Wednesday, February 3, 2010

HG: Frequency

I've been thinking lately - HG is supposed to be a rare disease, right? Then why do I know so many people who have experienced it? I'm going to make a list (with notes) to see how many people it really is ("X" is for where I don't know names). I will include personal acquaintances and friend/relative-of-personal-acquaintances. I will not list people whom I met because they had HG. Also, I am listing people who (like myself) had borderline HG, which might be classified either as HG or as severe morning sickness:

(1) S. - I met her randomly at my midwife's client reunion day. She has had 3 kiddos - normal morning sickness with the first, moderate HG with the second, and life-threatening HG with the third.

(2) J. - met her at the park near our home

(3) M. - met her in my MOMS club and only learned last week that she had morning sickness problems. She is one of those rare mamas for whom no anti-nausea drugs (including Zofran) worked.

(4) K. - church friend. She had four children, each two years apart, and was in bed for the first 20 weeks or so with each. How she managed that once she had a kidlet or two is beyond me.

(5) K. - another church friend. Her husband had to give her injections of anti-nausea meds. She is in complete agreement with me that none of the traditional remedies for morning sickness (ginger, etc.) really works when one is truly sick.

(6) X - sister of church friend R. She had to be flown across the country to get treatment (don't know the details).

(7) X - sister of church friend A.

(8) J. - sister-in-law of church friends A & A. She has had HG with 2 pregnancies. With her second, her insurance refused to pay for Zofran, so she said "Fine, then you can keep paying for my repeat hospitalizations!" Then she showed up at the hospital again and again until they caved and paid for Zofran.

(9) X - college friend of church friend A. This was severe, life-threatening HG that nearly ended her life. She said afterwards that she remembers little of her pregnancy because she was under the influence of so many drugs.

Okay, nine so far - that's a lot! So why is a rare disease so prevalent?

A couple of reasons pop to head, which have been mentioned before: (1) HG/severe morning sickness is one of the rare diseases which is unfortunately sometimes discounted, scorned, mocked, etc., rather than being taken seriously (as in "We all have morning sickness, so suck it up and deal with it!"), (2) HG can also be discounted by certain medical caregivers, which disempowers women to do anything about it, (3) When one recovers from HG, one has a baby to deal with! Not the best time for activism!

Any thoughts?

Have a wonderful day, everyone! Love to all!


  1. I don't have any thoughts, but our Genetic Mom had it too, with all of her pregnancies. My guess is that a lot has to do with the misconception or dismissal that "all women are sick in pregnancy" and then some comes with how subjective something like this CAN be. One person's "sick beyond measure" might be another person's "get over it." While both might have a legitimate medical condition, the latter person may not seek medical care, thus she is not factored in to the equation. I think there are a great many women to whom it would not even occur to GO to the doctor for something like this because "being sick all the time" is so typical of the American caricature of pregnancy.

  2. Thank you! I wish the resources available today were here even four years ago when I had my daughter. I was so sick immediately after getting pregnant. I lost 20 lbs in just a few weeks, and reglan wasn't working. My Dr. told me that another medication was available, but it was expensive and insurance wouldn't cover it. He didn't even try to submit for approval, or give me the name to check.

    It wasn't until I had lost 20 lbs and asked to see the midwife instead that I got some relief with Zofran. I was sick for 2 weeks postpartum. Almost four years later, I'm still getting dental restoration done. It ate my enamel, fillings, and crowns.

    Here's to a better time the next go round and a hope for a cure!


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