• Mon, Jan 13 - 11:00 am ET

10 Worst Things You Can Say To A Woman With Hyperemesis Gravidarum

184938326Most women experience some form of pregnancy sickness. But for some, severe pregnancy sickness, otherwise known as hyperemesis gravidarum, may be the most challenging thing they ever go through in their lives. I’m currently experiencing my second pregnancy with HG and I’m here to tell you, it’s no picnic.

HG is a debilitating form of unrelenting nausea and vomiting that sends about 50,000 women a year in the U.S. to the hospital and restricts others to their beds for the most incapacitating parts of the sickness. It can last anywhere from the first trimester all the way through until delivery and serious complications can arise. Severity varies from woman to woman but ladies who are struck with the illness are commonly so sick they become unable to work or in many cases even care for themselves. The nausea is powerful and persistent that women with the condition have immense difficulty eating or drinking anything without vomiting and usually lose more than 10% of their pre-pregnancy body weight.

For some women, medication can help, but it is not always a cure. For many, Zofran, a powerful anti-nausea medication commonly used to treat chemotherapy patients, does little or nothing to stop their vomiting. Miscarriage is not uncommon in such cases and sometimes suffering women with wanted babies even chose to terminate the pregnancy because they have become so ill. Aside from the persistent nausea and vomiting, HG can be coupled with constant migraines; sensitivity to light and extreme fatigue, making pregnancy truly feel like hell on earth. (From weeks six-fifteen, I kept all the blinds drawn in our home and was unable to even look at my cell phone without getting sick).

Given that this illness is so poorly understood, even by the medical community, the emotional hurdle that comes with it can be an even bigger obstacle than the physical one. A woman battling HG feels like she is in the fight of her life and in some cases, she is. But since many mistake her illness as nothing more than morning sickness, she is often made to feel that she is weak or exaggerating her illness, even by her own doctor.

Here are the worst things to say to a woman suffering from HG (and believe me, we’ve heard ‘em all).

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  • Buffy

    Thank you so very much. Nobody could understand why I had to stay in a hospital for month, I couldn’t even keep water down and had to get infusions. And everyone would tell me that morning sickness was “just normal, everyone has it”. I hope a lot of people will read your article and learn from it.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      ugh I am so sorry you went through that!

    • Buffy

      Thank you very much.

    • Sandy

      I think doctors should start stocking loads of pamphlets for the types of conditions that other people just don’t ‘get’. If you’re diagnosed, you get a stack of them with a sticker that reads, “I have diagnosed _______ with this condition. I, the person with the PhD in this shit, assure you that it’s for real and that you do not know any better than myself or _______ so back up off.”

  • C.J.

    I only have one thing to say to women who suffer from this, I’m sorry you are so sick and I hope the doctors can find a way to make you feel better.

  • Elisianna

    Pretty sure my mom had this and she went through 5 pregnancies. It got progressively “better” for her (as her second child I only made her puke once a day and lose 11 pounds in her first trimester). It then got so much worse for her last pregnancy with twins. If my dad brushed against her or rocked the bed when he got in she would throw up.
    I have immense sympathy for anyone who suffers like that. I hate feeling even a little bit of nausea.

  • Nica

    My heart goes out to women suffering from HG – it is a VERY real thing… I didn’t get sick at all with my first, but threw up every single day from weeks 8-22 with my second and it was MISERABLE, but nowhere near the misery of HG sufferers…

  • http://carrie-murphy.com/ Carrie Murphy

    Thanks for writing this! I hope HG sufferers will send/share this with everyone. If you can’t be compassionate and understanding, maybe it’s best to just shut your mouth?

