A true story about one woman’s experience with Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Approximately 10-20K women are affected by Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) (excessive nausea and vomiting) during their pregnancy each year in the UK. Yet it remains a topic that is relatively unexplored even with today’s medicines. In honour of International Hyperemesis Awareness Day, we share the real life story of Lauren, about her experience with HG.
Lauren’s Story of Hyperemesis Gravidarum
When I found out I was expecting my first child I was overwhelmed with joy, excitement and love. I found out at the 5/6 week point and spent the first few days in my very own bubble of excitement. I couldn’t wait to meet my baby and be a mum for the first time.
As I approached week 7, I quickly became very poorly and began vomiting quite a lot. I was assured that it was a normal pregnancy symptom and nothing to worry about. So, I tried to carry on as normal but day-to-day I was struggling. Why was I not able to cope with what I was told was a normal pregnancy symptom? Was I overreacting?
As the days went on I became more and more sick. I soon became unable to tolerate food and soon after this I was unable to even keep sips of water down. The vomiting was a nightmare. I was sick around 30+ times a day. Sometimes more. Desperate for help, I contacted my GP who told me to try ginger biscuits… (FYI GINGER doesn’t help Hyperemesis!!! I cannot emphasise this enough). After speaking with my doctor I just assumed I must have been dramatic, so instead I put on a brave face and tried to suck it up.
Another few days passed and my family became really worried about me. Between weeks 8-9 I had lost a lot of weight and could barely lift my head off the pillow. My mum took me to the early pregnancy unit where I was admitted and rehydrated with IV fluids. It was here that I first heard the mention of the condition Hyperemesis Gravidarum, and I was so relieved that I wasn’t just going mad. There was actually a problem. It felt amazing to finally be listened to. I was sent home the following day with a box of medication that took the edge off the vomiting, but not completely. I still couldn’t manage any food or any strenuous activities but I was starting to keep fluids down.
I can’t explain the feelings I felt during this time. I felt scared, alone, like I wasn’t normal; I couldn’t understand why it was happening to me; I felt I couldn’t enjoy my pregnancy and was so jealous of every other “normal” pregnant person who was able to get out of bed. The sickness continued and I was managed with medication throughout the pregnancy. I was very lucky to be supported by a team of midwives who helped me to manage my medication and would alter it accordingly when needed. I feel that without this support network I would have really struggled.
During this time I realised the need for awareness for the condition as I hope that no one feels the way I did or is badly managed when already struggling to cope. I found hope in support groups within social media forums and the pregnancy sickness support team who are a great source of information and support for women with Hyperemesis.
My advice to anyone suffering would be to seek support and advocate for yourself and your needs, find the strength within you to push for what you need. It’s okay if all you manage to do in a day is purely survive. That’s all that is required. Don’t push yourself to do anything that is too much, even if you don’t manage to shower or brush your hair. You will get through it, by any means necessary. If I can do it – then so can you. ❤️ – Lauren x
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