If you've suffered hyperemesis gravidarum before then, unlike with regular pregnancy sickness which can differ in each pregnancy, the chances are you will suffer again; in fact, research suggests if you have had HG before then there is an 89% chance you will get it again. Therefore, planning and preparation is key to reducing the impact of the condition, particularly if you now have small children at home.
If your previous pregnancy ended with loss, either through termination or miscarriage it is important you take time to grieve and come to terms with the loss before heading back into a tough nine months. CRADLE, a national pregnancy loss charity, hold weekly online support groups and also have a specific HG loss Facebook group.
Also, if there is trauma or anxiety remaining from the previous pregnancy then take time to recover and seek help with this before moving onto another one. Consider therapy or counselling, you can find out more about our HG specific counselling service here.
There is good evidence that the early, pre-emptive use of a vitamin B6 supplement and a first line medication is effective for preventing the deterioration which results in hospital admission. Speak to your GP about using this treatment if you have suffered hyperemesis gravidarum in the past. A 2013 study found a significant decrease in severity of HG if treatment was started BEFORE symptoms start compared to started when symptoms first appear.
Ideally you need to have an appointment with a GP who understands your previous pregnancy and who can support and put together a management plan with you. Once the plan is in place you can ask the GP to put this into your maternity notes so that all doctors and midwives must follow it. You can ask your GP and consultant to communicate to ensure your care and treatment is more cohesive.
We have produced three documents which may help you to prepare for another HG pregnancy, you can download them below.
This document helps you to reflect on your previous pregnancy to look at what worked, what didn't and what could be done differently this time.
This is a preparation document which will help you to work through the document below and gives you the references and information needed to discuss the plan with your doctor.
This care plan is designed to be completed with your GP or consultant; it is in a "doctor friendly" format that they will hopefully recognise and respond to. You can ask that this plan goes into your patient held maternity notes and a copy can be scanned for your GP/hospital notes so that any doctor or midwife can access it.
Other tips for preparing for a difficult pregnancy:
- Childcare is really helpful. Whether it is through friends and family or formal childcare with a nursery, child-minder or nanny, it is important that you’re able to rest and concentrate on staying hydrated and nourished as much as possible.
- Prepare meals for the freezer. Whilst planning your pregnancy get as many meals in the freezer as possible to avoid having to cook so much during your pregnancy.
- Stock up on drinks/foods you like and were able to tolerate last time.
- Get support! Contact our support team in advance so that we are ready to help you when the time comes. Also join our forum, we have a whole section for those preparing and trying again!
- Get in shape; HG takes a huge toll on the body, the more you can physically prepare the better. Although it may be helpful to have a little 'extra' to lose when the sickness strikes, it is also important that you are fit and ready to deal with the rigours of a difficult pregnancy.
- Contact your GP, midwife and any other professionals that will be involved. Explain that you want a plan in advance, discuss what worked and didn't work last time, give permission for partner/relatives to discuss care if needed.