Rebecca Welton tells us how she suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) during both of her pregnancies and how she lost two stone as a result of dehydration and constant nausea.
There is no conclusive research about why some women suffer from HG but about 2% of pregnant women are diagnosed with it.
A few weeks into my first pregnancy, I started to feel nauseous, which I thought was perfectly normal. But by six weeks, I started vomiting; twice a day at first, but then twice an hour. I tried everything, from anti-sickness bands to eating ginger.
Nothing helped and I quickly became dehydrated. My doctor diagnosed me with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), which means excessive vomiting in pregnancy.
I was sent to hospital, where anti-sickness injections and a saline drip rehydrated me, and meant I could keep food and water down. After a couple of days I was back home. I went into a cycle of feeling nauseous, but able to keep down biscuits and ice-lollies, then the vomiting would start again and I would end up back in hospital.
A few days later I’d be home again and the cycle would start over. As movement seemed to make it worse, I spent my days only going from my bed to the bathroom and back again.
I quickly lost two stone in weight. I stopped working for nearly six months. I didn’t see friends and family, and felt miserable. The only respite I had from the constant nausea was sleeping.
John, my husband, was amazing: he fetched food whenever I felt I could keep something down, and encouraged me to eat even when I didn’t. Most importantly, he held my hand, stroked my hair, and told me I would get through this.
By seven months, the nausea had eased off and by the time Alexandra was born, I was bubbling with excitement (see picture left).
Tips for dealing with HG
When I got pregnant for the second time, I dreaded the prospect of going through HG again.
John was my saviour and his words became my mantra – that we would get through this together.
When I started feeling nauseous the doctors immediately put me on anti-sickness pills. I still had the all-consuming, constant nausea, but I didn’t have the dangerous vomiting this time.
Once again, I spent the first few months in bed – any movement made me sick, but I kept out of hospital.
It has been quite a journey and, while I can’t say I enjoyed my pregnancies, as I watch my children laugh and play, I know it was all worth it.