Nausea and vomiting (N &V) in pregnancy is very common.  It can be debilitating for women and many describe feeling isolated. The Pregnancy Sickness Support network, quote that over 30% of women need time off of work due to N&V in pregnancy.

Despite the myths, and title of ‘Morning sickness’,  N&V is not always solely in the mornings.  It can be at any time of day or night.   Symptoms usually improve by 12-14 weeks of pregnancy with occasional symptoms continuing past 20 weeks.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum is the extreme and serious end of N&V.  It can result in dehydration and weight loss, requiring admission for intravenous hydration and management with anti-sickness medication ( Antiemetics).

Despite evidence documenting that some anti emetics are safely administered in early pregnancy, a high number of women are still advised to “sit it out.”  By the time a woman has sought advice from a health care professional, they have usually tried and exhausted all other options to help control the symptoms and are in need of some support and guidance. 

We met and heard from the Pregnancy Sickness Support network at a conference we attended in 2017 and were inspired by their presentation.   Women talk to us and ask lots of questions regarding their pregnancy when they attend for a scan with us.  Commonly, nausea and vomiting is discussed and we will often make our women and their partner’s aware of the Pregnancy Sickness Support website and contact details, www.pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk.   Feedback received from one of our clients recently, who was feeling desperate when I first met her, was how supportive they have been and that whilst her anti emetic did eventually ease her sickness, the daily messages of support and understanding from one of the volunteers she was buddied up with was invaluable. She felt that someone was understanding and heard how she was feeling and gave her the emotional strength she needed.   Having not heard of the network prior to attending Somerset Early Scans, she was very grateful to have been pointed in the right direction for herself and also for her GP.

D Hamilton-Rose

Nurse Practitioner – Somerset Early Scans

July 2018

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