  • Leigh

    I also had HG and yeah – this list is spot on. I lost 38 pounds in my first ten weeks of pregnancy. I looked like I was dying and yet even on Zofran I Was vomiting my own stomach acid and saliva. I dare anyone to tell me I should have muscled through it. During one of my many hospital stays for dehydration (I ultimately ended up on TPN from a PICC line that fed me and hydrated me for months of my pregnancy – I didn’t eat or drink at all. In fact I used to wake up dreaming of what it would feel liike to swallow water) my mother in law suggested she could not believe how ungrateful for my pregnancy I was. I am pretty sure my best friend had someone ask security to remove her from my room.

  • KaeTay

    Wow I was on zofran my entire pregnancy. It worked well but certain things still hit me hard. I only ever was able to gag twice before running to the bathroom.. there’s no way I could have held a job

  • Zoe Lansing

    People who equate typical morning sickness with HG remind me of people who post on Facebook that they have a migraine.As someone who frequently suffers from actual migraines and has researched them extensively in hopes of finding a way to prevent them or,at the very least,lessen the frequency at which they occur,I can almost guarantee that if you’re posting on FB,you don’t actually have migraine.It might be an extremely painful headache but that doesn’t mean it’s a migraine.Repeatedly seeing and hearing people say and write things like this feels like they are minimizing a condition that has greatly impacted my life in a negative manner even though I’m sure this is not anyone’s intention.I’m guessing women with HG feel much the same when others try to compare puking a few times a week and experiencing occasional nausea while pregnant to dealing with actual HG.

    • Magrat

      Migraines don’t necessarily mean incapacitating pain. Mine have levels. Most of the time they’re minor enough that I have a headache and nausea, but can still function well enough. At their worst I have cyclical vomiting and a giant railroad spike through my temple. I’ve known people whose migraines don’t necessarily come with any pain at all. Pain is a symptom, not the diagnosis.

    • Zoe Lansing

      You guys are right.I probably should’ve said (typed?) that if you post “I have the worst (or most painful/severe,etc.) migraine” on FB,you probably are mistaken.Because severe migraines ARE debilitating in a way that most non-migraine are not.I was specifically referring to the severe for status migrainosis and other severe classic migraines (classic migraines are those with “aura”).In my zeal to both sympathize and vent,I failed to be specific.

      This does,however, bring up another issue that those of us who’s migraines ARE debilitating often face.Since there are others who can,in fact, function while experiencing a migraine,it makes it even more difficult for those unfamiliar with the various types of migraines to understand why we cannot.I,along with other sufferers I have spoken with, have been accused of “milking” and/or exaggerating the severity of our conditions,been told to “just push through the pain”,called irresponsible for not being able to honor prior time commitments (which I avoid making if at all possible as I never now when a migraine might render me useless),etc.People don’t get that it is impossible for us to work,attend social events,etc. when experiencing this type of severe migraine.Hell,we’d rather be pretty much anywhere else,doing virtually anything else rather than at home –or,in some cases,in the hospital– curled up in bed in excruciating pain.

      It’s incredibly frustrating and enormously invalidating to have my condition so often minimized and misunderstood much like,I’m sure it is for those with HG.So I really feel for them,sympathize with them and,in many ways,relate to them.That’s really what I was trying to convey.

    • Zoe Lansing

      Oh,and as an aside,I really don’t get why anyone with a bad headache of ANY kind would choose to be looking at a computer,phone or tablet screen and posting on Facebook/other social media even if technically able to.In my experience with different types of headaches (I also get sinus and TMJ-related headaches,neither of which involve loss of vision)and from everything I’ve been told,that usually only makes the pain worse worse.

    • Sandy

      Zoe, I’m really sorry that you suffer from so many really bad migraines. People, as a collective, tend to be a-holes. They’re constantly one-upping and putting others down. Look at the polar vortex. “In my day, we’d walk 15 miles to school. Uphill. Both ways. When it was -1,000. Wearing only swimsuits. And we were grateful for our education! None of this “It’s too cold!” The same shit goes for well, basically anything that people can use for one-upping or putting others down. Really, it’s the exaggerators that make everyone else so unbelievable (such as the fact that doctors never believe patients regarding their drinking or eating habits). Sure, there are lots of great people but as a collective… So really, eff ‘em. “I’m sorry that you can’t understand what I’m experiencing but you can either believe it or not. There’s nothing I can do about it.” People do better when faced with hard facts, though. Like start keeping a journal of every migraine you get. Hopefully when people see that they’re ruining your free time – not just times when you have other responsibilities, maybe they’ll believe. Or, you could always just let them watch you get one and then let them pour you into a cab.

