Miss Ellamay’s Mum Talks About Hyperemesis
Kelly Fitzsimons, mum to Miss Ellamay – the mini fashionista, speaks out about Hyperemisis (severe morning sickness) that led to 26 hospital admissions before going into labour…
What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?
Hyperemesis is a complication of pregnancy in which women experience extreme levels of nausea and vomiting. Unlike regular pregnancy sickness which affects around 70-80% of pregnant women to some degree and is considered a normal, if unpleasant, part of pregnancy, hyperemesis is not normal and can be potentially life threatening without adequate treatment.
Around 1 in 100-150 pregnant women will be admitted to hospital due to the dehydration and malnutrition that hyperemesis can cause. Many more women will need time of work due to nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. Living with severe levels of nausea and/or vomiting for any length of time can have a profoundly negative impact on a person’s health and well-being.
In the past, hyperemesis gravidarum was sometimes thought to be a psychosomatic illness and women were often accused of mentally rejecting their baby. Thankfully this has been completely disproved and it is well established to be a biological condition although its causes have yet to be fully understood. Unfortunately there is a persistent stigma around sickness in pregnancy and a common belief that medication should not be used in pregnancy. Again, this is not true and leads to a significant amount of suffering when treatment for severe symptoms is refused. Many treatments are safe, even in early pregnancy and there are guidelines doctors can follow for prescribing them.
Hyperemesis can be an incredibly lonely condition as many women are housebound for months and often feel misunderstood or not believed. Hyperemesis Ireland has established a network of volunteers across the country who can provide support and comfort to women suffering. The network is made up of women who know first hand how it feels and can help with information about coping strategies and advocacy.