Severe pregnancy sickness charity launched
While 80% of pregnant women will experience regular morning sickness, 1-2% will experience severe pregnancy sickness, which may lead to them vomiting multiple times every day.
Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a debilitating condition which involves relentless and intense nausea, along with regular vomiting. This can lead to dehydration and complications such as malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies.
Treatment with anti-sickness medication is required and many of those affected may need IV fluids.
To help women in Ireland affected by this condition, a new charity has been launched. Hyperemesis Ireland has been established by the country's leading maternity experts, along with women who have been affected.
According to Caitlin Dean, who is the chairperson of UK Pregnancy Sickness Support, this is an exciting time for hyperemesis sufferers in Ireland. Ms Dean has been providing support to women here for several years and had a key role to play in establishing the Irish charity.
"Care and treatments are improving rapidly thanks to interested professionals and national guidelines. By creating a support network with volunteers across the country, the suffering of women affected by this awful condition will be drastically reduced. We have seen huge improvements in pregnancy outcomes thanks to our work in the UK and now women in Ireland will benefit from the same model of support we have found so successful," she explained.
Dr Aoife Ni Sheaghdha, a GP who suffered from HG, said that she was ‘delighted' to see this charity launched.
"HG can turn a joyful pregnancy into a battle for survival. Not surprisingly the constant nausea and multiple vomiting episodes can impact on a woman's health, both physically and mentally. HG can also be an isolating condition, so the telephone/peer support offered by the charity is much needed and appreciated," she commented.
Meanwhile, according to Rotunda Hospital pharmacist and trustee of Hyperemesis Ireland, Prof Brian Cleary, ‘it is fantastic that women will have access to a peer support network' through the charity.
"The impact of HG on a woman and her family can be extreme. Hyperemesis Ireland will help raise awareness and advocate for women to ensure that they receive the best possible care and support. In 15 years working in the Irish maternity services, I have seen first-hand the severe impact of HG and the drastic need for access to support and information on safe and effective treatment options," he said.
Affected women will be able to access valuable information about HG on the Hyperemesis Ireland website, including treatments and coping strategies.
The charity is also hoping to reduce the social isolation and misery the condition can cause by matching women who have been through it with women currently affected.
Karina Fee (37) from Dublin suffered with HG from five weeks into her pregnancy until her son was born almost nine months ago.
She said that she could not function properly during her pregnancy and had to go on maternity leave when she was only six months pregnant.
"I suffered so badly with HG I'm not actually sure if I could go through it again. If I knew for sure I wouldn't be sick I would have hoped to be pregnant already with baby number two," she explained.
Meanwhile, Claire Mac Loughlin (36) who is from Galway but now lives in Dublin, suffered from HG during her three pregnancies, however it was worst during her third pregnancy with her son, who is now two years old.
"I suffered worse between eight and 16 weeks, when I was sick up to 50 times per day. While the sickness eased, I continued to suffer throughout. I couldn't work and had to start maternity leave at 24 weeks pregnant. HG severely impacted on my ability to lead a normal life during all of my pregnancies," she noted.
For more information on HG and the new charity, Hyperemesis Ireland, click here. The charity is also on Twitter at @HyperemesisEire and on Facebook here
Hyperemesis Ireland relies solely on donations and does not accept funding from any drug companies.
[Posted: Mon 15/05/2017]