Hyperemesis Gravidarum or Severe Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy

Posted by Katie Moriarty on
© Neal Street Productions

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author.

“What do we see when we look in the mirror? Our truest selves or a faint approximation of someone we’d rather be. The mirror sees it all - our fears, our little triumphs, and keeps our secrets, holds our disappointments in…”

It is hard to believe that this was our final episode of the season. In the finale of Episode 8 Trixie and Sister Mary Cynthia worked together to support a deaf mother-to-be. We are left with worry for the young woman that has taken thalidomide for her morning sickness. Chummy is still processing her mother’s death. Trixie confronts her demons and takes the step towards recovery – recognition that there is a problem. And Fred’s daughter is not happy or welcoming of Violet but eventually comes around and there is a sincere and heartfelt wedding celebration. 

I always smile with some of the lines in the show such as when Chummy is talking to Sister Monica Joan about her mother’s ashes and says “let’s not take her to the party- she was a stickler for etiquette and wouldn’t go anywhere without an invitation.” And, I agree with Chummy—it would be good if the protein mask could be replaced by a fried egg sandwich or custard.

Sister Evangeline is very kind to Maureen- the young woman that is experiencing severe nausea and vomiting or hyperemesis gravidarum. Many women experience the common discomfort of nausea and vomiting but as we saw in this episode some women can have an extreme form called hyperemesis gravidarum. As a Modern Day Midwife, it made me really reflect on the tragedy and lessons learned from the pharmaceutical drug called thalidomide. Women that were exposed to this drug got relief from their symptoms but then were faced with infants born with something called phocomelia which is a limb deficiency where the long limbs don’t develop or only developed into stumps. There were other defects as well which impacted varied organs. In Western Europe there were approximately 10,000 cases and it is sad to think that only half of them survived. This drug is well known since it had such devastating negative impacts on infants and it is known as being the impetus for major change over the control and regulation of drugs in this country. I have added links below to read more about strategies to help with nausea and vomiting, significant milestones in the history of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a good chapter about drug use during pregnancy.

Looking forward to next season!

“Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between ends and beginnings. Conclusions do not always hurt and starting afresh may not feel entirely happy. Letting go brings peace and turns the tide towards the future.”

Acupressure for Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy
Historical Milestones of the FDA
Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Obstetric and Pediatric Pharmacology

KatieMoriarty.jpg Katie Moriarty (CNM, PhD, CAFCI, RN) is the Director of Nurse-Family Partnership at Detroit Wayne County Health Authority and currently serves on the regional board of directors for the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Prior to her current position, Katie served as the Associate Director of the Nurse-Midwifery Education Program at the University of Michigan.
Read More About Katie |  Read All Posts by Katie

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