Pregnant women who suffer from extreme morning sickness are also at risk of severe mental health issues, according to a recent study.
Researchers from UK’s Plymouth University examined the impact hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) has on a pregnant woman’s psychological state, finding that it can be so debilitating that some women experience suicidal thoughts.
HG, which is characterised by sustained and excessive nausea and vomiting, affects up to 1.5 per cent of pregnant women including Kate Middleton who has been treated for HG in all three of her pregnancies.
As part of their review, published in the British Journal of Midwifery, the team examined a wide range of published material dealing with the condition to assess its impacts on pregnant women. They found overwhelmingly that it negatively impacted a woman’s ability to function in a range of areas at work and home.
From studies spanning more than twenty years, four main themes related to mental health and wellbeing were identified: social isolation, being unable to care for themselves and others (employment pressure, need to access additional childcare), negative psychological effects (depression, anxiety, guilt and loss of self), and a sense of dying, suicidal thoughts and/or termination of the pregnancy.
“One woman considered termination, another repeatedly asked doctors to induce labour early to end the sickness, and others mentioned the possibility of their own death; either fearing it or wishing for it,” the authors explain, adding that given suicide is the leading cause of maternal death in the 12 months post-partum,…