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Hyperemesis gravidarum

02 November 2017
2 min read
Volume 25 · Issue 11


Hyperemesis gravidarum has gained increasing recognition since the Duchess of Cambridge was first diagnosed in 2012. Yet, as Claire Axcell writes, it is still a misunderstood condition

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a condition characterised by extreme vomiting and nausea during pregnancy, and affects 0.3–3.6% of women (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 2016). Its symptoms are often severe and debilitating for those unfortunate enough to suffer from it. The exact cause of hyperemesis is not known; however, if there is a family history of the condition or it has been experienced in a previous pregnancy, the condition is more likely to occur (Dean, 2015; 2017). In the media, the focus is on the Duchess of Cambridge, who has suffered from the condition, causing her to be admitted to hospital while pregnant, and forcing the revelation of her pregnancies perhaps before she would have wanted.

Despite the extensive media coverage of the Duchess, the condition still carries stigma and a lack of understanding. I found it vastly disappointing when, catching a glimpse of a report on HG on This Morning, ginger was suggested as a potential cure. In clinical practice, watching women be admitted for severe dehydration and being given fluids, strong anti-emetics and anti sickness drugs through an intravenous drip, advising them to try ginger feels like advocating a water pistol in putting out a bonfire. In fact, research suggests that ginger can do more harm than good when used by those suffering from HG (Dean, 2015).

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