Hyperemisis – One Woman’s Experience

by Anne Marie Brady

When I first started vomiting during my pregnancy at 6 weeks, I assumed it was all normal and morning sickness was always this awful, when I got to the point of vomiting continuously for two days and not even being able to keep water down, I decided to visit my GP who said, sometimes this happens and it usually clears up by about 12 weeks, he prescribed a course of vitamin B, which he said usually helped, it didn’t.

So, at twelve weeks I had to travel to France for a family funeral, as soon as the plane landed I was admitted to the local hospital, where they started the procedure of rehydration, with continuous iv drips, and pain killers, which I did not really want to take being so early on in my pregnancy, but I was in a lot of pain and I trusted the medical staff.

After four days of drips and continuous vomiting, I was not getting any better, it was agreed I could return to Ireland on the precondition that I would go straight back into hospital. So I was admitted into the national maternity hospital for more rehydration and this was the first time the word hyperemesis was mentioned to me. I was delighted to hear that what I had had a name and I assumed it could be treated, but I was told it usually clears up by about 14 to 16 weeks (I was now 14 weeks pregnant) and the only treatment was to rehydrate me and continue with anti-nausea drugs.

The one reassuring thing was that all the medical staff were very clear that my baby was in no danger, and he or she was having first demand on every reserve my body had.

After four days I was rehydrated and had almost stopped vomiting, so I was allowed to go home. The calm lasted about five days. After another round of vomiting, and rehydration and anti-nausea drugs, I decided there had to be another way of dealing with this problem, I had tried everybody’s suggestions, dry crackers, ginger, warm sweet tea etc.etc. I found only one line on hyperemises in one of the many pregnancy books I read.

I had a new GP, and she was very sympathetic, and she was the one who suggested I try acupunture, she gave me Karen’s name and said it’s worth a try, it works for some people. I was very skeptical, what I knew of Acupuncture was very little, but at this point I really was prepared to try anything, and for me one of the best elements of Acupuncture was that it didn’t involve putting any more medication into my body.

I arrived for my first session with Karen, and started off by vomiting and finished after an hour feeling calmer, and actually ready to eat!

Karen took a detailed history and then checked all my pulse points. She explained everything she was doing very clearly, and surprisingly not one single needle hurt!

I continued to see Karen on a weekly basis and although I was still nauseous from time to time, I was for the first time able to eat properly and have the energy to enjoy my pregnancy. Karen was able to pinpoint specific strong reactions in my body and so was able to help guide me away from foods that would only aggravate the sickness.

After five weeks of treatment with Karen I was confident enough to travel to the USA where my husband was working, and I was ok for the first three weeks and then the vomiting started again, as soon as I returned to Ireland I went straight to Karen, she helped me, but I was already dehydrated and had to go into hospital again.

This time no more traveling and I visited Karen on a weekly basis, the rest of my pregnancy was a lot calmer and involved a lot less vomiting.

Two weeks before my due date I became extremely ill and dehydrated extremely quickly, I went to visit Karen and by listening to me and my pulses she said she thought the reason I was so ill was because I was going to have my baby early.

Even though it was late at night, Karen made time to see us and to treat me and calm me, I was admitted to hospital the next morning and Ben arrived safely and quietly the next morning, with the help of Karen and Acupuncture throughout labour and delivery.

No one seems able to give me a clear answer as to whether any future pregnancies would result in me suffering hyperemises so badly again, but now that I know there is a cure which treats the symptoms – not the result, and does not involve any medication. I look forward to my next pregnancy knowing that Karen and Acupuncture will be a part of it all from the very beginning!