Scottish mother calls for specialist support for extreme morning sickness

The Duchess of Cambridge suffered from the same sickness
The Duchess of Cambridge suffered from the same sickness
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A SCOTTISH mother who was sick up to 40 times a day while pregnant has called for specialist support for women who suffer from the extreme form of morning sickness - the same condition which affected the Duchess of Cambridge.

Natalie Robb, 26, was so ill she had to spend 15 days in hospital being treated for hyperemesis.

The illness - which can lead to severe dehdration - left Mrs Robb feeling so unwell she visited her GP every week.

And she revealed how she said she was two-thirds of the way through her pregnancy before she was referred to a consultant.

Mrs Robb, from Perth, has now called for dedicated help to be available for women suffering from hyperemesis - which is estimated to affect one in 50 of all mothers-to-be.

She has put forward a petition to the Scottish Parliament calling for hospitals to have specialist nurses to provide medical and emotional support for women affected by the condition.

Mrs Robb, who has a two-year-old daughter, described hyperemesis as being “by far the worst experience of my life”.

She said: “I was sick up to 40 times a day. It was miserable.”

In her petition, Mrs Robb described hyperemesis as “an extremely

severe illness resulting in many health problems for the mother

including dehydration, renal failure, malnutrition, blood clotting

problems, depression and on some occasions can result in death”.

But she said despite the condition being widely publicised when the

Duchess of Cambridge was admitted to hospital for three days last

month, it was still not widely understood.

Mrs Robb claimed too often hyperemesis was “not made out to be a big

deal” by medical professionals.

She told MSPs on Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee: “Midwives,

doctors and nurses are not given the specialist training needed to

care for women with hyperemesis.

“I spoke to a senior lecturer in midwifery at Napier University to

find out exactly what the students are taught.

“In the second year of their course they have a complications in

pregnancy module, which only has one session covering hyperemesis.

“This is nowhere near enough to educate a midwife on something up to

2% of patients may suffer from.”

Mrs Robb told the MSPs: “In total I spent 15 days in hospital, I

required an ambulance, I used out-of-hours GP services on several

occasions as well as my own GP weekly. I also required consultant-led

care due to hyperemesis.

“My hospital admissions alone would have cost more than £7,050.

“A hyperemesis pregnancy is costing the NHS far more than it has to

and putting a specialist nurse in place could hugely reduce these


She said that although there are no specialist hyperemesis nurses

anywhere in the UK, early pregnancy clinics at hospitals in England

and Wales treat women with the condition as outpatients, giving them

IV fluids and anti-sickness drugs.

She added that many hospitals south of the border had guidelines in

place on how to treat women with hyperemesis as day patients but said:

“In Scotland only one hospital, Forth Valley, appears to have these

guidelines in place.”

Mrs Robb called for more support to be made available, stating:

“Thousands of women, like myself, are desperate for help and support

during and after this illness.

“The lack of knowledge within the medical profession regarding this

condition can lead women to seek termination instead of suffering from


“A specialist doctor, nurse or midwife would be able to provide

medical and emotional support by providing the correct information,

holding counselling sessions and support groups.”

MSPs on the committee agreed to raise the issue with a number of

groups, including the British Medical Association, the National

Childbirth Trust, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College

of Midwives, as well as the Scottish Government.