Hyperemesis – Please don’t call it morning sickness

Hyperemesis is awful and debilitating. I retched and heaved,  stomach acid painfully burning my nose and throat for what felt like the millionth time that day. The room was spinning and my head was throbbing from the dehydration that was slowly consuming my body. I didn’t even have the energy to wipe my mouth or lift my head from the toilet bowl after hours/days of being sick. I could barely see, tears silently rolling down my face willing and praying for the agony to be over. I’m not religious but believe me I prayed. Silently and desperately, begging for this torture to end. I was readmitted to hospital later that day for the sweet relief of a fiendishly strong concoction of anti-emetic medicine and bag after bag of rehydration fluids. It only ever lasted a few hours though. Once I was sent home, the horrendously familiar nausea would start to creep over me and the retching would begin once again.

I was diagnosed with a condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) and I have never felt so ill in my life. I suffered acutely with it for the first 26 weeks of my pregnancy and although it didn’t feel like it at the time, I was one of the lucky ones. The doctors were able to get my Hyperemesis under some sort of control and for the remainder of my pregnancy I only threw up a handful of times a day instead of dozens. Some women suffer with Hyperemesis for their entire pregnancy. The thought of which makes me die a little inside.

Hyperemesis is a lonely, isolating condition and seriously misunderstood. However, the nature of Hyperemesis is that it is episodic, so in the rare hours that I felt well enough to hold my head up and read, I feverishly scoured the web for miracle cures (there are none) and sought solace in internet forums full of other women who were suffering the same nightmare. So why are people not talking about this more openly? There are many women suffering and being treated for Hyperemesis and yet time and time again I heard of women saying they had been told to “just get on with it” as though it was a possibility to carry on with your normal life. Other misguided comments I had said to me or about me included:

“She just has morning sickness!”

“Oh I know just how you feel, I felt sick for the whole of my first trimester. I wasn’t actually sick though.”

“Have you tried ginger biscuits?”

“You need to eat a little something when you first wake up in the morning. You’re probably just hungry.”

All things that I had said to me, or about me, during my pregnancy. People mean well I’m sure but at the time I just wanted to yell in their face. It felt like nobody understood. Whilst I agree that any level of sickness or nausea is unpleasant, Hyperemesis takes it to a whole new level. If you suffer with Hyperemesis then you cannot keep food nor fluid down and you can quickly become dehydrated, weak and confused. It requires immediate medical attention and is not something you can “just live with.”

So please if you hear of someone with Hyperemesis don’t dismiss this as “morning sickness” because that in no way sums up this debilitating condition. If you are an employer and one of your employees is suffering with Hyperemesis, then there is a brilliant resource over at the Pregnancy Sickness Support website that will explain to you what is going on and how to support them. This is a great website that really helped me through a tough time.

Are you suffering with Hyperemesis? If so the little advice I can give you from my own experience is to:

  • Get medical help as early as possible – there are medicines that can help control the vomiting but the earlier you take them, the more chance they have of working. Don’t wait until you are seriously dehydrated to get help.
  • Have a look at the vitamins you are taking – for me, the iron content in them made me feel even worse and I had to stop taking them altogether (not that I could keep them down anyway).
  • Rest rest rest – even if you suddenly have a better day. HG comes in waves and one of my major triggers was being over tired. Get family and friends to help out as much as possible. If you have young children then just do whatever you can to get through the day. It won’t hurt if Cbeebies is their new best friend for a while.
  • Eat whatever you can when you feel up to it and don’t worry about if it’s healthy or not. It doesn’t matter so long as you are getting something in you. I literally survived off nibbling ready salted crisps for weeks.

I now have a beautiful, healthy baby girl and the end result is definitely worth it I promise. You can get through it with support from family / friends and the right treatment from your doctor.

Let me know your experiences with Hyperemesis in the comment box below. I’d love to hear from you




Pink Pear Bear

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  1. Mother Under Measure
    March 4, 2016 / 09:54

    Oh my word I had it for the first 17, I spent the whole time crying, wondering how I could possibly keep my child when I didn’t have the strength to stand up from the bathroom floor, I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything, I lost so much weight, the acid in my mouth caused me toothache… It was awful. It’s definitely not morning sickness, it’s all day every day and the impact it has on your life is huge. I’m terrified for my next child in case I get it again… 🙁
    Thank for sharing your experiences xxx

    • March 4, 2016 / 11:23

      It’s horrible, hard for others to understand if they haven’t experienced it. Thanks for commenting X

  2. March 4, 2016 / 10:46

    Poor you – 26 weeks – that’s awful! I couldn’t take prenatal vitamins either as they made me sick – but not to that extent. Well done you for surviving it!

