Better care needed for those suffering extreme morning sickness, charities say

Some expectant mothers suffering from extreme morning sickness are being denied effective treatment and compassionate care, charities have said


The British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Pregnancy Sickness Support said some women with the condition feel they are left with no choice but to terminate their pregnancies.

Severe morning sickness, also known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) - which the Duchess of Cambridge suffered during both her pregnancies - is thought to affect about one in 100 expectant mothers.

Many are sick multiple times a day and are unable to keep any food or drink down. Some women with the condition report being sick up to 50 times a day.

It may require hospital treatment.

But new research conducted on 394 women suffering from the condition found that only 34% felt they were given accurate information to make informed decisions about medications and treatment.

Some women reported being given false information about the risks of drugs such as ondansetron.

Guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists state that: "There is evidence that ondansetron is safe and effective, but because data are limited it should be used as second-line therapy."

But one women told researchers: "I was told ondansetron would give me a deformed baby and I would regret it by a nurse in a day unit."

Another said: "I was told [ondansetron] was the strongest drug which isn't true and made to believe when it didn't work that nothing else could be done, I terminated my baby because of this and now spiralled into depression."

Half of women said they found accessing treatment difficult because they were often not believed when presenting to their doctor or midwife.

Meanwhile, 25% of women felt they were not treated with dignity and respect.

"I was told to go home and deal with it like everyone else and that hospital wasn't a 'hotel'," one said.

Another added: "I asked to speak to the doctor about changing medication as the cyclizine wasn't working for me and I couldn't function enough to look after my other two children.

"She actually told me that she wasn't there to 'sort out my social life' and that if I couldn't look after my children she would refer me to social service. I was dumbstruck and horrified."

The charities have called for better investment for day units supporting women with the condition.

Caitlin Dean, chairwoman of Pregnancy Sickness Support and lead researcher, said: "It is vital that service development benefits patients and provides satisfaction. It is encouraging that women are satisfied with treatment in HG Day Units as they are certainly cost effective.

"However it is important that whatever setting women receive treatment they are treated with dignity and respect, that their symptoms are acknowledged and believed and that the information they receive is accurate and evidence-based."

Clare Murphy, director of external affairs at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, added: "We can and must do more to ensure that women are given all the information they need to make their own decisions about the medication and treatments which may enable them to continue a much wanted pregnancy.

"Healthcare professionals must trust women - if a woman says she is ill and unable to cope - she should be believed and supported, not dismissed."

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  • Guest
    Colin Todd Thursday, 02 March 2017

    Extreme morning sickness

    There is no such thing as "extreme morning sickness " in pregnant women. Hyperenisis Gravatarum , otherwise know as HG is a debilitating illness that can affect approximity 1 in 80 pregnant women. So much so some women opt for an abortion to rid themselves of those debilitating symotors. It is a genetic illness.
    Throughout my ex partners pregnancy, HG had caused her to be bed bound 80% of her pregnancy, hospitalised 5 times to get I V FLUIDS due to be sick up to 50 times a day. She could barely keep any food down surviving on toast busuits and nothing else. The hospital continued to suggest an old wife's tale to eat ginger and drink plenty of lemonade!
    If it wasn't for her being an ex intensive care nurse and demanding for the appropriate treatment and medication she would have been unable to cope. At one point she considered having an abortion but we opted against it as it is unethical. If it wasn't for an organisation called Pregnancy Sickness Support who matched her up with a local befriended to support her, then we wouldn't have a beautiful 3 year old boy today.
    My ex now supports HG sufferers online to help them through their journey.

  • Guest
    Dave Friday, 03 March 2017

    Early treatment before Hyperemesis Gravidarum

    Many are saying that HG may be avoided by early treatment of NVP. HG can be life threatening as in the case of (@starrandrews) whose experience and now tips and advice are invaluable.

    There are many many support groups such as @HGmoms and @HGSupportUK for example - and I truly feel for those who suffer at any level.

    There is a great deal of controversy over when to use antiemetic drugs, who with and how long for etc as the long term results are still being uncovered. If early treatment may help some - perhaps more should be looking at drug free - yet proven products like the Nevasic app? It clearly isn't an option for the medical fraternity in love with and wedded to pharma solutions - but it just may help a significant number avoid reaching the HG status.

    The research data from an NHS run study showed an over 90% success rate in reducing and or eliminating NVP and I would consider it possible that one or two in that study could feasibly have progressed to HG levels had the symptoms not been brought under control.

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