“From weeks seven to about 14, 15 I was severely ill… I was sick constantly and I got very little help and the consultant that I was referred to originally wouldn’t even consider seeing me for an appointment. This was at about nine weeks. My mental health really deteriorated and I was seriously considering termination.”
Hyperemesis gravidarum, or extreme pregnancy-related sickness, hit the headlines when the Duchess of Cambridge was forced to announce each of her three pregnancies at an early stage because of the debilitating condition. Although the majority of pregnant women will suffer from some degree of nausea and/or vomiting during their pregnancy, this condition will often mean vomiting several times a day, with women losing significant weight.
Now researchers have found that hyperemesis gravidarum can exacerbate existing mental health issues and even lead to suicidal ideation. The research, published in the British Journal of Midwifery, found that there were no “positive” aspects to hyperemesis gravidarum, with sufferers reporting significant social isolation, depression, anxiety, and guilt.
Indeed, the researchers found that despite nausea being expected, and even welcomed, participants were surprised by how unpleasant it was.
The researchers included quotes from the women they interviewed in the article. Here are some striking examples:
‘As far as other women in the public and other people, they think it’s all in your head, and they don’t understand why you’re so sick. Because they weren’t sick, they think you’re just weak.’
‘I want my life back; I am dying; I felt really not alive. It’s like I really don’t exist anymore, and I am hyperemesis.’
Health professionals need to be aware of the effects this debilitating condition can have on women’s lives so that treatment can be planned holistically.
Did you suffer from morning sickness or even hyperemesis gravidarum during your pregnancy? How did you cope? Share your story HERE.