Suffering from severe morning sickness? You are not alone

Six women talk about their experiences of Hyperemesis Gravidarum - from hospitalisation to anti-sickness medication - plus what worked for them

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While around 80% of pregnant women will feel nauseous during their pregnancy, some of you will feel so sick you won’t be able to get out of bed in the morning.

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When the waves of nausea and sickness are extreme, this is called Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). We know a lot more about it following the high profile HG experience of Kate Middleton while pregnant with both George and Charlotte. Plus other celebrities, such as Frankie Bridge (below) and Kirstie Allsopp, have spoken out about their experiences. 

But despite this, you’ll find some friends and family won’t fully understand just how bad it can be or that it’s not just a case of being unable to cope with morning sickness.

Here are some very real accounts from women who can assure you, you are not the only one feeling so awful. 

“I was in hospital for 5 days on a drip” – Karen Davis 

Mum-to-be Karen Davis suffered from morning sickness from week 5 of her pregnancy. She consulted a doctor but was told it was ‘normal’ and it wasn’t until her third visit to her GP, and the insistence of her partner, that she was sent to hospital for further tests.

“Once at hospital they admitted me straight away and told me that my ketone level had been very high (a sign of starvation) which didn’t surprise me as I had lost a stone already.

“I was in hospital for 5 days on a drip and a course of anti-emetics (drugs to control the nausea) administered mainly through injections in the bum (actually quite painful) and orally – even worse as it involved swallowing water! 

“I started feeling so much better by the end of my stay and would definitely recommend this route to anyone. Although hospital doesn’t seem like a good alternative to being at home, it was such a relief to let the drip do the work and have effective drugs that could control some of the nausea.”

Karen recommends

  • Eating every hour – a biscuit, a cracker or a piece of fruit
  • Drinking hot chocolate – make it with water so it contributes to your fluids
  • Having soup every day – water it down for even more hydration
  • Eating hot food – can be easier on the stomach than cold food
  • Eating watery fruit – grapefruit, melon, etc
  • Having more than a snack even when I was feeling really sick – have a sandwich or something high in carbs
  • Nibbling a biscuit before getting out of bed in the morning – and waiting 20 minutes before getting up
  • Trying acupuncture – this can really help some women

“Even moving my eyes made me feel ill” – Frankie Bridge, Singer from The Saturdays

The Saturdays singer Frankie Bridge has recently opened up about her battle with nausea and sickness.

“The condition kicked in at around 6 weeks and I was so ill they wanted to admit me to hospital. The only reason I didn’t go is I couldn’t bear the thought of the car journey. At one point I just lay on the floor because even moving my eyes made me feel ill.

“It then eased off  but it returns every so often. It’s controllable if I rest, eat little and often and take medication, and I can get on with life.”

“I had to give up my job” – Deblush

Mum-to-be Deblush couldn’t face leaving the house. “I stayed in bed a lot. I gave up my job because I couldn’t go into work. It got embarrassing walking down the street and being sick, and going into warm buildings made be sick. I went out as little as I possibly could to avoid the humiliation. I feel sorry for women who have to go to work and have no choice because I couldn’t have done it!”

Deblush recommends

  • Food – ginger biscuits 
  • Drink – a little tea at times
  • A bedside fan – to make sleeping easier
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“I was having weird mind reactions and insomnia”- Sam2390

Sam2390 had been suffering for 5 weeks when she spoke about what she had been experiencing so far.

I went straight to the doctors because I felt so bad straightaway and was given the anti-vomiting drug Buccastem. That didn’t work for me, so I was then given Metacloramide. That reacted badly with me and I was having weird mind reactions and insomnia, which is when I was at my lowest point.

“After an early scan the sonographer instructed me to go straight to a doctor that day due to how ill I looked. I got admitted to hospital that afternoon and I was put on a drip plus injected with anti-sickness medicine. Hooray, I felt almost normal for the first time in weeks. After 24 hours I was given Ondansetron plus Phenergan and sent on my way.

“I am still quite ill, can’t work and as soon as I get up I am sick but the medication allows me to keep some food down and sleep. I just have to sip and breathe through the intense nausea.” 

“I’ve been in hospital 7 times and lost nearly 3 stone” – Toni23x 

It’s been a difficult time for Toni23x. “I am 17 weeks. HG started at about 6 weeks for me. I’ve been in hospital 7 times on IV fluids and I have lost a crazy amount of weight – nearly 3 stone.” 

Toni23x recommends

Ketone sticks – You can get them from your local chemist. I think the one I bought was £6. My GP said as soon as it had 2+ get yourself up to the hospital. So I would definitely recommend that. Only you know your body and if you don’t feel right then sometimes you have to put your foot down and be heard.

“It was horrendous” – Coco80

Coco80 had 10 weeks of symptoms. “I am pregnant with my first child and had HG from week 7-16. It was horrendous. I lost so much weight and I was hospitalised. I can’t fault the treatment I received at the hospital or from my GP. I’ve heard some doctors are against giving anti-sickness medication but that wasn’t my experience. It’s a good job as it was enough of a struggle even with the tablets.”

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