Hyperemesis Is Not Just Morning Sickness

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

My babies.  My beautiful babies.  The babies that made me sick – absolutely, horribly, admitted to the hospital sick.

I’m lucky that the office I work in is very casual.  We have a TV that is often times on either the morning shows or CNN.  This morning, we happened to be tuned in to our usual morning fare – The View.  I like The View.  I don’t always what everyone has to say, but I respect that they are allowed to have opinions.

This morning I wanted to jump through the TV and yank Barbara Walters right out of her chair.

After announcing Kate Middleton’s pregnancy, she relayed the message from the Royal family about how overjoyed they all were, and that Kate was in the hospital being treated for Hyperemesis Gravidarum.  After stumbling over the words (who wouldn’t?) several times, and some comments from the other ladies behind the desk – and a nurse in the audience – Barbara came to the conclusion that Hyperemesis is just morning sickness and not really serious.

She couldn’t be further from the truth.

Normal morning sickness isn’t really any cause for alarm.  HG very well can be.

With HG, the vomiting and dehydration are so severe that toxins can build in the blood.  Electrolyte balances are shot, weight loss occurs – usually more than 10%.  In some cases, women can become so isolated, incapacitated by the condition, that they become depressed.  All of these things are dangerous to both mother and baby.

This is not something that goes away when you hit your second trimester.

In my first pregnancy, my HG lasted until I was about 25 weeks.  In my second pregnancy, about 22 weeks.  I wasn’t home free with either and experience random bouts of nausea through the remainder of my pregnancies.  I was hospitalized once with my daughter and twice with my son.  With my daughter, taking Zofran (an anti-nausea medication prescribed to chemotherapy patients) helped a bit, but caused other complications.  With my son, the Zofran pills did not work and I was put on a continuous Zofran pump (similar to an insulin pump a diabetic uses) and still got no relief.

Don’t write Hyperemesis off as morning sickness.  Don’t think you’re pregnant friend, sister or co-worker is exaggerating if she tells you she’s so sick, 24 hours a day, that she can’t function.  Instead, be a support system.  Be a student – learn about HG.  Be a teacher – share what you learn.  HG is serious business, but sadly not something that many people take seriously.

Change that.

The HER Foundation (Hyperemesis Education Research) is trying to.  They are a great resource for pregnant women and friends and family with a loved one suffering.

We need to figure out what causes HG or at least better ways to combat it.  Some many women miss all of the magic that comes along with a pregnancy being so sick they can’t function.

Do me a favor?  Share this with someone today.  Someone who you know has suffered, someone who has had wonderful pregnancies, or just your Facebook/Twitter friends.  Let’s raise awareness for Hyperemesis.

It’s so much more than morning sickness.

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7 Responses to Hyperemesis Is Not Just Morning Sickness

  1. I’m with you. I was floored that so much terrible information was being passed on about this. It’s not like this was breaking news that came over the wire and was reported immediately. There was plenty of time for them to look up a few facts.
    I had it with my daughter and even with Zofran, I needed several IVs for fluids and had it until about 34 weeks. ( I remember I had lost close to 20 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight by the time I was 20 weeks.) It was a nightmare.

    I’m so thankful I only had it with my second pregnancy. If it had be there with my first, I think never would have had a second child. It was just that awful. –Lisa

  2. Andrea says:

    Girl, holy crap. Obviously I had no idea you had this, nor did I even know what it was until Kate was declared as hospitalized, etc. I did do some reading up and wow. My guess is I have had friends and family who have had it but have been hospitalized, etc. and people just explain that as “being unable to keep anything down” or “needing IV fluids, etc.” but it’s really HG. I’m sorry you had this experience during your pregnancies. Hugs. And thanks for sharing. Because I can’t believe so many women have never even heard this name before.

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I too will share this as I have a couple of friends who have suffered terribly. It is NOT morning sickness!

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