    • March 4, 2016 / 11:23

      Thank you for visiting the blog! Mums are tough cookies aren’t we x

  3. March 5, 2016 / 06:59

    I massively feel for you. In my first pregnancy I was so lucky and only had nausea, in this one I was throwing up every day until 16 weeks and I felt absolutely rotten but I know that’s not a patch on having HG. Good on you for helping to raise more awareness of what must be a truly awful experience xx

    • March 5, 2016 / 07:25

      Any kind of nausea is awful – pregnancy is tricky isn’t it! Thanks for commenting X

  4. March 5, 2016 / 07:19

    I had Morning sickness almost all the way through my pregnancy. I was a bit sick in the morning and then at night. It made me feel like shite. I can only try to imagine how you felt with Hyperemesis. It sounds absolutely awful in all honesty. xx

  5. March 5, 2016 / 14:06

    I can’t imagine how hard it must be to suffer with HG. Pregnancy can be so exhausting as it is, but this just sounds horrendous x

  6. March 5, 2016 / 14:14

    Wow that sounds awful.. i actually got away with having no ‘ sickness’ at all with both mine. tanks for sharing I’ve definitely never head of it before. x

  7. March 5, 2016 / 22:37

    I had ALL DAY sickness during my last pregnancy and it bugged me so much when people said ‘morning sickness’. Thankfully I wasn’t hospitalized or anything. I managed to keep myself hydrated somehow. So I feel for you, 26 weeks is a long time. I had it for about 12/16. Thankfully skipped it this pregnancy too!!

  8. March 10, 2016 / 14:54

    Ohhhhh, YES YES AND A BIT MORE YES to this. Brilliant, fabulous, wonderful post. HG is such a terrible thing to suffer through, one I was lucky enough to be spared, but we really need to work together to change this attitude that it is “a bit of sickness” it isn’t – it’s potentially life threatening (to more than one life) and very serious. I love this post, great job! H x

  9. Katie
    March 10, 2016 / 15:51

    Sorry to hear you had the dreaded HG to. I had it for my entire second pregnancy until after my baby was born and I still get sick at certain times of the month. HG is a serious condition that not only affects you physically but also mentally. HG shows you peoples true colours and I lost a lot of friends whilst suffering, people I thought I was close too.
    Even on medication that reduces the vomiting you experience horrendous side effects that are almost as bad as the vomiting and you are made to feel like the devil for taking it. Women dont have a choice but to!

    I am glad my HG journey is done and I have two amazing little boys and the family I always dreamed i would

    • March 10, 2016 / 16:17

      Oh god I’d forgotten about the side effects – think I’ve blocked out half of the experience it was so traumatic! Thanks for reading – sorry to hear this happened to you too Hun, it’s worth it in the end but my god it’s a brutal way of having babies x

  10. Jess Bishop
    March 10, 2016 / 16:12

    I was unlucky enough to have HG in both my pregnancies, up to 30 weeks with the first and from the moment i found out i was pregnant with my second, to the day I gave birth. I was admitted to hospital for fluids and anti-sickness drugs several times. I then took tablets to help control it for the rest of the pregnancy. My daughter was 2 at this time and waybuloo became her new best friend (even now 3 years after having my son I have to switch it off as it brings back memories of that awful time) I really don’t know how I got through it, I had all the same comments, ginger helps, have something to eat before you get out of bed and so on, but nothing works! And it really isn’t just morning sickness-I would not wish HG on my worst enemy. I have never felt so ill for so long in my life. The day I gave birth to my son, it vanished over night, just like that. I would like another baby but the possibility of HG holds me back, I am terrified of going through it again even though I know how to control it better. Anyone suffering with this right now, you have my love and sympathies, it won’t feel like it now, but once you are holding your baby in your arms, it will be worth it. Great job on the post! X

    • March 10, 2016 / 16:18

      It’s putting me off from having a third baby too. I just don’t think j could cope again. Thank you for commenting it’s nice to hear from other survivors X

