Pregnancy sickness: Cwmbran woman who vomited 20 times a day considered termination

  • Video report by ITV Wales Health Reporter Katie Fenton

A mum-of-two who experienced extreme sickness during her second pregnancy is now facing surgery after she claims she was refused sufficient treatment for the condition. 

Laura Magor, 34, from Cwmbran, was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum at the Grange Hospital. It left her vomiting up to 20 times a day and she lost almost six stone in weight.

The condition is the same as that experienced by the Princess of Wales while she was pregnant with her children.

It affects around three in 100 people with pregnancy sickness, or around 30,000 pregnancies a year in the UK.

For Laura, things got so bad that she even considered terminating her pregnancy because "every day was like hell".

"At its worst, I couldn't get out of bed, I couldn't shower, I just couldn't do anything. It was constant nausea," she said.

"There were times when I just slept on the floor of the bathroom."

The mother is now suffering with long-term physical and mental after-effects, which she believes could have been avoided with enhanced treatment.

Laura Magor said she lost up to six stone due to her severe morning sickness. Credit: Laura Magor

Laura spent several weeks in hospital while pregnant, often needing her fluids topped up and anti-sickness medication through an IV drip.

The trauma of this was compounded by the fact it was during the Covid pandemic, when visitors were restricted. 

  • For most women, HG improves or stops completely by around weeks 12 to 20, although for some women it can last longer.

  • One in five people with a severe case of HG will have symptoms throughout their whole pregnancy.

  • There can be complications if it is not managed properly with medical treatment.

The charity Pregnancy Sickness Support said Laura's experience is not unique, with many women terminating their pregnancies because of inadequate treatment for their symptoms.

Dr Caitlin Dean, a registered general nurse who specialises in the condition and chairperson for the charity, said: "Women are frequently denied any treatment at all and occasionally advised that their option is to terminate and otherwise wanted pregnancy.

"There are historical reasons around the stigma of the condition, it's traditionally been mixed up with the normal morning sickness, but hyperemesis is not a normal part of pregnancy.

"There's very little excuse for not treating this well, it's actually very cheap and easy to treat women with hyperemesis incredibly well."

Laura was given anti-sickness medication which only calmed her symptoms very slightly.

She claims that when she begged for steroids she was told no and that she should go to A&E if she felt that unwell.

  • Laura wants healthcare staff to receive better training when it comes to treating women with pregnancy sickness

Her son Harrison was born on 20 August 2021 but she said she is still experiencing extreme sickness and nausea and struggles to keep food down.

"I considered a termination because I felt so horrific. Harrison was a much-wanted baby, he was planned for and I sat there one day and said to my partner 'I can't do this anymore'. This was months and months of hell.

"It was really hard. Upsetting, traumatising and mentally, I'm still suffering with it now which I'm receiving counselling for."

As a result of her sickness, she has developed a hernia which she now needs surgery for.

She said she now looks at her child "running around" and feels awful that she ever considered terminating her pregnancy - but that is how extreme her symptoms were.

Laura has been waiting for an appointment to discuss having surgery for the hernia since October. It is likely this was caused by how much she was vomiting during her pregnancy.

She believes that had she received the right medication, she would not be experiencing these long-term physical effects.

Laura says she wants to raise awareness about the condition so other women know what treatment they can have. Credit: Laura Magor

Laura is also now seeing a counsellor because she has PTSD. 

She is keen to share her experience in the hope of raising awareness of the condition, as she fears there are other women out there who are suffering and don't know why or may not be receiving the right treatment.

She has heard of women who have gone as far as to terminate their pregnancies because they "weren't being treated properly".

For her, the condition is not talked about or understood enough and she feels frustrated by the lack of knowledge and empathy. 

She wants "health professionals to sit up and listen and realise that prevention is better than cure, and highlight the impact it has on the NHS when they don't consider the long-term and only the short".

A spokesman for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said: "We recognise that hyperemesis gravidarum can be a serious and debilitating condition during pregnancy and we do not underestimate the impact this has on the mother.

"We will always do everything we can to offer appropriate treatment for this condition.

"We're very sorry that Ms Magor does not feel she received adequate care from us and would urge her to contact us directly so that we can address her concerns and support her further."

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