Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is often misdiagnosed as common morning sickness that may be a little severe. This can be very distressing for women experiencing hyperemesis as effective treatment may be delayed, and sufferers can feel like they are not coping as well as they should.
If your pregnancy sickness is affecting your everyday life, you should seek medical advice and support. HG should be diagnosed early if the vomiting is so severe that there is an inability to eat and drink normally and the sickness strongly limits daily activities. It can be difficult to be sure if you are suffering with Hyperemesis through lab tests or urine tests as it is possible to have hyperemesis but occasionally tolerate light diet and fluids at certain times of day. This can appear that the sickness is not an issue as your test may show you are not dehydrated when tested.
For sufferers of Hyperemesis, there can be a severe impact on mental health, nutrition, relationships, work, and even their bonding with baby during pregnancy. Family members and partners can feel helpless and therefore begin to avoid discussing how they can offer support. If hyperemesis is not tackled promptly and effectively, the condition can worsen rapidly and a cycle of admissions to hospital for rehydration can begin to take over the pregnancy. The most common reason for pregnancy hospital admissions is a result of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Furthermore, women have reported having trauma from the severe pregnancy sickness and even reconsider having more children to avoid pregnancy. However, support is getting better, and charities such as ‘Pregnancy Sickness Support’ offer materials and advice to women and health professionals on how to manage HG. Accessing support and advice can aid women and families experiencing HG to advocate for themselves if their care provider is not offering effective treatment plans or claims that it is better to ‘put up with it’. There are first line anti-sickness medications that are licensed as safe for pregnancy and further medications now evidenced to be effective. Women are often fearful of taking medication during pregnancy, and this is understandable. However, it can be detrimental to physical and mental health to try to cope without medication. There are complementary therapies that will help with low mood and coping, and can be effective for nausea, but this should be used alongside medical treatment.
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