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Even retirees should know about morning sickness

October 2017

morning sickness

You can’t help but feel sorry for the Duchess of Cambridge. Now pregnant with her third child, she has the eyes of the world watching her every move – and she is suffering from severe morning sickness. The horrors of morning sickness are bad enough for any mother to be; sharing the problem with so many members of the public must be very very difficult.

If you are ever involved with grand children coming along, or friend’s children becoming pregnant, then it is worth knowing about severe morning sickness; or hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) as it is now called.

It was hardly mentioned when we were young...and when it was officially recognised by a sympathetic doctor, then there was no one standard for treatment. In some cases the drug thalidomide was recommended and its terrible consequences in causing birth deformities are now well known.

At our age, we can sometimes dismiss the problem as over-sensitivity among the younger generation, and suggest traditional remedies that were common in our youth such as perhaps nibbling a dry biscuit. But hyperemesis gravidarum is not simple morning sickness and these sorts of treatments simply won’t work.

Today the medical profession is far better equipped to deal with serious morning sickness.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a fairly rare but severe complication of early pregnancy. 

It can cause prolonged and severe nausea and vomiting, for some women they can be almost continually sick. This results of course in dehydration and it can also lead to ketosis. This is a serious condition causing a concentration of acidic chemicals in the blood and urine. It can also cause weight loss (eating properly is usually impossible for sufferers) plus is can cause low blood pressure resulting in dizziness.

There are some authorised medications now that can help, including anti-sickness drugs, vitamin B6 and B12 supplements and steroids. However, in many severe cases the mum to be has to be admitted to hospital for intravenous fluids to be administered, plus possibly additional medication. Giving these through a drip directly into a vein or muscle will ensure the body benefits rather than the patient simply throwing up any medication she has taken.

One area where grandparents and older friends can help is through knowledgeable support. For a start, hyperemesis gravidarum is unlikely to harm the developing baby if the mother is treated appropriately. However, depression can be a natural emotion and women suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum may be severely affected emotionally as well as physically. Nonstop vomiting can be physically exhausting. What should be a joyful time in a woman’s life has turned into a very difficult period, and here any sympathetic support can really help.

Generally hyperemesis will start diminishing after 15 to 20 weeks, so the last half of the pregnancy can be enjoyed.

But anyone suffering from this most unfortunate side effect of becoming pregnant, including of course the Duchess of Cambridge, needs as much support as we can give them.

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