H is for Hyperemesis Gravidarum
What is HG?
Hyperemesis Gravidarum (or HG) is every pregnant woman's worst nightmare. It's a bit like extreme vomiting, nausea, and weight loss and it's certainly more than a bit of morning sickness. Whilst most women experience some morning sickness in pregnancy, while HG is quite rare (some estimate 1 in 100 pregnanies). I know of a few pregnant women who have suffered through HG for their entire pregnancy.
What can I do if my pregnant friend has HG?
Part of the problem is others trying to be helpful and telling a Mumma to just eat ginger (let me tell you nothing repulsed me more than the smell of ginger when I was pregnant or dry biscuits for that matter). We need to start educating each other on HG and start being more empathetic and practical with our support (instead of offering solutions). So if you know someone suffering HG ask them what you can do to help. Acknowledge that you don't know exactly what they are going through but offer to provide practical assistance (assuming you know them well enough).
How do I know if it's HG or just morning sickness?
There are a few differences between the two. With morning sickness you sometimes have vomiting, with HG you get severe vomiting. Morning sickness generally settles down at about 12 weeks, whereas HG often continues (sometimes up until the moment of birth). HG often results in severe dehydration and you are unable to keep any food down (as opposed to morning sickness where you can usually keep some food down).
If you are thinking you may have HG there's a checklist you can download here that you can take to your care provider as well (Rhodes Index of Nausea, Vomiting and Retching).
Is there anything that will help cure HG?
If you think you are suffering from HG be sure to talk to your care provider. There are treatments available for the symptoms, though there's no known cure. You may be given medication (your care provider will work with you to balance possible side effects with benefits).
If the medication doesn't help, or you get dehydrated you may need to go to hospital for treatment (although this sounds scary, you will feel alot better just by not being dehydrated and not nauseous).
What can I do if my loved one is suffering with HG right now?
There is a great printable brochure you can download from the HELPHER website: http://www.helpher.org/downloads/hg-loved-one-brochure.pdf which can help you to help your loved one through this really difficult time.
If you want any further information on HG the HELPHER website is my go-to resource: http://www.helpher.org/
So, if you don't want to sit there wondering if you could have done things differently, if you want to learn what ALL your birth support options are, and how to take charge of your birth, let's talk.
Contact me to set up a complimentary Better Birth Chat for those women who are ready to get the birth they really want.