I must admit I'm not much good at keeping up with the news of the Duchess of Cambridge, mainly because I don't have a TV and I actively avoid news, magazines and so on (weird I know!). Having said that I am aware that she has managed to get out and about, been on holiday and is restarting official work soon... people just love telling me what she has been up to (weird I know!). I am so thrilled for her that she is not still debilitated by Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) and I hope so much that she is managing to enjoy the wonder and beauty of pregnancy... something I never managed to achieve during the total 27 months I've been pregnant for.
Luckily, a lot of women, including the Duchess it seems, do recover from HG in the second trimester and go on to have happy and healthy pregnancies. But sadly many women do not and HG can last for the entire 9 months, making the birth and breastfeeding more challenging from the exhaustion and lack of reserves following such intense illness. Personally I was one of the lucky ones who found giving birth and painful breastfeeding a walk in the park after the relentless nightmare of HG. However, the extent to which HG can impact on delivery, recovery and breastfeeding is unknown because no one has every studied it. But recent research that has come out in Sweden has shown a significant link between persistent HG (demonstrated by admission for the condition in the 2nd trimester) and placental problems and low for gestational age babies. I'm not saying this because I want to scare any of the current sufferers who may be reading this or anyone thinking of trying again... that's the last thing I want to do. Rather, I am trying to highlight the need for further research into this little understood condition and it's complications. Furthermore, the notion that it's just unpleasant for the mum during pregnancy but resolves without lasting effects once the pregnancy is over is yet another myth that needs expelling. I know so many women who are having long lasting problems which are clearly a result of severe HG, such as gut motility problems, Hiatus Hernia, LA grade B oesophagitis, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, emetophobia, flash backs and so on. And yet there is no research about it! Many of these 'side-effects' could be prevented if the HG was prevented from becoming so severe with effective, early treatment.
To that end, this year, my focus for my work with Pregnancy Sickness Support is going to be on Health Care Professional education and working towards research projects. We will soon have a survey on our website which we will need sufferers to fill out, we hope the results will help us apply for further research and highlight specific areas in need of further investigation. We are also holding a national Pregnancy Sickness and Hyperemesis Gravidarum Conference for Healthcare Professionals in September this year and I will have the on-line booking form available soon. We also have our new leaflets about Medications and Treatments available and I have recently written an article for a nursing journal.
It's all rather exciting that so much is happening in the world of Hyperemesis Awareness Raising and I must admit it is thanks to the high profile of a recent sufferer that so many more newspapers and journals are taking an interest in the condition. I have just submitted an article to a practice nursing paper which I'm pretty sure would not have been requested 4 months ago!