Home Featured Mums Mummy Stories Hyperemesis Gravidarum in Kenya: Vicky Gachuche’s Experience with Extreme Nausea and Vomiting...

Hyperemesis Gravidarum in Kenya: Vicky Gachuche’s Experience with Extreme Nausea and Vomiting in her Pregnancies


Victoria Gachuche, 35, is a mother of two boys. Her first born is aged 2 years while her youngest son is six months old. While she is happy to be a mom, she admits that the journey to motherhood has not been easy, largely because she was plagued by a medical condition in her two pregnancies that left her sick and in bed. She suffered from a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum, and for many women who suffer from this condition, they say it totally takes away the joy and happiness of a pregnancy.

Vicky tells us how she coped with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) in her two pregnancies.

**On Christmas Day of 2011, I suspected I had a bad case of food poisoning and went to hospital, where I was admitted. But Shock on me, it was nothing close to food poisoning. I was shocked to find out I was pregnant!

During the pregnancy, I was hardly able to cope because I had serious smell sensitivity and would experience a lot of dizziness. I would vomit about 15 times a day and I hardly got out of bed. I was too weak and sick. The doctors told me that my HCG and oestrogen levels were so high they thought I was either expecting twins or I was having an ectopic pregnancy. All I remember of my first pregnancy is that they were very sad times. It was a difficult pregnancy I must say.

When I got pregnant for the second time, I was super worried because I knew I would go through the same thing again, perhaps it would even be worse. And indeed, worse it was! I lost about 5 kgs in 2 weeks and I ended up in the ER many times.

This time though I tried quite a few things to help alleviate the nausea and vomiting in the first trimester and bit of the second trimester.

The first thing I did was to ensure that I was always well hydrated –either by IV or orally. This was because I had come to realize that dehydration makes the nausea worse, so I had to keep myself permanently hydrated.

Because I was always too weak to stand, I had to make do with baths where I would soak myself in the bath tub. Thankfully, I discovered that soaking in the bath tub somehow took away the nausea.

I also always had to have a lemon with me incase I smelt something that could trigger the nausea as I was very sensitive to smells and would easily throw up. I found out that lemon helped me contain the nauseous feelings.

As the pregnancy progressed and I was finally able to eat, I completely avoided carbohydrates and only ate protein. I know it sounds crazy, especially for a pregnant woman but it somehow helped.

At some point though, things got too severe and I had to be medicated. I was put on ondansetron (a drug usually prescribed for cancer patients) & B6 with an antihistamine and prednidoxin. This I was given about 10 weeks into the pregnancy and though none of them took away the nausea, atleast the vomiting stopped. These got me through to about 16 weeks, where I was then able to slowly wean off the drugs because the nausea had subsided.

Having the extreme nausea was probably the most depressing time of my life. I felt like a wimp for not being able to cope with “morning sickness” like other pregnant women. I found it to be a very isolating time because most people don’t seem to understand this condition. Aren’t pregnant women supposed to be happy and glowing afterall?

I was however lucky to have a very good support system in the form of my husband who helped me through both pregnancies. He was especially very key during the second pregnancy as our first child was still very young and he took up the role of both mother and father.

Today, I share my experience so that I can try to increase people’s understanding on the condition of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). This condition not only affects the pregnant woman, but if affects her entire family, and so it is good for them to know how they can help her. They can help by taking off some responsibilities around the house off her, such as cooking, cleaning, babysitting and taking care of the older children.

Pregnant women with HG do not pretend to be sick or exaggerating their feelings, or looking for sympathy. HG can be very depressing and it is good if the woman has a solid support system around her.**

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Maryanne W. Waweru is a Kenyan mum raising her two sons in Nairobi. A journalist, Maryanne is passionate about telling stories and hopes that through her writing, her readers learn something new, feel encouraged, inspired, and appreciative of what they have in their lives. Maryanne's writing focuses on motherhood, women and lifestyle. "Telling stories is the only thing I know how to do," she says.


  1. Pole sana Vicky. I had really bad morning sickness from around week 6 of my third pregnancy. I was vomiting and feeling so sick for three days. I couldn’t eat nor drink and I was sure it was a very bad case of food poisoning until it occurred to me that no one else in my family was ill yet we had all eaten the same food. Once I knew I was pregnant, I started taking the usual home remedies for morning sickness with mixed success depending on how bad the nausea was. My morning sickness usually subsides from around 12-14 weeks. I had not had morning sickness as bad as that during my previous pregnancies so it goes to show that each pregnancy is unique. One thing I have learnt about morning/ all day and night sickness is to never get hungry or dehydrated and to get plenty of fresh air. Just like Vicky said, sipping on some water even when it tastes vile helps. I drunk it through a straw. I also found oranges, peppermint, red
    raspberry leaf tea, iron supplement and exercise helped.

  2. I also went through this in 2008/2009. I could not keep anything down – not food or water – and when I went for re-hydration after every 2 wks I would start throwing up even before I finished taking the drip. For a whole 7 months! The worst experience of my life. I was on a cocktail of drugs including Ondasetron.

    My pre-pregnancy weight was 62kgs. When I went to give birth – I weighed 58kgs – this including the baby!

    Somewhere down the line I discovered I could only keep food when I ate after midnight – but before 5 am. I dont know what worked behind this.

    It was a very depressing experience but every time I see my son, I am so happy.

  3. Now imagine going through all that nausea and vomiting for almost 3 months and then have a miscarriage? There is nothing as heartbreaking as this.


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