    • Zoe Lansing

      Thanks for understanding !Yes,migraines have caused me to miss many,many things that I really wanted to do and/or were extremely important to me.This includes things like my close friend’s wedding,my goddaughter’s first birthday and my own college graduation party.

    • AP

      The clinical definition of a migraine is a headache caused by vascular changes in the brain. So you can have a regular headache that’s more painful than a migraine, and a migraine that barely hurts. It has nothing to do with pain and everything to do with the root cause.

      I get migraines all the time, and I rarely get the classic light-and-noise sensitive, head-pounding ones. I often get a scalp tingling or an constant dull pain on one side of my head, and I can tell by secondary symptoms that it’s a migraine (I feel “off” or not like myself during migraines. I can’t explain it, but my husband notices it too, so I’m not crazy.)

      Classic migraines run in my family and I consider it a complete and utter blessing that mine don’t often manifest themselves that way. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have migraines, though.

    • h

      I’ve had a similar experience, with headaches that just seemed weird and had me off kilter, nauseous, light sensitive, etc, with pain that ranged from mild to pretty miserable, but never so severe that I couldn’t function (ie if at work it would suck and I couldn’t wait to lie in bed, but would still be able to finish the shift, but would feel weird about driving home). I figured it couldn’t be a migraine because I’ve known people with more traditional migraines, and I always thought migraine=incapacitating pain. Conversely, I’ve had a headache here and there that was head-splitting, but with no other symptoms. I was very interested to read that a migraine refers to the cause/condition, not necessarily the pain level.

    • Sandy

      To be fair, they could be posting at the very beginning or end of a migraine. For me, it always starts with the visual disturbance and that as a short warning to try to get home before I’m stuck somewhere. Some people feel the need to use that time to post to Facebook. Usually the same people that feel the need to post about everything…

    • TheGiantPeach

      I have had a migraine all day. And I’m at work, typing on a computer. I feel like shit, but I’m here.

  • Magrat

    I’m terrified of this. Hormonal shifts give me migraines. The ones I get with my regular cycle are minor enough that I can go about my day, as long as I don’t let my stomach get bored, but I’m so scared that pregnancy is going to piss my body right the hell off.

  • Laurengoesto11

    Thank you for this. People think I’m so lucky because I’m (at 31 weeks) under my pre-pregnancy weight and that “sick Mom, healthy baby so just be glad you’re pregnant”… fuck that. Like the author highlighted, this was my chance to be fat and happy. I had to postpone my schooling and drop to part-time. I can’t do jack shit around the house, and our medical bills are horrifying. Of course this child will be worth it, but pardon me if rainbows of joy aren’t shooting out of my ass.

    Having said this, any fellow HG ladies: I recommend Diclegis. Zofran didn’t touch my vomiting, but Diclegis has kept me out of the hospital and I’m (finally) gaining some weight.

    And piss on everyone who gives me the side-eye for taking drugs or sipping pop. Of course I wish I didn’t have to, but I have to eat. I’m normally the happiest, calmest person, but HG brings out some serious anger.

    • SusannahJoy

      I had a friend who had it, and her doctor told her about another patient of his who could only keep down chocolate and was worried that that wasn’t healthy. The doctor told her to tell her husband to go out and buy all the chocolate she could eat, and enjoy it!

    • Shanna Samul

      that just made me really happy. good doc!!

  • Kelly

    Ugh, the cracker bullshit and the crap I got for taking the medication to keep me from vomiting up everything I ate… But nothing compares to the shitty ass “compliments” about losing weight.