  11. Littlewizz
    March 10, 2016 / 16:20

    So very true… I had HG with both mine… took me fours years from the first to want another! I was so sick… if I walked anywhere, in the car, the bath, on the bed, couldn’t look at a computer or TV. Drs would patch me up and then it would return hours later. At 12 weeks with my first my GP said your nearly at three months to just get on with it and as it was just morning sickness and perfectly normal. I was sick until 28 weeks and I had to fight to keep the tablets. It wasn’t the happy healthy exciting time I had imagined. With my second at 9 weeks I had just got a really bad episode under control (no keeping it a secret as I was sick from 5 weeks) and I caught a tummy bug off my son. It was awful I was so ill, I just didn’t want to be pregnant anymore. Thankfully I carried on and now have a son (8.5) and a daughter (4) and I’m done! I couldn’t face doing it again. I still get panic feelings if I get sick now as it brings it all back. My second was easier than the first as I had researched what help there was before getting pregnant again I was still sick to 26 weeks but not as bad with the right help. My advice would be to stick to your guns and push for help. Morning Sickness is a whole different ball game to HG. Thinking of anyone going through it now.

    • March 10, 2016 / 16:25

      True I’ve heard of lots of doctors refusing the medication – they seem to be ill informed some of them as to what this condition is and how it needs early treatment. Sorry you’ve gone through this – thanks for commenting X

  12. Lucy
    March 10, 2016 / 16:22

    I wishe people would understand, especially employers. I am a teacher and not currently at work as suffering HG a second time, I can just imagine what the parents are saying. 🙁
    First time i was sick 30+ times a day and also had to go into hospital for fluids. All I did was stay in bed, I couldn’t lol at my phone, tv, a book or even roll over without being sick. This lasted until 27 weeks when it eased to me being sick every couple of days but the nausea never quite left. I felt robbed of every stage of pregnancy, I couldn’t shop excitedly for newborn things or bask in the attention of people seeing my growing bump. Every midwife appointment was a pain and every scan a chore as it meant having to get out of bed and get dressed and get into a car. This would wipe me out and mean i would have 2 very bad days while my body recovered from the upheaval. Wishing the weeks away and begging for a c section to whoever would listen the second I knew there was a chance my son would survive!
    This time I started pills as soon as I found out and although I have very bad days (and that’s what they are, days, not months) and am yet again off work, I am no where near as bad as i was. Minus 2 very bad weeks where I couldn’t move I am now only sick approx 3/4 times a week. (I’m currently 16 weeks)
    HG has left its mark from first pregnancy though, certain songs make me feel sick and I still get heart palpitations, get clammy and hot when I step foot into the school hall at work as the smell reminds me of my darkest days and trying to carry on thinking it was normal. Don’t even get me started on the smell of sausages. I had even gone off the smell of my partner through first pregnancy!
    It really does annoy me that I feel people think I’m making it up but one look at the burst blood vessels on my face perhaps they will think a little.
    What keeps me going is that it is worth it in the end. I have a little tougHGuy and I’m am HG survivor twice over! Us HG suffers are bloomin tough!
    The second my son popped out i never felt better!
    Hang on in there HG women!

    • March 10, 2016 / 16:28

      So sorry to hear you’re going through this again – you are one tough mama and I have so much respect for you! You’re so right about the smells, I can’t use/ smell so many things as they remind me of my HG time. Weirdly I can’t even watch Location Location Location anymore because it played in the background right through my worst sick weeks X

    • March 17, 2016 / 08:50

      God this sounds so similar to my HG pregnancy Lucy!!! Everything from loathing the smell of my husband and not being able to shop for baby, to begging for a section as, by the third trimester, I couldn’t believe we hadn’t died yet. And -ugh – trying to get up & dressed & survive GP, antenatal & prescription runs. Absolute hell for days afterwards.

      My little one is nearly one and seeing a non-HG pregnant person makes me feel nauseous, and so many other mixed feelings still. You are SO brave to face it again and have made it to 16 weeks.

      Thinking of you xxx

    March 10, 2016 / 16:29

    The opposite mistake gets me, too – Just yesterday I ventured to take my little boy to the children’s centre for the first time since the vomiting started nearly 6 months ago, and even now that I’m well into the 3rd trimester (and this is my best pregnancy yet!) just getting there was a big undertaking that I knew I would have to pay for later. While I was there, I overheard another expectant mother complaining about how she had had really bad Hyperemesis from weeks 6 to 8, and had thrown up almost every day. I couldn’t make any reply, and I still can’t even describe how it made me feel to hear someone toss the word around casually in the same conversation as talking about buying maternity clothes for work and what magazines have good pregnancy recipes, when I felt like I had just emerged from a battle with something that really felt like it was going to kill me.

