For women with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) seeking support and medical assistance, validation can mean the difference between proactive care and worsening symptoms. For her InStyle article, “Here’s Why The Term “Morning Sickness” Is So Problematic,” Cassie Shortsleeve interviews Dr. Marlena Fejzo, USC geneticist and member of the HER Foundation Board of Directors, and cites the HER Foundation.
For the majority of pregnant women, the first trimester is riddled with nausea, tiredness, and general discomfort. For most of these women, the symptoms fade after a few months. But for women diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), these seemingly “normal” first trimester symptoms can become dangerous.
Shortsleeve explains, “‘Sometimes there’s a suggestion that the experience is psychological; women are making it up.’ As a two time HG mom, I experienced this first hand. I was told that this was all in my head and that if I just sucked it up and ate some crackers before bed, things would resolve around 12 weeks. But there is a danger in this logic even if my symptoms subsided at 12 weeks (which they did not, no matter how many crackers I tried). If we do not validate what pregnant women are experiencing, we risk serious health complications for mom and baby.”
The awareness brought to HG by figures like Princess Kate, Kim Kardashian, Kelly Clarkson, and Amy Schumer is invaluable to the HG community because it allows the public to have a “face to the name.” And the hope is, through this awareness, more loved ones acknowledge and validate the experience of HG survivors and encourage them to seek medical advice. With good medical care, preventable complications and death can be prevented.