    I happened to have my bodyfat tested right before I got pregnant. I was at a fit 17% and I still lost 20 pounds in the first two months of my pregnancy. I had to get daily IVs to stay hydrated and I spent most of my time laying on the bathroom floor. I was constantly afraid that I was going to lose the baby but “oh, just eat something, you’ll be fine! EVERYBODY goes through it!” Fucking barf, no they do not.

    It sucked. Sucked, sucked, sucked.

  • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

    Calling HG “a case of the queasies” is like calling PPD “a bit of the blues” and both will probably get you throat-punched.

  • Tiffany

    I had HG with my first for 6 months of the pregnancy. One morning, I left an hour-long work meeting to vomit 12 times. I lost 20 pounds in my first trimester. If I was able to eat anything, it was a plain baked potato. That’s it, and most of the time, I couldn’t keep that down. I got really sick of people telling me to “eat for the baby” or it wouldn’t be healthy. Zofran was a joke when I was that sick. We seriously considered not having more kids because of how horrible it was. People think you’re just overreacting to how bad it is, but screw them. It sucks.

    • Lori Burdette

      I understand… I totally understand!

  • Bailey

    Great article! I’ve had HG with all three of my pregnancies and it’s hell. It usually lasts my first 2 trimesters and then lets up in the 3rd with random bad days. My second pregnancy was somewhat better than my first so I had hopes for my 3rd but it was the worst of all (my first girl). Helpful hints and comments just make me want to punch the person giving them in the face.

    My favorite one I’ve gotten a few times is to work out. Right! I can barely walk from my bed to the couch without being light- headed, I’m gonna go get on a treadmill. And I definitely agreed with the one about the kids being traumatized by seeing their mother get incredibly sick. People don’t really understand how it wreaks havoc on your family. It’s hard on me physically but it’s also hard on my kids and my husband.

    I’m still trying to decide if I am crazy enough to go through it one more time. HG has been the best form of birth control for me. I’ve always wanted a large family and if I wasn’t so sick, I’d probably just keep poppin’ them out!

  • niki

    This is so spot on. Not to mention the horrible taste changes, so even if you are feeling even the tiniest bit of relief, nothing tastes like it should. I lost 20 pounds during my first 8 weeks of pregnancy. I had a PICC line and wore an IV and pump 24/7 for two months. I had to drag the damn thing with me everywhere I went, even though I rarely went anywhere. The only person who understood was my mom, because she had HG during all three of her pregnancies. I gave birth weighing less than I did when I got pregnant. It was a horrible, miserable experience from start to finish. There wasn’t a day I didn’t vomit. And I’m gearing up to do it all again because we are going to start TTC this spring. Am I crazy or just stupid?

    • Tiffany

      I had HG with my first, and was barely sick (as in, only threw up every few days) with my second, so there’s hope! Good luck to you!

    • niki

      Thank you! Hope is what I’m going to need to gear up to do this again.

    • Leigh

      I have had five pregnancies, only three of which I had HG , there is hope you will get a normal pregnancy.

    • doodlebug2

      OMG, you have no idea how glad I am to read this! I feel like it’s so rare to hear of women not having it in each pregnancy. We’re trying for our second and I’m TERRIFIED of having HG again. In fact, it was only in the last few months that I even agreed to consider having a second baby. The whole time I was pregnant with my first I kept telling my husband that we were going to be one and done. Did you just have regular morning sickness with your non-HG pregnancies?

    • Karen Milton

      A good friend of mine had HG with her first child and not her second. She was insanely sick and ended up spending 15 weeks of her 35 weeks of pregnancy in the hospital. They had to put in a PIC catheter just to get calories into her and when she was at home a nurse came to hook her up to an IV and give her medication injections just so she could kind of maybe function. She also has Type I diabetes, which is not particularly helped by a zero calorie diet. Nature took pity and her second pregnancy was much better – she was able to eat and to care for her little dude (she’s a SAHM mom and she’s awesome at it) and if she had any morning sickness it was more of the run-of-the-mill variety, but I’m not 100% sure she even had that.

