A woman who had severe morning sickness during her pregnancies now eats with just her gums after losing all her teeth.
Louise Cooper, 24, was diagnosed with hypermesis gravidarum (HG) during her first pregnancy, and even considered getting an abortion when she was left vomiting and bed bound for days on end.
The mum-of-two fell pregnant with her first child when she was 19 and immediately had morning sickness. Within weeks she was admitted to hospital with dehydration and lack of nutrition after almost continuously throwing up.
Her sickness didn’t stop until she gave birth to little Zachary, but the pregnancy took a huge toll on her body.
The vomiting meant acid was left on her teeth, and at 16 weeks pregnant a tooth fell out and into her hand.
Louise said: “I was at work and my tooth just fell out, I caught it in my hand. I was so upset I had to go home.
“I had perfect teeth before I got pregnant. I had my braces off and they were great, but I was throwing up and the acid was remaining on my teeth.
“I wasn’t cleaning my teeth or using mouthwash as much as I would like as I would just throw up again.”
By her third trimester Louise was losing a tooth a week and had just six damaged and broken ones left when she went into labour.
Around four months later she had surgery to remove the remaining ones.
She has replacement dentures, but they now don’t fit in her mouth as her wisdom teeth have come in, so she doesn’t wear them.
Louise says permanent replacements would be in the region of £20,000, money she just doesn’t have as a stay-at-home mum.
Brave Louise decided to have a second child and fell pregnant again, hoping HG wouldn’t return.
But it did and once again she was left bed bound and dreading every minute of her pregnancy.
She said: “By seven weeks, I was bed bound. I couldn’t eat, drink, walk, stand, move or even lift my head without vomiting.
“On top of that, I had debilitating nausea that never eased. It was mentally draining.”
Despite desperately wanting another child, Louise said she knew she was facing months of feeling like she couldn’t take any more and talked to her partner about ending the pregnancy.
She said: “Both times I was in hospital with both my pregnancies, I’d been there about four or five days, there was no let up in the vomiting, no relief.
“No-one wants to terminate your own child but you want to take away the thing that is making you seriously ill.”
Louise said it was just the morning before her termination that she decided to continue on, despite what it was doing to her.
Even after Ollie, who is now almost two, was born she is still taking anti-sickness medication – but is still considering having a third child to make her family complete.
Louise is not alone in thinking about a terminating her pregnancy due to HG.
According to the HER foundation 15% of pregnancies are terminated due to HG and many more are almost terminated out of desperation.
The foundation says their survey of reasons given for the terminations were inability to care for the family and self (66.7%), fear that they or their baby could die (51.2%), or that the baby would be abnormal (22.0%).
Pregnancy Sickness Support is a registered UK charity working to improve care, treatment and support for women suffering from Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy (NVP) and the severe form of the condition; Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). Call them on 024 7638 2020 or contact the WhatsApp text help on 07899 245001
The HER Foundation A non-profit organisation that provides support, groundbreaking research, advocacy, and education on hyperemesis. Since 2000, it has been the leading source of information on HG and have helped hundreds of thousands of families across the globe.
The same women were three times as likely to state that their health care providers were uncaring or did not understand how sick they were.
Louise added that she was given help from Pregnancy Sickness Support and now works with them to talk to other women in her situation.
She added: “Until Kate Middleton told people she had HG there wasn’t much know about it.
“Even midwives, nurses and doctors just don’t know enough about the condition.”