‘This Is How I’ve Looked For Nine Months': Fifi Box On Hyperemesis Gravidarum In Pregnancy
Radio host Fifi Box has shared her experience of hyperemsis gravidarum (HG), a pregnancy related condition that can require treatment with IV fluids and anti-nausea medication.
The 42-year-old, who is pregnant with her second child through IVF and an anonymous sperm donor, has said the common condition has left her 'bedridden' and often horizontal during the nine months of her pregnancy.
“This is the reality of how I have looked every day for nine months, debilitated by nausea and bedridden,” she wrote along with a collage of selfies of herself looking unwell.
“[HG] is a terribly isolating journey of chronic nausea with no relief. I have felt poisoned every second of this pregnancy, it’s like having gastro every minute, every hour of every day for nine months.
“It is possibly the greatest mental and physical challenge of my life.”
Fifi takes issue with the fact that HG is often referred to an extreme form of morning sickness, which she doesn't believe does the illness justice.
“As fellow sufferer @amyschumer said ‘comparing HG to morning sickness is like having an arrow through your skull and saying it's like a minor headache’,” Fifi wrote.
Comedian Amy Schumer, who gave birth to her first child -- a son named Gene -- in May, suffered from HG during her pregnancy and was hospitalised due to it in her second trimester.
“I did a show last night, I’m doing a show tonight and I’ve been throwing up all day,” Amy says in a video she shared.
HG became more widely discussed when the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, was hospitalised with the condition during all three of her pregnancies.
Fifi said her six-year-old daughter Trixie, who she shares with ex partner Grant Kenny, has been helping to make her feel better.
“The only way through it is my daughter’s smiling face every day, the support of incredible friends and family and knowing that each day I’m getting closer to this much wanted, longed-for baby angel.”
Speaking to 10 daily, obstetrician and gynecologist Dr Gino Pecoraro said there are lots of reasons why women suffer from HG during pregnancy; such as having multiple pregnancies or a larger than usual placenta.
"The hormones have a direct effect on the nausea centre of the brain which is what causes HG," Pecoraro explained. "They also impact sugar metabolism and even a psychosomatic component, in some cases, can cause HG."
Dr Pecoraro said HG is very common and far worse than morning sickness, which usually only last for the first trimester. HG can and usually does continue throughout the entire pregnancy, and he knows women who have terminated their pregnancies due to its extreme side effects.
Some women also get similar symptoms from oestrogen in the pill, he added.
"Treatment includes frequent small carbohydrate rich meals, avoiding strong triggering smells (such as the cooking of meat), and various medications," he told 10 daily.
Dr Pecoraro said the main medication used to treat HG is currently not on the PBS in Australia and costs roughly $20 a tablet, which means treatment can quickly become costly.
He added that 'natural' therapies, such as the addition of ginger to the diet can help to ease its symptoms.
"The carbohydrate in gingernut biscuits may help more than the ginger, if it doesn't work you're not doing yourself any harm."
Traditionally, increasing Vitamin B6 was also advised, though according to Dr Pecoraro, increasing this too much can cause its own problems, which is why it isn't as widely recommended as it used to be.
Featured image: www.instagram.com/fifi_box/