant things when faced with something they don't understand. Having HG has taught me a lot of things but probably top of the list is compassion, particularly for other conditions which I've never had and can barely imagine. People that make those sort of comments are generally luckily enough not to have suffered much of anything themselves and simply cannot imagine! I notice on your blog you mention a recent relapse - if you aren't already on one then consider discussing a strong antacid with your doctor like Omeprazole or Lanzoprozole. The relapse later in pregnancy is generally to do with acid reflux, even if you are unaware of other symptoms and one of those meds can really make a difference. Good luck with the rest of the pregnancy. xxx
Spewing Mummy, 19th October 2013

11Sep 13

What not to say to a woman with hyperemesis gravidarum

Whilst browsing facebook this morning in bed - moments after waking up as one does – I came across a blog post a friend had shared by Pregnant Chicken, about what NOT to say to a pregnant lady. It was hilarious and cheered me up from my “I have to get up now” blues. And I though I ought to expand on the theme. So in addition to the general pregnancy comment no-no's on Pregnant Chicken's blog here are the things not to say to a women with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (or just bad pregnancy sickness for that matter):
  1. “Have you tried ginger”... this has got to be the all time greatest thing NOT to say. Research, by a colleague of mine Margaret O'Hara, has found that all women with any level of pregnancy sickness know about the “taking ginger” remedy. What most people don't know (although plenty of veteran HG sufferers do) is that the only form of ginger which has found to be in any way helpful is as a capsule, 1000mg per day and then it is only helpful for mild queasiness. Ginger biscuits, ginger ale, ginger tea, ginger ice lolly's... it's all old wives tales. Do you really think a woman who is on powerful anti-emetics and IV fluids could really have avoided all that suffering if she had only tried a bit of ginger?
  2. “Oh I had that, but I still went to work and got on with life”. Well then you didn't have HG so shut up... like comparing a twisted ankle to a broken leg.
  3. “Think positively and get some fresh air”... By saying this it implies that it is all in her mind and she is causing her own suffering. It's a terribly cruel thing to say and a sure fired way to lose a friend and possibly get a fat lip.
  4. “Well at least you can get pregnant... you should be grateful for that”. We know and we are. Pointing it out just adds to the guilt the woman is already inevitably experiencing due to feeling negative towards the pregnancy and for “not feeling grateful”. It cuts deep and the pain lasts. Plenty of women with HG have even been through the pain of experiencing both and are pregnant thanks to IVF so the hurt for them is all the more.
  5. “I loved every moment of pregnancy, it's such a special time, creating life, glowing blah blah blah blah”. Well bully for you and thanks for rubbing my nose in my misery!
  6. “Is it safe to be taking those drugs? Won't they harm the baby?”. No woman actually wants to take medication in pregnancy. We all (well most) go into pregnancy wanting to be natural earth mothers, eating healthy and avoiding all potential harm but sadly some women can not survive pregnancy without medication. In the past, before the invention of modern medicine, women would simply die. Often without knowing why as symptoms would kill her before a pregnancy was confirmed or even suspected. Women with HG taking medication think dozens of times everyday about the safety of the medications, questioning if they really need them and if the baby will be okay but the reality is the drugs are prescribed by a doctor and given because they are NEEDED. They are ultimately much safer then not taking them. Further, the effects of severe dehydration, a baby bathed in ketones and a malnourished mum are hardly good. To add to her concern and worry and to make her feel like she needs to justify her condition is wrong and actually really inappropriate. If a pregnant woman was having an asthma attack would you question if the inhaler was safe? No you'd be pumping away worried that she may die without it! If you genuinely are concerned about the safety of the medications then do your own research via the PSS site and HER Foundation, don't question the sick person that barely has the strength to talk let alone argue!
And here are some things you can, and indeed should, say to a woman suffering with the extreme end of the pregnancy sickness spectrum:
  1. “How can I help? Would you like me to clean/cook/do some washing/take the kids out for a bit etc etc?” Try to be of practical help so she can rest.
  2. “How can I reduce your loneliness?” send a text as often as possible to let her know you are thinking of her and there for her. Offer to contact Pregnancy Sickness Support on her behalf to get a support volunteer for her.
  3. Defend her to others who may be saying the above... stick up for her, raise awareness that it's not her fault and she isn't doing it to herself. Don't just nod along to gossip about her taking medication or being lazy; be loyal to your friend.

 

Avoiding the first six comments and doing the last three will not only make the world of difference but it will strengthen a friendship and probably earn you a god parent role!  