    • Tara

      I had HG with my first, but just regular morning sickness with my second! Of course, then my third was the worst one. BUT, there is hope that not all of your pregnancies will be as horrible!

    • Bekah

      Thanks for sharing. I had it twice and thought that my body was just reacting weird to the hormone influx and that any and all pregnancies would be this way. We are still considering a third child so it gives me some hope.

  • Carolyna Garcia Janota

    The chicken Nugget GIF is a riot. HG was the worst experience. You described perfectly what people say. They just don’t understand.

  • Kay_Sue

    I think a better title for this would be “10 Times It’s Totally Appropriate to Tell People to Stuff It Before Violently Barfing On Their Shoes”.

  • Zettai

    I didn’t even know this existed, and I feel for anyone who has gone through it or is going through it. It sounds horrifying.

  • lindsay39

    The worst was when people told me how GREAT they felt during their pregnancies, right down to the trips they took, the marathon they ran and the new house they decorated top to bottom. Seriously? And you needed to tell me this WHY?

  • Chelsea DeLoney

    I had severe nausea and had to take zofran but it didn’t always work. Not being able to function because you are vomitting so much is a horrible experience. I had it for 7 months of pregnancy and lost 12 lbs from it during my 12-15th week. Nurses were calling to me make sure i was eating enough. I didn’t even have an appetite because everything would come up. So when people say it’s normal they are full of crap.

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  • Sarahstired

    I lost 21 pounds with my first one in the first trimester. People has so much to say about it- oh i just put crackers by my bed or stand up slowly. Seriously people, I wasn’t making it up. I was so sick of the advice I just started to want to punch people. With my second it was so bad that my son (2 years old) would rub my back saying “it’s ok mommy” so sad and so cute.

    • Kim

      Naw – cute! If my boy drew a picture of me I’d always be next to my “spew bucket” :-)

  • Kim

    I had HG for both my pregnancies, was worse for the second. I was bed ridden from around 7 weeks to 14 weeks with the odd trip to the hospital thrown in and repeatedly falling into ketosis – and that was while I was on anti-nausea meds. It’s absolute torture and I really feel for people who suffer from it, it’s completely debilitating.
    People who have not had it just do no understand, when I voiced concerns about getting pregnant again after my first a couple of people said “you’ll be so busy running around after your toddler you wont have time to feel sick”. Actually, I could not look after my older boy AT ALL during the peak of it, thank goodness for my Mum and husband.

  • SusannahJoy

    I had a friend with this. She was thin to start with, and seeing her in her bed hooked up to an IV just to, you know, stay alive, was really rough. She looked sooo bad, and was so clearly trying not to show how awful she felt. They had insurance, but it didn’t cover everything, so they had to sell their house and move into a much smaller one to pay the medical bills. It’s no joke.

  • sarahbregel

    thanks so much for all the shares you guys! i just want to tell every person who suffered/is suffering/will suffer with HG that it’s okay to talk about it, no, it’s NECESSARY that we talk, write, explain this condition to the people who make these comments. my first pregnancy, i just kept my mouth shut and let people make me feel like a failure. this piece isn’t meant to knock people who simply don’t know, but the fact is we get knocked constantly for being whimps or complainers when we are going through misery. if we ever want a cure and we ever want people (including doctors and nurses) to truly understand this condition, we have to speak our truths about HG. love to all and wishing everyone suffering today relief soon. xoxo

  • MerlePerle

    I had hg with both my pregnancies and it was hell! I got admitted to the hospital for the 2nd time on the same day duchess kate did and the comment sections were full of ‘i had morning sickness, too, but i’m not a princess so i just just sucked it up’ ugh, people

  • Jan

    This article could not have been written at a better time. I’ve got very bad pregnancy nausea (I have started to hate the term “morning sickness”).

