Hyperemesis Gravidarum is excessive nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and I’ve first-hand experience of it as I suffered with the condition during each of my pregnancies, as did my mother and maternal grandmother before me. There is a tendency for the condition to run in families.
The causes of HG are believed to be linked to the changing hormones in the body during pregnancy and symptoms are often worse in multiple pregnancy. It is estimated that HG effect 1 in 100 women but many cases go unreported.
The good news is that you are less likely to miscarry if you suffer with HG but of higher risk of premature birth. [Ferri’s Climical Advisor 2013 (1st ed.) Elsevier Mosby].
It can be extremely debilitating with symptoms including, according to the NHS website:
Symptoms of Hyperemesis Gravidarum
“HG is much worse than the normal nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (“morning sickness”).Signs and symptoms of HG include:
- prolonged and severe nausea and vomiting – some women report being sick up to 50 times a day
- dehydration – not having enough fluids in your body because you can’t keep drinks down; if you’re drinking less than 500ml a day, you need to seek help
- ketosis – a serious condition that results in the build-up of acidic chemicals in the blood and urine; ketones are produced when your body breaks down fat, rather than glucose, for energy
- weight loss
- low blood pressure (hypotension) when standing
Unlike regular pregnancy sickness, HG may not get better by 14 weeks. It may not clear up completely until the baby is born, although some symptoms may improve at around 20 weeks. See your GP or midwife if you have severe nausea and vomiting, ideally before you start suffering from dehydration and weight loss.
There are other conditions that can cause nausea and vomiting, and your doctor will need to rule these out first.
See the healthtalk.org website for videos and written interviews of women talking about their experiences of hyperemesis gravidarum and how they coped.”
– source: www.nhs.org.uk
What worked for me:
Homoeopathic treatment tailored specifically to my needs which varied with each pregnancy.
Listening to my body and resting when I needed to.
Yoga meditation, relaxation, breathing techniques, mudra, mantra and certain restorative yoga postures.
I consulted my midwife, doctor and hospital when symptoms were extreme, in the early days of pregnancy (up to 20 weeks) and did receive treatment in hospital for dehydration, where intravenous fluids were given directly into a vein through a drip. There are other treatments available too these include anti-sickness (anti-emetic) drugs, vitamins (B6 and B12) and steroids, or combinations of these.
Always carrying a ‘sick-bag’ with me and knowing the location of all the public loos in a certain area was useful.
Carrying a blanket and pillow in my car as sometimes I just needed to lie down and rest.
Miraculously I managed to continue working throughout my pregnancies thanks to very understanding employers and latterly being self-employed helped.
The support of friends/family to help take care of me and other children when needed.
How you might feel:
“The nausea and vomiting of HG can have a huge impact on your life at a time when you were expecting to be enjoying pregnancy and looking forward to the birth of your baby.
It can affect you both emotionally and physically. The symptoms not only make your life a misery, but may lead to further health complications, such as depression or tears in your oesophagus.
Severe sickness can be exhausting and stop you doing everyday tasks, such as going to work or even getting out of bed.
In addition to feeling very unwell and tired, you might also feel:
- anxious about going out or being too far from home in case you need to vomit
- isolated because you don’t know anyone who understands what it’s like to have HG
- confused as to why this is happening to you
- unsure whether you can cope with the rest of the pregnancy if you continue to feel very ill
If you feel any of these, don’t keep it to yourself. Talk to your midwife or doctor, and explain the impact HG is having on your life and how it is making you feel. You could also talk to your partner, family and friends if you want to.
The UK teratology information service has a website called bumps (best use of medicines in pregnancy) where you can find out about the safety of specific medicines in pregnancy.
The charity Pregnancy Sickness Support has information and tips on coping with nausea and vomiting, including HG.”
– source: www.nhs.org.uk
The Good News:
HG symptoms usually disappear or ease around the 20 week stage of pregnancy but sometimes last throughout.
I survived HG and I’m confident you can too with the right treatment, coping strategies and support.
The symptoms will stop eventually and the reward is well worth it – Your Baby/Babies!
Homoeopathy worked for me and as a Professional Homoeopath I can offer treatment, that’s safe for you and your baby that may help to ease your HG symptoms.
I’ve a variety of Yoga classes, including specific Yoga for Pregnancy courses and Birth Preparation classes.
I’d love to hear your HG coping mechanisms and stories.
Take care if you are currently experiencing HG symptoms as you are not alone and there’s lots of help available.
Geri – November 2018