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November 16, 2023 4 min read

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Today on the journal we will chat with Soph, one of our beautiful Luvme customers, who experienced Hyperemesis Gravidarum during her first pregnancy. There is a lot of misunderstanding around what hyperemesis is and what it looks like. 

So what is it exactly?

Hyperemesis, also called HG, is a  pregnancy complication  that is characterized by severe  nausea,  vomiting,  weight loss, and often  dehydration. It’s so much deeper than just the physical; the mental and emotional ramifications are significant. We know this might be a sensitive topic for any mamas who have experienced it or are currently going through it so please take care if you find this triggering. Let’s get into your HG story, Soph.  

Can you share a bit of your journey with hyperemesis?  

I found out that I was pregnant just before four weeks. Exactly ten days later at five weeks the vomiting started. I was vomiting nonstop.

Having HG was very isolating and extremely anxiety inducing. It caused so much fear and was hard to see what the future looked like.  

I gave birth my little girl, Norah, and felt every piece of anxiety and fear dissipate. I felt created for this role as a mum. I love being Norah’s mum and am so thankful. The scars of going through HG are still there and it’s the hardest thing I’ve been through.  

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How did having hyperemesis affect how you felt about pregnancy?  

With the nonstop vomiting and daily trips to the doctor, it was exhausting and just so challenging. To be fully transparent and authentic, even though I’m a Christian and would never choose termination personally, I remember a specific moment when I understood why women make this choice. HG is so horrific, and it really makes you want to die...or do anything to stop the pain. It’s so traumatising, all the feelings both physical and emotional, and I have so much empathy for women going through this.  

Did you find anything that helped you on your hyperemesis journey?  

Having an incredible doctor who understood and recognised the seriousness of HG. Instead of having to go into the hospital each day, my doctor allowed me to get my IV fluids at her clinic every day. This saved so much stress and time and I’m so thankful. We worked out which medication worked best, and eventually found what worked best for me.  

IV fluids were so helpful when I couldn’t keep anything down; hydration is key with easing HG symptoms. I would love one day to start a charity where mums with HG could get at care at home, specifically that a nurse that would come and administer fluids so the mum could rest at home. Just the movement of sitting a car made me feel so sick so having access in home care would be so helpful.  

Do you feel anxious about future pregnancies after suffering with HG?  

There is a pretty high guarantee that I will have it next time, but I will be more prepared next time around. I will have meals ready and medication to help ease the vomiting. There is still an element of anxiety  

What practical things can loved ones do to help a mum going through HG?  

Just let them rest, without a sense of guilt. The anxiety side of things gets so much worse if you feel guilty for the amount of resting you have to do to survive.  

Don’t ask a mum with HG what they want to eat. Sometimes even just the thought of food can cause waves of nausea and vomiting. If she makes a suggestion of what she might like to eat, just go with it.  

Be mindful of smells, they can be so triggering. I was so sensitive so avoiding strong smelling sprays etc helped me.  

Honestly, at the end of the day there isn’t that much you can do besides helping where you can and being empathetic.  

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What would your advice be to mums facing hyperemesis?  

Recognise the mental impact of HG, it’s not just the physical implications. The anxiety is so real, and it feels like it will last forever. You’re stuck in the vicious cycle, and it can easily spiral into a dark place. At the worst of it, I was at the point where I couldn’t even open my eyes and there was no distraction and just no break from it all. Realising that your mental health might come under attack is important.  

Be honest with those around you that you are struggling. Even when the HG passes, realising that you might still struggle is key. After it was all over, I had severe anxiety because my body was so run down because I probably didn’t realise the full impact HG had on me with my mental health. My nervous system was shot and I just went into survival mode. Be gracious to yourself and remind yourself that HG is not just a physical illness, but one that affects your mental health too. Be honest about with others about how you need help.  

 Photography by @lightlayne

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