    Yesterday after a weekend of vomiting over 30 times a day and a Monday of vomiting 10 times before noon my GP sent me straight to ED to get an IV drip put in.

    For us, this is a very wanted first pregnancy. So there’s nothing worse for me to even THINK that physically I don’t like being pregnant. Then last night I got the spotting that’s also common in the first few weeks- and I was so consumed with guilt.

    I haven’t even told my family members besides my husband how bad it is because neither of my sisters even got any morning sickness so I worry they think I am exaggerating.

    • doodlebug2

      I’m so sorry you’re suffering so terribly. I had HG with my first pregnancy so I know how horrible it is; my heart goes out to you. But please reconsider not telling people. Even if they can’t personally relate, they can still support you and as sick as you are, you need all the help and support you can get right now. Also, make sure you have the right doctor–one who is compassionate and willing to prescribe the right medications. Though meds won’t cure HG, they really can help. I hope you find some relief soon!

  • Marisa Miller

    AMEN!!!!!!!!!!! My husband thought I was making it up when I was throwing up my stomach lining and tearing every muscle in my chest. I was like a cat trying to hack up the worst, most unreachable hairball ever. I had to drive myself to the ER for the IV infusion.

    • Zoe Lansing

      I hope you screamed “I told you so!” in your husband’s face as soon as you got back from the hospital!Maybe even puked on his favorite item of clothing ; )

  • doodlebug2

    Thank you for this article. I’m always so glad to see anything written about HG as it’s such a misunderstood illness. Most people have never heard of it and if they have, it’s very hard for them to fathom how horrendous it is. Even the medical community is uneducated about this disease, with some medical books still saying it’s a psychological illness–that it’s all in the woman’s head and that she’s vomiting so much because she doesn’t really want her baby! Imagine vomiting 10 or 20 or even 30 times a day and hearing THAT from your doctor! I had HG in my first pregnancy and as I prepare for a second one I’m well aware it’s likely I’ll have it again. I’ve been through some very difficult things in my life but HG takes the cake. It’s truly a living hell and, as the author mentioned, the emotional toll it takes is often the worst part. The suffering that comes from months and months of relentless nausea and vomiting is difficult to describe–it’s like being tortured. My only hope is that more people become aware of HG and that the medical community does more to try to find a cure.

    • Zoe Lansing

      Being told that your illness is “all in your head” is so incredibly hurtful and frustrating!I hope more members of the medical community become more knowledgeable about HG ASAP!

  • Emil

    I wish I had read this during my first trimester. I would have been so appreciative just to have regular morning sickness.

  • Gangle

    Oh man, I have been having regular pregnancy sickness, and even had about 2 months of throwing up every single nibble I ate, and that is bad enough! I am glad I do not have HG! When I was younger I had cyclic vomiting syndrome, complete with light and sound sensitivity, and each bout would last up to 48 hours. I couldn’t move, let along function on any normal level while it was happening.. I couldn’t imagine what that would even feel like if you had to go part of or a whole pregnancy feeling like that!! People honestly need to learn to shut the hell up sometimes!

  • Dr. Apothecary

    I had bad “morning” sickness and was basically sick from week 6 to week 18 or so. I remember one point at week 14 thinking I just couldn’t do it anymore. And that was without ever actually throwing up. Being constantly sick takes a real toll. I somehow didn’t miss much work, mostly because I work part time, and Zofran helped, but I was miserable. I also started getting severe round ligament pain at 12 weeks that lasted for hours at a time that kept up through the third trimester. Now I’m overdue with almost three weeks of frequent, painful pre-labor that doesn’t go anywhere and occasional severe nausea/dizziness. I hate pregnancy.

    I am still very grateful I didn’t have hyperemesis and feel for every woman who does.

    If someone ever says something about pregnancy being “only” 9 months to my face, I might punch them. I feel even more strongly now that no woman should ever be forced to carry a pregnancy.