    • March 10, 2016 / 16:54

      Yes I hate it when people say they know just how you feel when they haven’t even thrown up! So sorry you’ve had such a rotten time – you’re nearly there now and it’s so worth it. Good luck for the rest of your pregnancy Hun x

  14. March 10, 2016 / 18:08

    It’s lovely to hear from all of you strong ladies and to know I wasn’t alone. It’s such a difficult thing to cope with and I agree I think it leaves mental scars. I didn’t know the medication could have an effect on babies teeth nobody ever told me what could happen so yes the guilt is awful on top of what you are going through. It does seem to run in families unfortunately for our daughters but maybe, just maybe all medical professionals will be better informed and able to care for them properly when that day comes if we all keep raising awareness. Thank you for visiting my blog X

  15. Alex
    March 10, 2016 / 18:40

    Thank you so much for sharing your hg experience. It really does help knowing you are not alone. Thats one of the things i found very hard while suffering HG. The isolation!
    I have always wanted a large family but now my little baby boy will have to be enough.
    I had HG until literally the moment his head popped out. And then it felt like someone had lifted a hot wet duvet off of me.
    I couldn’t believe the difference.
    Mine was so bad they would have induced me early if I hadn’t gone into labour a few days before my induction date. I spent more time in hospital than at home.
    It was one of the worst experiences of my life. Vomiting over 20 times on a good day.
    My teeth are ruined and I had tears in my oesophagus.
    Any mums who read this please please take the advice. Get help early. There is no need to suffer in silence.

    • March 10, 2016 / 19:06

      So sorry to hear you suffered like this my dear. It truly is a terrible, terrible illness. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Please share on your social media if you wouldn’t mind x

  16. March 10, 2016 / 20:30

    Posts like this are really important as I can imagine people dismissing HG for morning sickness. I don’t know much about it (sorry to say I’m one of the lucky ones who isn’t sick in pregnancy) so this has been really informative and I would be close to punching anyone who told me it was just morning sickness if I had it! Xx

  17. Catherine
    March 10, 2016 / 22:22

    Thank you for sharing your story, I thought I had it bad with my first pregnancy with bad morning sickness. I threw up daily for the whole nine months but was able to keep down fluids and didn’t need IVs or meds. But my second was a whole different level of hell. I started vomiting at 5 weeks and continued through the whole pregnancy, in all the photos from my sons birth you can see my fiancé holding my sick bag. I don’t know how many trips to hospital I had starting from 7 weeks and was on medication right up to the birth even though my dr kept trying to wean me off it. 4 months on and I’m still struggling with constant nausea and vomiting a few times a week and no one can find a reason why. One of the hardest things I found was trying to get people to understand that a “good day” didn’t mean I felt well it meant I’d only thrown up half a dozen times. I was lucky to find a great online support group and that’s the only thing that got me through. I had always planned to have three children but I just don’t know if I can go through it again and it’s make so sad that HG is determining my family planning

    • March 11, 2016 / 03:25

      Oh Hun you poor thing! I think so many of us feel robbed of the family we really wanted because of this horrible illness and I’m so sorry to hear that you are still feeling sick like that. The online support forums are really what got me through those really bad 6 months or so – it’s good that the support is there. It’s the reason I wanted to share my story, I knew that there was a possibility it might make a HG sufferer feel less alone if they were searching the web like I did. Thank you for sharing your story and for reading the blog. Please share if you wouldn’t mind X

  18. Barbara
    March 11, 2016 / 10:30

    I still feel like crying when I think of it! My pregnancies were both the same, exactly like you describe it here, and my HG lasted for about the same time as yours.
    I really tried to be strong, specially with the second one because I had a demanding 2-year-old girl that needed me, but it was so hard, I felt like I failed, I felt weak, I felt not good enough… so many times my LO came to me wanting to read a book together and I had to shake my head no ’cause I couldn’t even open my mouth without retching. I used to lay down in the bathtub and cry every single night, hoping and begging for that torture to end.
    Some people just don’t understand…
    Thanks for sharing X

    • March 11, 2016 / 15:29

      Your comment made me well up! Why are we all so hard on ourselves? We need to support women going through this awful time and let them know there is light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for reading xx

