Hyperemesis gravidarum

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This is one of the puzzling complications of pregnancy that can cause otherwise staunchly pro-life women consider abortion. Ashli is an expert on H.G. - having acquired her expertise the very hard way. A friend of my daughter's contacted me years ago for info on the subject - here is the article that he ultimately wrote. Lots of good background information but no real help in understanding the emotional and psychological impact.
I tend to be pretty aggressive at treating nausea and vomiting of early pregnancy. That is because I would like to break the cycle before it can turn into H.G. I use a lot of different therapies. My practice has been blessed that we haven't had a really serious case for a couple of years (and we care for around 240 pregnant women a year). The last really bad one we ended up hospitalizing for a while and putting in a nas0gastric feeding tube - because, paradoxically, the best therapy for this is to have food in the gut.
One thing that is sometimes overlooked is that there can be other reasons for a person to be pukey besides H.G. - and those other causes should be investigated. Infection with h.pylori (the ulcer bug) or giardia can also cause the same symptoms - and intestinal obstruction (a rare complication after abdominal surgeries, including cesareans) needs to be ruled out.
I just learned that one of my regular blog readers is suffering horribly from H.G. - please throw out a prayer for her when you can.
And also pray for her husband and other children, too - because they also suffer when mom is that sick.


Mama-Lu had it for pregnancy #1. It was downright scary. There was absolutely nothing she could keep down on a regular basis. Smells did it too: I had to stop wearing cologne, making coffee in the morning and kissing her goodbye when I went to work or else she would lose it.

Your comment about pro-life women considering abortion due to H.G. is interesting. Jenny would often comment that she didn't know how she could do it if she were alone. Not only did taking care of her become my full time job (our honeymoon ended pretty quickly), but her mother came in for a few days to help as well. So many times we talked about how scary something like that would be without support.

I know this is anecdotal (and the article you linked seems to refute this), but Jenny and I have really been interested in how much stress is involved with all of this. When we first got married, Jenny was working at a very emotionally stressful job. She's convinced (and I agree) that that stress made it worse. I'm not saying it's a psychological condition, but couldn't severe stress can be an exacerbating factor?

Also, I find it interesting that the linked article partially defines H.G. by whether or not the mother is hospitalized. When Jenny was sick and called in, the doctor didn't want to see her. She was given a prescription (over the phone) for Phenergan. According to the linked article, it's not really known whether the drug could have harmed the baby. Hopefully they learned more about Phenergran between the time of that article and when we got pregnant (Sept. 2003), because we were assured it was A-OK.

Whew, this got long.

Completely off topic: I'm typing this from the single-post archive page, and at the top of the page, where I can choose to go to the previous post, homepage or next post, the next post is actually the first of your blog.

I found I had to become aggressive in advocating for myself during my second pregnancy. The doctor kept suggesting this and that, giving me vitamins, etc. Nothing was working.

Finally I told him that I needed him to sign disability papers for me and just let me sit. Which is what he did. So I would sit all day long. If I moved, I vomited, so I didn't move if I didn't have to.

With the subsequent pregnancies I've gotten prescription anti-emetics early and have taken them PRN with much success.

But with my second pregnancy I was very concerned. I just couldn't keep anything down, and I was working in a nursing home which suddenly smelled overwhelming. I'd walk by the kitchen in the mornings and head straight for the bathroom!

Thank you so much for remembering me, alicia.

Yes, I have HG, and I have to admit that somewhere deep down, during the very worst week when I lost 10 lbs in 4 days and couldn't even stand the smell of toothpaste, that the Tempter whispered to me about ending it, aborting.

Thank you, God, for Your Church and her laws. I knew to the bottom of my brain that abortion is murder and an excommunicatable offence. And that knowledge was all that fought off the Lier. That, and having read Ashli's story.

A good confession afterwards and the Eucharist helped enormously (once I could keep food down!)

You can't rely on your motherly instincts when you're starving to death, I've learned. You need the facts.

I'm on some good meds now, and resting as much as I can. Stopped losing weight.

Please, readers, if you know any woman who seems uncommonly morning sick, send her or her partner to www.helpher.org -- the Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation. The ladies at that web site saved my life.

Thanks again, Alicia. And please continue those prayers, especially for my two darling sons and husband. And the little peanut. ;-)

This Anne is also pregnant and having horrible sickness. I'm doing the B6 and P9 acupressure and trying to keep crackers down. With 2 babies, (this is #5) I lost 10 and 15 pounds respectively.

Any links or ideas warmly appreciated.

Please, go to www.helpher.org

It sounds like you may possibly be experiencing HG.

You need support, and you may need medications and/or hydration.

You DON'T need to suffer -- especially alone.

Hugs and prayers to you, Anne! St. Gianna Molla also suffered from this condition -- I will pray she takes you under her protective and loving arm.

As for me -- feeling almost normal, thanks to Zofran. Hooray for the million-dollar drug, ridiculous price notwithstanding.

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on March 11, 2006 4:44 PM.

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