  • footnotegirl

    My friend had HG with both of her pregnancies… it was so bad that it lasted all 9 months and she had to have a feeding tube put in the last three months of both pregnancies. Anyone who pooh-pooh’s this thing deserves to be thrown up upon.

  • AugustW

    My record at my OB’s office shows that I gained 1 lb during pregnancy, because I lost 20 lbs in the first trimester with HG, and then gained 21 lbs when I was finally able to eat again. So, 1 lb heavier at the end than at the beginning. Ha!

    Seriously though. HG is no joke. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

  • MysteryDevil

    Thank you for this article!! I was extremely sick while pregnant with my 9yo son and it put me off ever having another child. I heard everything on the list plus 1 more from my child’s father, he told me “it was all in my head”. Needless to say the relationship went downhill from there!!

  • snet86

    I was as sick as a dog for 22 weeks straight. Thank goodness I work from home b/c I lived in the bathroom and had to carry a trash can with me everywhere around my house. I couldn’t imagine going through that in a normal work environment. Only my Mom really understood since she was hospitalized w/ HG while she was pregnant with me. Zofran became my best friend… I felt guilt at first, but it allowed me to eat some and get actual nutrition. Now my son is a thriving 15-month-old. He is amazing and healthy. I am so happy I got help and didn’t just muddle through and listen to other women’s BS advice about crackers…

    • Gangle

      Oh gosh, I have thrown up in a rubbish bin in front of customers and co-workers. A few weeks ago, I threw up in the street, across from the police station, I am sure everyone thought ‘oh, look at that poor drunk girl’.

    • Em Chappell-Root

      Hah! I was driving home from work late one night, and pulled into a median to throw up, had a cop pull up behind me and ask if I was okay and what bar I’d just left. I heaved my 8 month pregnant self off the ground, made sure to tuck my clothes so my pregnancy Showed, and told him, “None, I just have morning, noon, and night sickness.” He felt really really guilty.

    • Gangle

      What an idiot! Luckily, my husband was driving the car at the time when my stomach decided that we HAD to stop right in front of the police station, so they must have thought the poor drunk girl was getting driven home.

  • SB

    I had a mild case of HG and swore every day I would never go through pregnancy again. My insurance would cover only like 10 Zofran pills a month (which wouldn’t last even a week) so I was spending hundreds of dollars on medication and still vomited so much I don’t think I’d recognize myself without all the broken blood vessels around my eyes (my “purple freckles,” as I called them). I was MISERABLE at work. It’s a sad day when you tell one of your employees to please fetch you more garbage bags and ginger ale.

  • Shelly Lloyd

    I had HG so badly for my first pregnancy that a nurse had to come out and give me an IV every few days. My doctor told be that I had lost so much weight and was so ill that I should be prepared to lose the baby. But I didn’t. Thankfully by the middle of the 2nd trimester I started to get over the HG. But it sucked hairy monkey balls. My 2nd pregnancy I had HG again, and while it sucked, it was not quite as bad as the first time around. But I heard A LOT of those comments.

  • Emily

    THANK YOU. Anytime I try to write about HG I get way more violent than is healthy. NO one gets it, even the people who watch you go through it daily, and then you get to deal with their absolutely idiotic comments and judgement. Anyone who ignorantly judges someone with a serious, totally debilitating and life-threatening disease, which is what HG is, deserves to have it, period. I’m 26 weeks, have blown half the blood vessels in my face and neck from vomiting up my stomach acid almost daily and that’s on Zofran and max strength acid reducers. All I get is, oh, you *still* have ‘morning sickness’? Go F* yourself with a piece of infected shrapnel, thanks.

