Pregnancy is supposed to be an amazing, wonderful and joyful experience – or at least that’s what movies would have you believe. However, this is simply not the case for many women.
For me, the reason I didn’t enjoy pregnancy was called Hyperemesis Gravidarum or ‘HG’. It is a condition that affects about 1% of pregnant women. Awareness has increased in recent years as both the Duchess of Cambridge and Amy Schumer have suffered with HG. Amy Schumer has spoken openly about how horrible the condition is, both on her social media and in her new Netflix show Growing – likening it to having constant food poisoning for months.
What Is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?
Even still, most people have never heard of HG and think that it is ‘just morning sickness’. I read an article once where a doctor said that comparing HG to morning sickness, is like telling someone who broke their arm in 3 places that they hit their funny bone.
HG is referred to as a ‘complication of pregnancy’ and is characterised by severe nausea and vomiting often leading to severe dehydration and sometimes dramatic weight loss. The exact cause is not known. However in 2018, a study discovered two genes associated with the condition, which has led sufferers to hope a treatment might be available for their own daughters, if not themselves.
A family history was always considered a ‘risk factor’ even before the 2018 study and for me that rang true as my own mother had suffered with HG too. Having it once puts you at higher risk of suffering in subsequent pregnancies, but there are always exceptions to the rule. I personally know someone who suffered very badly on her first and didn’t on her second (and before you ask, both children were the same sex).
My First Hyperemesis Pregnancy
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Issue 31 - Summer 2019