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Journey into the world of hyperemesis gravidarum...
12Jan 15

Lets talk about ginger

“Have you tried ginger” is a common suggestion received by sufferers of hyperemesis gravidarum from friends, colleagues, relatives and healthcare professionals, fact!

Now I'm going to be very careful here because I don't want to lead or skew responses, but... I want to explore how hearing the suggestion of ginger makes women feel and the mental impact it has, either positive or negative. I want to know if they find it helpful and comforting or if it has a negative impact and increases isolation.

If I get enough responses from this I will look to get it published in a healthcare journal but due to the self selected nature of my readership I will need a LOT of responses to make it credible. To take part you need to have been admitted to hospital at least once for hyperemesis gravidarum in the last ten years.

In the meantime I'll publish preliminary results on this blog so if you want to know when they are out then sign up using your email address in that little "subscribe" box on the right...

The survey will take around 5-10 mins depending on how much thinking you have to do and how much you have to say on the matter...


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HG survivor
Laura, 12th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

Hi Laura, Glad to hear you survived! Hope you like my blog :)

I feel like people suggest it with good intentions more often than not. Occasionally, I get the vibe they think I'm not trying hard enough or faking it, but I think it is generally suggested out of ignorance. It feels very isolating to have things like ginger suggested when medications are barely pulling me through, and the isolation is depressing. Depression on top of being incredibly ill is just a terrible combination - one that I would not wish on anyone.
Elizabeth Griffith, 12th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

Hi Elizabeth, you're absolutely right that people are just trying to be helpful and really don't mean harm by it. Personally I think that if they knew the harm it caused (especially healthcare professionals) they would definitely not suggest it... which I guess is the likely outcome of this survey. Thanks for taking part X

it didn't really phase me either way when people suggested it. I tried to eat a ginger biscuit a day but it made me sick so I made my own white chocolate muffins with ginger and because it was lighter it was the only thing I tended to eat for 26 weeks of my pregnancy. It didn't help the sickness and I still had over 6 hospital admissions but it was comforting to know that it was something I could eat without throwing it back up straight away.
Laura, 12th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

Hi Laura, thanks for the comment and it's great to hear from the other point of view... You're certainly a rarity in terms of it not bothering you... you're a stronger person than me LOL!

I can't take part in the survey as thankfully I never needed to be admitted to hospital, but in case it's of interest... I had a food aversion to ginger, so every time someone mentioned it, it made me feel very sick. Well intentioned but not at all helpful!
Marga, 12th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

Hi Marga, thanks for the comment and I'm sorry I had to make a cut off somewhere... I needed a measurable diagnosis for the results to be meaningful. I'll be doing more surveys in the coming year so please keep you eye out for ones you can take part in. x

At the beginning of my first HG pregnancy I would laugh about it when people suggested ginger as the ultimate cure all, but towards the end and into my second it started to bother me. I know it was always said with good intention but being asked after being admitted to the hospital AGAIN and seeing my body wasting away, it became a bit much to handle. If I meet other woman suffering I always tell them to try not to let the ginger comments bother them, but it’s hard. I do have to admit that towards the end of my first pregnancy I had cravings for gingerbread men (couldn’t be in any other shape) I think that it was subconscious healing… biting the head of a male to make me feel better. Probably could have been a sugar cookie in that shape and it would have helped just as much haha
Lorna, 12th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

Hi Lorna, You're right that it's hard not to let the comments bother you... as innocently as it's meant it's ultimately loaded with notions of "you can help yourself" "it's not that bad" "you should stick with natural stuff" "it's all in your head" etc etc. It's easy enough to brush off once or twice but after dozens and dozens of times it drags you down so much!

Hhhhmm the old have you tried ginger remark thankfully I didn't have to say a lot to those ginger dogooders as the beyond evil look they got shot said it all! That comment is the single most scream inducing comment someone can make to a hg suffer.
Dan, 12th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

Hi Dan, That's exactly what I'm hoping to prove... the problem is people who haven't suffered don't understand why the comment would be hurtful, they think they're just being nice and helpful!

If only people would begin to understand then when ur that sick with hg ur in hospital on iv and multiple anti sickness meds, its not only ginger u have tried but blooming everything! X
kathryn, 12th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

Hi Kathryn, indeed, if only... hopefully getting surveys like this published will start to make people realise!

Taking ginger was suggested by every single person I know well that's how I felt at the time. I was just so ill I couldn't even keep a tiny amount of water down, why did people think magic ginger would be the cure. Looking back I'm sure they only suggested it to be helpful but I wanted to scream at about the 20th person that suggested it 'do you really think I'm stupid enough not to have tried that' I felt completely unsupported by my midwife and doctor and it took me attending my doctors at least on four occasions and me sobbing before they took me seriously, I was always fobbed off with its just normal morning sickness. How can any doctor consider being bed ridden and being sick at least 20 times a day normal. My last and only pregnancy was in 2008 and my daughter was born in 2009. I would love to add another child to my family but I am to petrified to go through it all again. I definitely feel since Kate Middleton has had it has helped normal people recognise that this is a real illness not a made up one as people made me feel.. If I ever see another ginger biscuit it will be too soon
kirsty martinson, 13th January 2015

Spewing Mummy replies...

Hi Kirsty, You're right of course that they are just trying to be helpful but kind intention isn't a great excuse for cruel ignorance. I'm sorry you don't feel you can go through it again, have you read my book Hyperemesis Gravidarum - The Definitive Guide? it might give you the confidence you need or help you make a more informed decision either way. 

I'm glad that people think that the Duchess of Cambridge suffering has raised awareness... if she had to suffer at lease some wider good has come from it. But personally I think that almost as much harm as good has come from the media attention as it "confirmed" for many that it's over at 12 weeks and other women are reporting experiencing increased prejudice along the lines of "oh you just want to be like Kate"! X

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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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