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This is so helpful, thank you for writing it! As a morning sickness veteran I've heard it all! At one point I threatened to throw up on the next person who told me to take ginger! The "its a sign of healthy baby" thing drove me nuts too. After 9 solid months of morning sickness with my 1st (& v.unsympathetic health professionals telling me it was all in my head) i had a v.petit baby who had a quite a struggle to grow & thrive. I have had to be monitored v.closely through my subsequent pregnancies because of having a low BMI - as a result of my 1st pregnancy. Grrr! Rant over, thank you for this piece I've shared on fb
Simone, 11th September 2013

Hi Simone, glad you enjoyed it and thanks for sharing it. Yes the comment about it being a good sign can be so mixed. On the one hand there is a slight correlation between increased sickness and reduced chance of miscarriage but that's not to say the actual baby is any healthier for it and if HG is untreated then it leads to significant increased risks of complications for the baby such as being small for dates. As someone who has had two miscarriages it also lead to further stress and emotional struggles as I was torn between not wanting HG but knowing that not having it meant I was likely to miscarriage... if you read my very early posts on this blog my story is documented there :( x
Spewing Mummy, 11th September 2013

Well said! I was so sick during both of my pregnancies and even the doctor was unsympathetic and made me feel awful for taking anti sickness tablets. My MW said being sick every few minutes of every day was 'normal and all part of pregnancy'. It's so hard to look past it when you're sitting with your head in the toilet bowl again. It does get better though and it will all be ok. Also they say sickness is a sign of a healthy baby growing well so that always made me cheer up a bit. Great post. Xx
talesofatwinmum, 11th September 2013

Thanks! Unfortunately I've heard most of the 6 "no-no's" from healthcare professionals as well as random strangers and so called "good friends".

Glad you enjoyed the post. x
Spewing Mummy, 11th September 2013

I still feel saddened by the lack of support and understanding I experienced when pregnant especially from so called friends. I think this and the trauma of HG were factors contributing to my post natal depression. Thankfully that is all in the past and I have my beautiful little one year daughter now who has made it all worthwhile.
Sadly I don't feel brave enough to go through it all again so my daughter will never have a sibling.
I found your blog and other blogs so very helpful during that dark time.

Melanie x
honeycat, 12th September 2013

Hi Melanie, I'm sorry to hear your experience was so bad but glad my blog helped. I'm glad too that you are now able to enjoy your daughter... it's what it's all about! If you ever change your mind in the future about trying again be sure to get in touch with Pregnancy Sickness Support for pre-emptive planning advice!

Caitlin x
Spewing Mummy, 16th September 2013

I'm reading this (after just giving birth to my HG baby 13 days ago) and giving it a mental round of applause! I've just discovered your blog, albeit, a little late for me! However it's great to see what you're doing - awareness of HG is not great and just knowing you're not alone is by far the best help for sufferers.
I've got a few posts on my own blog about my HG journey and I'm also planning to do a HG In Retrospect in the near future now that our little HG bundle has finally arrived. I'd love it if you stopped by for a nosey sometime if you get a chance.

http://www.amylorimer.com
Amy Lorimer, 26th November 2013

Hi Amy, Massive congratulations on little David :) Shame you didn't find my blog sooner and also the PSS Support Network, there are lots of volunteers in Scotland! Love your blog, particularly good photography! My other blog is www.adventuresofmumadean.com - I'm fairly new to photography but trying and enjoying learning. Let me know when your HG post is live and I'll spread the word via the PSS social media sites. x
Spewing Mummy, 27th November 2013

Thanks for your comment and sharing your experience. You are lucky to have had supportive doctors 18 years ago! things here are changing, slowly but surely and I started hearing a lot more positive stories compared to a couple of years ago. x
Spewing Mummy, 14th December 2013

I had HG with my daughter, who is now 18, judging by the comments I think I was quite lucky in that I had very supportive doctors and midwives, I managed to get to 6 weeks pregnant before I gave in and went into hospital (up till then I survived on chocolate buttons and frozen tip tops) but my gp would have had me on a drip far sooner. Its very easy to forget just how dangerous HG can be especially if you are made to feel like its 'normal' and you should just get on with it! I was incredibly poorly when I went into hospital, till it happened to me I'd never heard of it, so blogs like this are a godsend to people suffering - I thought I was the only one and at the time couldn't see an end to it, i just wanted it to end - regardless of how, would have been good to have read about others experiences. Keep up the good work!
Dechasjay, 14th December 2013

