I can talk to you first-hand about this debilitating condition after having it for the guts of 7 months with my second son. That was 16 years ago but I remember it as if it was yesterday because it traumatised me so much.
For me it started really early on in the pregnancy, before I even did a pregnancy test ! But as time went on, it just got worse and worse. I found it impossible to keep anything down, not even water. I could barely walk up the stairs with the lack of energy. Everything was a huge struggle because I had no fuel in my body to keep me going. What I never knew was, that morning, or should I say, “all day” sickness could be so bad. It was like having a bad tummy bug for 7 months. Even doing my shop online initiated a bout of nausea when I was on the meat aisle 🤣🤣. What was also very difficult was my inability to plan anything in advance because I just didn’t know if it was going to be an okay day, or a bad day. Also, I didn’t feel great in the car. The slightest bump in the road could initiate that dreadful feeling.
The one fear I had at this time, was for the life of my unborn baby. The experts tell you about all the nutrients and good foods you need to be taking in to support this new life inside you. The guilt and fear I felt for not being able to keep anything down, was huge and also for the fact that I had not been taking Folic Acid or any multi-vitamin beforehand, as this little baby had not been planned. However, thankfully the growing baby got everything it needed from my body. My fat, my calcium and everything else it needed !
I persevered with this bad morning sickness until my first visit with my Consultant in the Coombe at 12 weeks. I told him how sick I was and and was prescribed an anti-nausea tablet which you melt under your tongue. It did work a bit but like all pregnant ladies, I was a bit fearful about taking medication during the pregnancy, so I only took it when I was really bad and couldn’t get out of bed.
At 20 weeks, I went to the GP to ask when this sickness was ever going to stop. For most women it stops at around 12 weeks but for 1% of ladies, it is ongoing. At this stage they took me in to the Coombe. They kept me on a drip for days in a bid to rehydrate me and get my ketones down. It was a blessed relief.
I did go on to have a very healthy baby boy who weighed 7lb 2oz at 38 weeks so not bad going for someone who couldn’t eat !!
So, How Did I Get Through It ?
- Well, I lived off Complan which is a supplement drink. I tried to sip it to get some goodness in to me.
- My arms were decorated with seabands which I felt helped me a great deal. They work by applying continuous pressure on the acupressure point (Nei-Kuan Point) on the wrist which reduces the nausea. You buy them in the chemist and they can be washed.
- Loads of people advised ginger tea, but I don’t think it helped me any, but it might help you.
- I accepted all the help I could get, especially with having a 6 month old baby too. Rest is very important.
- Medication from the doctor. Nowadays, Cariban seems to be the medication of choice.
- Try eating small amounts more regularly. Sometimes eating can also settle the nausea a bit, especially on days when you feel slightly better.
- If you are struggling to keep water down, try sucking on an ice pop or a piece of watermelon.
Hyperemisis Gravidarum – The facts
- 70%-80% of women will get morning sickness but only 1% of women are affected by this severe form of morning sickness.
- It can be caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy.
- If your mother or sister suffered from it, you could suffer from it too.
- A lack of B6 in the body can make symptoms worse. I have to say, when they put me on the B vitamin drip in the hospital, I felt great for about a week !
When Should You Get Help ?
- If you can’t keep fluids down
- If your urine is dark in colour
- If you are losing weight
- If you feel faint
- If you haven’t passed urine for 8 hours
- Pain on urinating
- Blood in urine
- If you’re vomiting blood
What Can I do to Help You ?
A couple of treatments that may help you at this time is Pregnancy Reflexology. This treatment is very relaxing and will give you an hour out to just rest. It will also very gently help to balance the endocrine system giving some relief to the nausea.
I also do Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping) to help relieve the symptoms of nausea and the stress that goes with this debilitating condition.
Who Do You Contact For Help ?
- First port of call is your GP who can do a urine test to check for dehydration and arrange appropriate action.
- Your obstetrician, if you have one.
- Contact the Emergency Department at the Rotunda Hospital Dublin on 1800 522 687
- Contact the National Maternity Hospital on 01 6373100
- Contact University Maternity Hospital Limerick on +353 (0) 61 234850
- Contact Cork University Maternity Hospital (021) 492 0500
- Visit www.hyperemesis.ie