  • Tracy Morgan

    This is a truly amazing article and you should be congratulated – I seriously could have written it myself. We ARE getting the word out, slowly; and well-written, non-hysterical articles like these make great strides in raising awareness. I will be sharing x

  • ScienceGeek

    My mother-in-law kept telling me to fast. I kept telling her that it didn’t matter, if my stomach was empty, I’d throw up my stomach acids, and at least a sandwich didn’t burn all the way up. And my doctor kinda believed that nutrients were important for the baby. But she persisted with ‘But I was sick when I was pregnant, and fasting helped me so much!’ Except her idea of ‘sick’ is nausea – she never actually vomited, least of all 5 times a day while taking the maximum dose of Zofran. Even my husband, who adores her and has endless patience, was thisclose to telling her to shut the fuck up.
    I had a former co-worker announce ‘Oh, I haven’t had any morning sickness, I think these women are just complaining about nothing.’ I am a mean and petty person, because I felt a nasty burst of smug when I learned that her baby doesn’t sleep, has trouble eating and cries all the time, while mine slept 6-10 hours at night by the time he was 6 weeks old, eats everything in sight and only cries for really obvious reasons (he’s been in child care for just over a week, and they’re already like ‘Yep, easy to work out what he wants’). Of course, I can’t claim any of that as my achievement, any more than she could claim her lack of morning sickness was her own doing, and I hope bubs sorts himself out soon but yeah, shameful little burst of smug.

  • Bekah

    Thank you for writing this! No one understood why I was MIA all the time and why I didn’t suck it up. First pregnancy was 4-18 weeks. Second pregnancy was 4-20 weeks severely, but sick through the whole pregnancy. I would up having a nervous breakdown at 10 weeks and had to go on anti-anxiety meds. Then I felt guilty for that but I also had a traumatized 2 year old to take care of. Finally someone understands!

    I empathize with you this second pregnancy. I always told myself that this was a sacrifice I was making in order to have a family. A mom will do anything for her kids, sometimes that starts before birth. My experiences have made me a better, less judgemental, and more compassionate person.

    • Bekah

      BTW…I also want to mention that this effects the whole family. We had less income since I couldn’t work. I wasn’t able to be there for my oldest child. Others had to help care for her and my husband was practically a single dad when he was home. The house was a mess and my daughter ate more pre-prepared meals than I even want to count!

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  • Britney

    Well said! Right on point. Crackers do NOTHING for a woman with HG. They just give us something other than bile to throw up in the morning. I had HG twice, and with my second (and last) i lost 33 pounds. Instead of wanting to show off my baby bump i was stuck at home on home health and my then 3 year old barely had a mom. HG s pure hell- NO it’s not just morning sickness. I LOVED reading this. Wish i had copies when i was pregnant to give out to every moron who made a dumb comment!

  • sarahinnc

    I feel terrible for moms who face this, I really do. However, I am genuinely curious as to why you’d even have another baby if you suffered so badly during the first pregnancy that you couldn’t stay out of the hospital and were in pure agony. I know that if I faced that during my pregnancy, I would never have even considered having another baby, especially if I were going to have to take care of another child while at the same time I was fighting to keep myself and my unborn baby safe.

  • Lori Burdette

    As an HG survivor as well I have to say this is 100% accurate for my experience. I have noticed though, other survivors as well as Crones, CVS and GERDS folks have a look in their eyes. It is how I imagine soldiers can tell if you have seen combat or not, you know they have been through hell and back, you went through hell and back. I can just tell when I talk to someone if their “bad” morning sickness was HG or just bad morning sickness. My mother in law for example complained that her morning sickness was “the worst imaginable” with my husband, but I can see it in her eyes… she may have had some morning sickness but she didn’t end up dehydrated, with IV’s in the hospital from unrelenting vomiting for a week.

  • Taylor

    I had HG so badly that I had a feeding tube with my second (and last) baby. I was sick with it with my daughter and the two times worse with my son. My doctor for my daughter said that if I got pregnant again that I would be fine or it would be worse then my first. She was right and my doctor with my last one said each pregnancy you will get worse. So I had a tubal. I thought I was going to die. I lost 21 pounds with my first and 27 with my second.

  • Harris

    None of this would happen if it was a man pregnant. I could handle this no problems.

  • Lori Burdette


    This was my experience.

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