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Comment #4625830 by Sandra Turner

Sandra Turner Jan 6th 2016, 8:40 AM #

I suffered very badly with hyperemesis during my last pregnancy. I was vomiting non stop all day and night. By 10 weeks pregnant I had lost more than 10% of my pre pregnancy weight. Just before 12 weeks, I was in hospital and a doctor refused to give me any medication to help stop the vomiting. He called for a psychiatric consultation instead. The psychiatrist announced his arrival to myself and the other 6 people on the ward. He pulled the curtain and asked if I had any immediate feelings of self harm (I hadn’t), delighted he left saying that was great as he was very busy and someone would be back the next day to see me. Many weeks later I received a letter home to invite me to the psychiatric nurse. I didn’t go, I wasn’t crazy, I might have needed counselling to deal with the guilt and panic and fear associated with such a difficult pregnancy but I didn’t want to harm myself. It turns out anti sickness medication was the way to go as it reduced the vomiting episodes to between 5-8 per day from around 17-20. This country is not set up to help people in a timely fashion. Pregnancy lasts 9 months and waiting lists could be longer than that for help! I still feel counselling might have helped me (I get the odd flashback) but seeing as how I was dealing with doctors that thought I was vomiting on purpose and needed psychiatric help I would have had to source and pay for one myself which wasn’t possible when I couldn’t leave the house because I was so sick.

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Pregnancy is meant to be an exciting, happy time. So, what happens if you don't feel that way?

Pregnancy is meant to be an exciting, happy time. So, what happens if you don't feel that way?

Pregnant women who find themselves depressed often feel a lot of guilt, writes Catriona Spellman.


    Favourite Laura-Anne
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    Jan 6th 2016, 10:18 AM

    Sandra, that’s awful & I completely sympathise. I had HG on both pregnancies and I found it debilitating. At 8 weeks on my first, I was vomiting up to 50 times a day, about 10 times before leaving for work. At one point I went to a GP after not eating for 8 days, and I was told (by a locum) to “lay off the chips, I’m hardly wasting away”.
    You are correct, in so many cases our health system cannot deal with the effects of pregnancy, especially the mental health impact. The advice I was given about pre&post-natal depression was to go for a 20 minute walk every day, and if I don’t feel better, walk 20 mins in the other direction. Sigh.

    Favourite Etain Lynch
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    Jan 6th 2016, 11:21 AM

    So many stories like the above out there. An honest list of risk factors would include:

    1. People saying ‘pregnancy is not an illness’
    2. Being patronized and infantilized by the medical system
    3. Being treated as a hysterical weakling by doctors
    4. Being expected to continue your life and work as before while very ill.
    5. Women with full time jobs and other children being prescribed – ‘put your feet up more’.
    6. Having to say you have ‘morning’ sickness when you’re sick on and off most of the day and I don’t even mean the misfortunates with hyperemesis.
    7. If you show symptoms of being vaguely pissed off about the above the men in white coats will arrive because we all know how unstable wimmin are.

    It’s an attitude problem in the maternity care system more than a time or money problem. What’s amazing really is how few women get depressed about it. Next time someone says pregnancy is not an illness there should be a flash mob of healthy pregnant women to vomit on their shoes, trip them with their crutches and do a group faint on top of them. And maybe the 9 months pregnant marathon runners among us would join in too for solidarity’s sake.

    Favourite M-n J Baxter
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    Jan 6th 2016, 11:31 AM

    hurrah I have been saying this for years as very sick with all pregnancies and little sympathy from other women who had lovely pregnancies and milaw who was mystified why I was in the toilet vomitting all the time. Also try walking 20 mins when depressed and exhausted as you have been up all night with pregnancy ills or screaming new born and see how far you get. I thought I was a voice in the wilderness. I would love a third child but the whole nine months sorry 40 week 10 months of severe illness very off putting and I was classed as normal pregnancy go figure , I lost nearly two stone in weight my first pregnancy.

    Favourite Randle P McMurphy
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    Jan 6th 2016, 1:03 PM

    @sandra, ethian, laura and m-n j…. The ignorance out there, in a supposedly developed country, is appalling. I see it first hand daily at present. No consideration given, just a ‘suck it up’ mentality..and that’s from fellow women!! The view appears to be that a woman experiencing a difficult pregnancy is a burden in the workplace, socially and economically.
    The Coombe is a wonderful, caring hospital but good Jesus, is so over-stretched, it’s at breaking point! I’ve visited hospitals in India with better ratios, patient management and equipment!
    And also, we waste hundreds of millions caring for people in this country who CHOOSE to destroy their health though smoking, excessive drinking, drugs, unhealthy eating habits etc, all the while the lives of the new/almost born and their mother is put at risk through continuously significant under-funding… Developed country my arse..