How to help your friend with Hyperemesis Gravidarum

hyperemesis survivor

In celebration of my wonderful friend Molly surviving the most horrific nine months of pregnancy and finally being free from the placenta of doom . . . today I’m sharing my tips for helping out your friend when she’s suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

hyperemesis survivor

Let’s be clear.  Hyperemesis is not morning sickness.  Hyperemesis is distressing, debilitating, and potentially life threatening.

hyperemesis definition

Although Hyperemesis Gravidarum is thought to affect less than 2 per cent of pregnancies, I have definitely seen more than my fair share of friends suffer at the hands of this condition.  They know first hand that Hyperemesis can lead to miscarriage, termination or premature birth.  They know that Hyperemesis can rob them (and their family) of nine months of their lives.  They know that Hyperemesis can rob them of the happiness their pregnancy should bring.  They also know that their baby is worth it – every single one of them has gone on to fight their way through at least one subsequent pregnancy (and when I say fight, I mean fight).

1. Be Practical 

When you are so sick you can’t get out of bed or think straight, keeping your house in order is not at the forefront of your mind.  Do the washing up, take round some shopping, run the hoover around – do what you can around the house so that your friend and her partner just have one less thing to think about.

2. Don’t wear perfume

A heightened sense of smell comes as standard in pregnancy – but for suffers of Hyperemesis this kind of problem can be extreme.  You don’t want to be the reason your friend is rushing for the kitchen sink for the eleventy billionth time that day.  Swerve the fragrances.

3. Make plans

When you’re in the depths of Hyperemesis life can be fairly dark and depressing.  Make plans so your friend has something to look forward to but accept that they may have to be cancelled at the last minute.  If your friend already has other children, can you take them out somewhere to keep them entertained while Mum rests?

4. Be there

Just be there for her to moan when it’s hard and then there to celebrate the small wins.  Help her to stay positive and keep her focused on the end goal.  (Though bear in mind that sometimes the end goal can feel just too far away and actually all she wants to do is get through the day – in which case help her to be focused on that too!)

5. Don’t forget about her partner

He’s spinning a whole world of plates now and his own needs, both practical and emotional, may well get sidelined when everyone is worrying about your friend.  Just check in with him and make sure he’s got someone to talk to if he wants to, that you will help out with stuff if he needs you to.  It will matter so much to your friend to know you’re looking out for both of them.

6. Don’t offer her ginger biscuits

No matter what worked for you, your mate or your neighbour’s cat – the chances are someone has already mentioned it and she’s already tried it.  HG needs medication, not ginger biscuits.

Have you suffered HG?  Do you have any other suggestions on how to help out when your friend is suffering.

More information and support for those suffering from HG & their families can be found here:

Pregnancy Sickness Support

Help HER

27 thoughts on “How to help your friend with Hyperemesis Gravidarum

  1. I suffered with HG with both my pregnancies. The first time people just didn’t understand it and my manager was terrible. All she kept telling me was to eat ginger biscuits because it worked for her. The second time around people understood a bit more because the year before Kate Middleton had it, which raised awareness in the news. I was a lot worse this time and put our 3 ribs from the constant sickness. It’s a really scary time and I know my family felt pretty helpless. Alice and I would just camp out in the toilet. She was probably the only 2 year old that knew to run to the toilet when she was sick!! Great tips to help, I would have welcomed any of these when I was suffering x

    1. OMG I suffered 8 months of sheer torture with Hyperremesis gravidarum….I had never heard of the term until my Son…And What a Gift. I would do it all again. My family felt helpless, I became Bed bound, I loat all weight…it wasnt pretty. Going out? I was house bound for the 8 months!
      The only medication I was given was a saline drip.

  2. These are really great tips for anyone suffering from HG. One of my friends went through the same thing x

  3. I suffered terribly with both my pregnancies for the entirety of both. I couldn’t function as a human, never mind as a parent to the eldest who was 2 years old at the time. The first time I was admitted to hospital with my second child, my internal organs were failing because I was so dehydrated as I literally vomitted 30 + times a day and could even keep moisture from ice cubes down. I ended up having daily antiemetic/stemetil injections to help ease done of vomitting (despite I was sick 10+ times a day and felt sick pretty much the entire time). Support is the most crucial thing. I only had my husband with my parents being out of the picture it is a lonely place to be and feel broken by a wanted pregnancy ending up like that. So, yes help around house, be there to take care of everything, look after older children (absolutely). It is nothing like pregnancy sickness, it is debilitating and should be treated as such. My thought are with any ladies going through this as I wouldn’t wish this on anybody. Keep going, accept all the help and keep telling yourself you will get through it and every day you do is a success xxxx

  4. I suffered terribly with both my pregnancies for the entirety of both. I couldn’t function as a human, never mind as a parent to the eldest who was 2 years old at the time. The first time I was admitted to hospital with my second child, my internal organs were failing, because I was so dehydrated (I literally vomitted 30+ times a day and couldn’t even keep moisture from ice cubes down). I eventually ended up having daily antiemetic/stemetil injections to help ease some of vomitting (despite these, I was still sick 10+ times a day and felt nauseous the entire time). Support is the most crucial thing. I only had my husband with my parents being out of the picture. It is such a lonely place to be and you feel so broken by a wanted pregnancy ending up like that. So, I say yes to all friends and family to help around house (however, using all sensitivity you have as mum will probably be feeling low and like they are failing), be there to take care of everything, and look after older children (absolutely). It is nothing like pregnancy sickness, it is debilitating and should be treated as such. My thoughts are with any ladies going through this as I wouldn’t wish this on anybody else. Those ladies are truly strong and can keep going. They need to go easy on themselves, accept all the help offered and keep telling themselves “I will get through it and every day I do is a success and one day less!” xxxx

  5. Brilliant post and glad to see that you are helping highlight it. I had this so wrote a post about what can help although those that get it suffer at different levels. I had to go to hospital for rehydration it was hell!

  6. I was so sick with both the boys luckily only for 16 weeks, but it was so awful, I lots over a stone both times I just couldn’t eat, and ginger biscuits and crystallised ginger eeew people were constantly trying to force feed me it, I cant even smell raw ginger now it just brings back the memory I can just about manage ginger bread, great post x

  7. Oh I remember it well!! I was still vomiting numerous times a day up to week 34. I lost so much weight once I had given birth to my twins I looked like a totally different person. My heart goes out to anyone suffering with this as it really is awful

  8. Is this what Kate Middleton suffered from – it was all over the news at the time and sounded horrific. Awful that it just gets lumped in with morning sickness when it’s so much worse

  9. Hyperemesis Gravidarum just sounds absolutely dreadful, and your post will definitely come in handy for whoever knows a pregnant friend who suffers from the condition.

  10. I had HG with both my girls and was hospitalised and given various medications to try. I was also really sick after labour and needed anti sickness jabs then too because of HG. It was hell and not enough understand just how bad it can be.

  11. What a debilating condition. You have shared some good tips and I bet your friend feel so much better now she has that wee bundle of joy 🙂

  12. You sound like you’ve been a real rock to your friend! I laughed at the ginger biscuit comment, I’m on day 2 of suffering from Norovirus and the amount of people who’ve suggested them to me, I don’t want a bloody biscuit!!!

  13. My friend also struggled with this through her first pregnancy. You’ve got some great tips in this post and I found it very helpful! xo

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