  19. April 4, 2016 / 15:53

    This sounds like a very exhausting illness and I feel for you. While I didn’t suffer much morning sickness much at all with either of my pregnancies, I know that every woman is different and her pregnancy experience is different so for those who are judging you without understanding that this isn’t the typical morning sickness that you are suffering from is just plain ignorance on their part. I’m sorry you are going through this and I do hope you are getting the support you need, whether it’s from online forums or people in your life. #bigpinklink

  20. April 6, 2016 / 15:16

    Oh my goodness, this sounds just so horrendous. I must say that I can’t even begin to imagine what you must’ve gone through, as I was lucky enough to not have any sickness at all during either of my pregnancies. But it sounds like it drained every physical and mental strength you had. I didn’t realise that it was still very much understood, and that very little treatment was available. This post will be a great support for anyone going through the same thing, as it must really drive you to the edge.
    Thanks so much for raising awareness of this condition, and for sharing with #bigpinklink.

    • Fi
      April 7, 2016 / 10:44

      It is a total nightmare. Thanks for reading xx

  21. April 28, 2016 / 15:22

    really feel for anyone having gone thru this. i have a phobia of vomiting so it was a huge worry for me.
    thanks for sharing experiences x

  22. Tia
    January 19, 2018 / 11:49

    I’m going through this right now 🙁 I already had cyclical vomiting syndrome so it was pretty much inevitable I was going to get it. From 5 weeks I was already dehydrated and I didn’t even know I was pregnant, thought it was just a really bad vomiting episode!
    I was already taking all 5 anti emetics (prochlorperazine, cyclizine, metoclopromide, promethazine & ondansetron) so continued these but unfortunately are no help now. I’ve just been prescribed steroids after a really long battle with the doctors, telling me it will go away despite me being in hospital 5 times in a week.
    However, after speaking to pregnancy sickness support I now know they should have started the steroids IV in hospital before discharging me which explains why, after two days of taking them, the steroids aren’t improving things.
    Very very tired of battling with doctors and telling them how to do their job.
    Then, alongside this, I get the “have a couple of crackers, I had morning sickness too when I was pregnant and working”. NOPE. Let me make it clear, I cannot work, I have been bed bound for the entire pregnancy and I only get worse, if I can’t keep tablets or water down, what makes you think “a couple of crackers” will help?
    It’s NOT morning sickness, it’s not occasional, it’s constant.
    Thank you for this post, I’m bookmarking it and sharing it with those closest to try to help them understand the differences. X

    • Fi
      January 19, 2018 / 12:20

      I can literally feel your pain reading this and I’m so so sorry that the doctors and support staff are making what is already a frankly horrendous time, worse. I always want to offer solutions to people who come to me with these stories but I just don’t have anything. The lack of education on what is quite frankly, not that rare an issue, amongst doctors is shocking. Sending so much sympathy, not that that’s any consolation at all right now when you’re in the grip of it. If I can do anything then just DM me on social media and I will try my best to help. Sending lots of love and strength. Keep taking it one day at a time – you are stronger than you know xxx

  23. Holly
    March 2, 2018 / 11:11

    Hi all I am suffering with HG now for 22 weeks finding it very difficult to keep strong. I am no longer vomiting as much just a couple of times but constant tiredness, headaches crying a lot!! Don’t know how I’m Gona make it to the end forgot what feeling normal feels like. You are all tremendous women and send you all big hugs for making it through. Takecare luv holz xxx

  24. Miriam krubally
    March 2, 2020 / 23:35

    I’ve had HG my whole first pregnancy. I am currently 26 weeks with my second and still going through it badly but it’s a lot better in this pregnancy because I can control it more. HG makes me hate pregnancy soooooooooooo much I have to keep reminding myself that something’s precious will come out of this. I’ve been sick and admitted into the hospital more than 10 times already with 2/3 day stays to rehydrate and vomit like no tomorrow. I wish others would stop telling me it’ll get better, or they understand what I’m going through when they haven’t even had an inch of the same struggle. Thank you for sharing big your story to those who can relate.

    • Fi
      March 4, 2020 / 17:14

      I’m so sorry you are dealing with this. It is absolutely the worst thing ever. I wish with all my heart I could offer you some advice to ease symptoms but there just isn’t any is there 🙁 I’m glad to hear that at least you are keeping it under some sort of control. The only thing I can recommend is speaking with other women who have gone through it so you know you aren’t completely alone. It will pass love and it will be worth it but I know that you know that. Hang on in there xx

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