Although it is fantastic news that The Duchess of Windsor is pregnant for the third time, it is a shame to see that the newspaper reports also state that, Princess Kate is experiencing Hyperemesis yet again. The fact that Kate can raise awareness of this condition that wasn’t taken seriously until just recently, can only be a good thing.
Hyper-emesis Gravidarum is something which not many people had heard, about until Princess Kate was pregnant with Prince George and suffered from it. The condition suddenly hit the headlines and people were aware of this condition, thank goodness for that! At last! Someone in the public eye is talking openly about this debilitating condition which affects only 1% of pregnant women in the UK. It’s completely debilitating and can lead to several complications within a pregnancy. Hopefully, the press will use their power and influence to pave the way to create more help, and support for women who suffer with this condition.
So what is Hyper-emesis Gravidarum? It is severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. There are many women who suffer from some degree of ‘morning sickness’ but Hyper-emesis is not just morning sickness, it is so severe that it is incredibly difficult for the expectant mother to carry out a normal day routine. The sickness is so extreme that it often leads to hospitalisation due to dehydration. It is actually the second most common cause of hospitalisation during pregnancy, and it can (although rarely) be deadly.
Hyperemesis doesn’t disappear after the first trimester either. It usually continues throughout the entire pregnancy, yet will vanish as soon as the baby is born.
One thing that is really difficult about dealing with this condition is that it is not very well known, therefore a lot of people might be quick to tell the patient to “get on with it, it’s only morning sickness.” When in fact there is no way that you can “get on with it”, when you are suffering with this condition. The fact that Princess Kate is making headlines with it can only be seen as a good thing; if more people become aware of this illness then there will be more understanding and better support.
Throughout my pregnancies I suffered with the condition, however, my midwife batted it away and told me it’s “just morning sickness love.” I had no idea I was actually experiencing something that should have been taken more seriously. I couldn’t keep more than 100 calories down each day, I also lost an incredible amount of weight. Because I didn’t know it was a condition, I had no help from medical staff and wasn’t aware that there are places to seek help.
Help can be provided medically in several ways. There are various anti-sickness medications that you can take, that are safe during pregnancy. Your GP will need to talk you through these and will suggest the best one for you. Whether you can keep these down in the first place is what the challenge is. Usually women report that they help stop the vomiting, but do not always stop the nausea. Other help you may get for Hyperemesis is if you have been incredibly sick you may need to be hydrated by IV fluids. Once you are hydrated the nausea isn’t as extreme.
As well as medical interventions, there are other support networks too. There are various online groups that support women experiencing this condition. These forums help women to share their experiences and feel less alone. Knowing other people are going through something similar is a huge help, as it is terribly isolating to be stuck in bed all day long with this hideous condition. One website is www.pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk/
The more that we know and accept that this is a real condition and not “just morning sickness”, the better. More awareness needs to be raised to help mothers-to-be through this difficult time. Princess Kate can hopefully not just raise awareness and understanding but also help to inspire women who, when they are enduring constant nausea, feel like every hour of the day lasts a month and can lead them to fear future pregnancies too.