I have only just found this site. I suffered up to 20weeks pregnant but the was very sad to hear my baby had died. My HG wasn't taken seriously at all till I was over 16weeks! The doc and MW just kept telling me it would stop. I was in and out of hospital.. My mother Inlaw was my life saver! She was there for me almost every day. Cleaning my house, making meals for my hubby as I couldn't stand the smell of cooking! He has to change is man perfume, his breath used to make sick. My own mother used to make me sick. I had that awful taste in my mouth the whole time. It was just horrendous! Officially the worst pregnancy made worse by loosing my precious baby. I'm am so thankful to have found this site. I still want a baby more than ever now. A lot of my family think I'm crazy but I feel I have more energy to fight than I did in my first pregnancy. My praise goes to all you ladies who have suffered this awful illness!
Shell Atkin, 12th September 2015

Wish I had found your blog when I was pregnant! I definitely had hg and was hospitalized twice. It was awful, I Love to have another. But how my supposed to care for one child and be pregnant and throwing up all the time? Everyone keeps telling me that all pregnancies are different but I'm afraid I'm just gonna have HG again. This has definitely changed my life plan.
Cyndi, 13th December 2015

Thank you so much for writing this. I was pregnant with a HG baby five years ago, when I first went to the doctors about the sickness I was told that it was just normal morning sickness and was looked at like I was a silly little girl. It wasn't until quite a few weeks later when my urine was tested and I was off the scale with ketones and had lost two stone within 6 weeks that I was taken seriously and hospital admission was mentioned. I had my twelve week scan a couple of day after that appointment so I was booked for a review after. It was at the scan when we found out my precious little baby was incredibly poorly and would not survive. I was told I needed a termination or I would die along with my baby, that was the hardest week of my life and I still mourn and want my baby. Maybe it was the sickness which caused the babies problems, we will never know, but even five years after it comforts me to see that there is help and support, I wish I would have found you sooner!
Leanne , 15th January 2016

Spewing Mummy replies...

Dear Leanne, I'm so sorry to hear how much you suffered and to lose your baby too... it's just awful. Please feel reassured that it definitely wasn't anything you did or did not do in the 12 weeks before. There is lots of support and help for women with HG now and hopefully that will continue to grow over the coming year. Thanks for commenting. X

02Sep 13

Nine month of...

Despite Orla now being over 15 months old and just about walking and talking, my life is still filled with a constant and steady stream of HG. Not because I am suffering - thank goodness - or because I have any long term complications - double thank goodness – but because Pregnancy Sickness Support has grown almost exponentially and managing it consumes vast amounts of my time.

I am NOT complaining... I love it really. At times it seems too much and can be really draining but then I have to pinch myself to check it's all real – because it's AMAZING!

How much has been achieved and how many women we are now helping and supporting! The average week sees 14+ women getting support and being matched with one of our 110+ volunteers to help them get through the long and lonely months of bedbound misery.

This week we are holding a national conference for healthcare professionals in London where the latest research and treatment guidelines will be presented and discussed. It's so exciting that we will be meeting interested midwives and doctors from around the country, and in fact the world, to try to move things forward for sufferers.

But what is more incredible is the work of our dedicated volunteers. The start of August saw the launch of our first ever “Nine Months Of...” campaign. Our volunteers have a target of £9k to raise over the next nine months for PSS by doing individual challenges, which you can read about on the blog www.ninemonthsof.com

For my part, my “non-hg-persona” aka Muma Dean, is blogging recipes weekly for the next nine months. I know that may sound easy, and believe me compared to nine months of pregnancy it really really is. But when I already work around 40 hrs a week for PSS, have three small children, a farm, am doing an online course and planning a trip round the world, just remembering to take photos of my food is hard enough bearing in mind I have to actually cook it first! Anyway, My recipes appear on the blog every Wednesday and the idea is that if you like it and use it you may make a little donation to the cause, which you can do through my BT MyDonate page.


Please head over and check out the blog, our volunteers are all working so hard to promote the campaign and raise the desperately needed funds for the charity so we can continue to help women and educate the professionals.

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About Me

I am mother of three beautiful children and wife to a fantastic and supportive husband. I am a nurse, a farmer and a trustee for Pregnancy Sickness Support. I love working hard and spending time with my kids.

About this blog

Information and support for pregnancy sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum. Views are my own and do not represent those of any other organisation. Information provided here should not be a substitute for medical advice. My aim is to raise awareness and encourage sufferers to know they are not alone.

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