Hyperemesis Gravidarum is the name given to severe vomiting during pregnancy. So severe in fact, that it can cause women to become dehydrated and lose weight.
I suffered from HG during both of my pregnancies, each time not believing that I would be able to get through it. It’s hard to admit, but there were also times when I regretted my situation as this illness can be so debilitating.
When you have HG it is almost as if time stands still, you cant go back but you don’t know how to move forward – knowing how to get out of bed would be a start.
Drawing from my own personal experiences with the condition, here are a few things you need to know:
- Hyperemesis Gravidarum is not just morning sickness. HG is far worse. Not only are you feeling sick but you are constantly being sick. Hanging your head over the toilet for the thirtieth time in less than twenty four hours, feeling faint and dizzy, being in a constant state of exhaustion and feeling like your head is going to explode is extreme. Don’t get me wrong, sickness of any kind is not pleasant and I feel for anyone with morning sickness. HG however, is on another level and it is not to be taken lightly.
- Dry crackers are not going to cut it. You can eat crackers until your mouth feels like the bottom of a bird cage, you will still feel sick and be sick. I lost count of the amount of times crackers were pushed under my nose, only to be thrown back no more than thirty seconds later. My advice is eat what you can when you can. Even if that happens to be a couple of chocolate biscuits, or a double cheese burger. You’re probably going to throw it back up anyway, so you may as well enjoy the bits you do get to eat! A few calories are better than none so it’s always worth a shot.
- ‘Stick your ginger where the sun doesn’t shine’ (shamefully, these are my words!). This one does again relate to food, but it deserves its own point! I used to love ginger – cake, biscuits, gingerbread men – you name it. In my early days of HG before I was medicated my friends, family and even my GP told me ginger would do the trick. It did NOTHING! Now I can’t stand the stuff, I am nearly six months post-partum and the thought of ginger still makes me feel nauseous. I know you’re trying to be helpful, really I do – but f**k off with your ginger!
- Don’t let anyone tell you ‘you just have to get through it’. Seven weeks into my first pregnancy I literally could not stop being sick. Water, food and sips of energy drink all came back up to say ‘Hi’. Medical professionals hadn’t taken my condition seriously enough. One particular consultant said ‘I don’t care about sickness, everyone gets that’. Funnily enough this was a MALE consultant. Therefore it wasn’t long until I was admitted into hospital, suffering from dehydration. I spent a night on IV fluids and anti-emetics, surrounded by people who understood that I was ill. I left hospital the next day with a package of medication, that would see me through the next few months. To this day I cannot thank these people enough – they made my first pregnancy less traumatic and more bearable than I could ever have imagined.
- It’s OK to medicate. I know that medication during pregnancy is a very personal choice, it’s certainly not for everyone. If this is something you are open to though and you are advised only by your Doctor, it is OK. It can mean a less traumatic pregnancy, you will most probably be able to eat bits and function day to day. I’m not saying they are miracle drugs, you’re still going to feel like s**t – but being able to get out of bed makes HG life a bit more bearable.
- Accept help. This is not always easy, but accepting help takes the pressure off. If the house wants cleaning or the children need looking after call in some favours, lean on those around you. It won’t be forever but HG is a serious condition, there is no shame in accepting help whilst you are not at your best.
- You will get through it. It doesn’t seem like it now but it will pass. By the end of this horrific journey you will have a squidgy little munchkin, and it will all have been worth it. You won’t look back on those days fondly. There are people out there to guide you if you need help coming to terms with your experience. Just know that one day it will be over, you are strong enough to get there. Just take each minute as it comes!
It turns out that HG doesn’t discriminate, here are a few celebrity sufferers :
- The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton had HG during both of her pregnancies.
- The Saturdays singer, Frankie Bridge suffered during her second pregnancy.
- Property guru Kirstie Allsopp has been a sufferer.
- Nineteenth century English novelist Charlotte Bronte. Charlotte Bronte was thought to have died from the condition, around four months into her first pregnancy.