Women suffering severe pregnancy sickness are not getting required support, new research shows

March 14, 2017
Credit: University of Plymouth

New research suggests that more than half of women suffering with severe pregnancy sickness – Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) – are not given the help they need to deal with the condition; leaving some with no choice but to terminate wanted pregnancies.

The study was carried out by Caitlin Dean, PhD student in the School of Health Professions, alongside charities Pregnancy Sickness Support (PSS) and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS).

The researchers surveyed the experiences of 394 women, finding that only 34 per cent of participants felt they were given accurate information to make informed decisions about medications and treatment.

Many women reported being given false information about the risks of drugs such as Ondansetron, a treatment listed in the Royal Collage of Obstetrician and Gynaecologists Greentop guidelines as safe and effective for treating hyperemesis.

One study participant told of her experience:

"I was told [Ondansetron] was the strongest drug which isn't true and made to believe when it didn't work that thing else could be done. I terminated my baby because of this and now spiralled into depression."

Half of women found accessing treatment was difficult because they were often not believed when presenting to their doctor or midwife, and 25 per cent of women felt they were not treated with dignity and respect.

The research compared women's experiences of treatment in hospital wards and HG units – specialist centres within early units and gynaecology wards where women can attend for rapid IV rehydration and return home the same day.

Women were significantly more satisfied with treatment in day units and spend half as much time in hospital, representing a significant cost saving for the NHS.

Where care was good the impact was substantial, with women thanking their for enabling them to continue their pregnancy. One study participant praised the care she received:

"The last time I was treated there I had opted to terminate the pregnancy as I just couldn't cope. This time I felt supported every moment… I was given clear treatment options but without false promises, and I was also told that I can go back in whenever I want. I was told 'you know your body best, if you feel ill we'll treat you'…They did a really good job."

Lead researcher Caitlin, who is also chairperson of Pregnancy Sickness Support, said:

"It is vital that service development benefits patients and provides satisfaction. It is encouraging that women are satisfied with treatment in HG Day Units as they are certainly cost effective. However it is important that in whatever setting women receive treatment they are treated with dignity and respect, that their symptoms are acknowledged and believed and that the information they receive is accurate and evidence-based. We may not have a cure for HG yet but we can certainly improve care and treatment through new services, education and awareness."

Clare Murphy, Director of External Affairs at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said:

"Any women with this condition who knows she cannot continue her pregnancy must always have swift access to high quality, compassionate abortion care, and deciding to end a pregnancy is something she should never feel ashamed of. However we can and must do more to ensure that women are given all the information they need to make their own decisions about the medication and treatments which may enable them to continue a much wanted pregnancy. Healthcare professionals must trust – if a woman says she is ill and unable to cope – she should be believed and supported, not dismissed.

The full study, titled 'Satisfaction for of in day care' settings compared to hospital admissions, is available to view in midwifery journal MIDIRS Midwifery Digest.

Explore further: More support needed for mums after perinatal loss

More information: www.midirs.org/satisfaction-tr … y-settings-hospital/

Related Stories

More support needed for mums after perinatal loss

March 13, 2017
More support services for pregnant women who have previously suffered miscarriage, stillbirth or the loss of a newborn are needed, according to University of Queensland researchers.

Preemptive treatment of severe morning sickness decreases suffering for moms-to-be

February 11, 2013
`In a study to be presented on February 14 at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in San Francisco, California, researchers will present data showing the effectiveness of preemptive ...

Hyperemesis gravidarum: no ordinary morning sickness

December 4, 2012
For anyone who has had hyperemesis gravidarum, the pregnancy-induced vomiting that has caused Prince William's wife Kate to be hospitalised, the term "morning sickness" is way off the mark.

Hyperemesis gravidarum during the second trimester is more likely to cause placental complications

January 29, 2013
Pregnancies complicated by hyperemesis gravidarum in the second trimester of pregnancy are at a much higher risk of associated placental dysfunction disorders such as placental abruption and small for gestational age babies ...

Women unaware of specialist phone services in late pregnancy

March 5, 2015
Researchers in England have found women are accessing advice via out-of-hours services when they could be accessing maternity services directly. Also, the out of hours service receives many inquiries from women in the first ...

ACOG: Best evidence for rx of nausea, vomiting in pregnancy

August 20, 2015
(HealthDay)—In a practice bulletin published in the September issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, recommendations are presented for the management of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.

Recommended for you

Women exposed to smoke while in womb more likely to miscarry

July 13, 2017
Women exposed to cigarette smoke while in their mothers' wombs are more likely to experience miscarriage as adults, according to new research from the University of Aberdeen.

Lack of a hormone in pregnant mice linked to preeclampsia

June 30, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers from Singapore, the Netherlands and Turkey has isolated a hormone in pregnant mice that appears to be associated with preeclampsia—a pregnancy-related condition characterized by ...

Aspirin reduces risk of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women

June 28, 2017
Taking a low-dose aspirin before bed can reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia, which can cause premature birth and, in extreme cases, maternal and foetal death.

The biology of uterine fluid: How it informs the fetus of mom's world

June 22, 2017
A developing fetus bathes in a mixture of cellular secretions and proteins unique to its mother's uterus. Before fertilization, the pH of uterine fluid helps create a conducive environment for sperm migration, and afterward, ...

New clues in puzzle over pre-eclampsia and cholesterol regulation

June 21, 2017
Scientists studying a mystery link between the dangerous pregnancy complication pre-eclampsia and an increased risk of heart disease in later life for both mother and child have uncovered important new clues.

Are maternal hormones different when carrying a boy or a girl?

June 15, 2017
With advances in prenatal testing it's now possible to find out whether a pregnancy will result in a male or female baby as early as eight weeks' gestation.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.