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'I didn't think I would survive the pregnancy'.

Byline: Mark Smith Health Correspondent mark.smith@walesonline.co.uk

EXPECTANT mum Hannah Ahmed found herself dangerously dehydrated when she suffered one of the worst cases of pregnancy sickness her doctors had ever seen.

The condition, known as hyperemesis gravidarum, which the Duchess of Cambridge also suffered from, left the Cardiff woman bed-bound, malnourished and in need a constant hospital treatment.

But 12 months after the birth of her son Remzi-Evan, the 37-year-old has spoken out about the deep inadequacies in provision for people with hyperemesis gravidarum in Wales.

"It was the worst case my doctors had come across in 30 years," said Hannah, from Llandaff, who was admitted to hospital 20 times during her pregnancy.

"It was absolutely horrendous.

"Only the thought of my baby being born got me through it.

"I literally just lay in a bed, either in hospital or my own home, more or less 24/7. "I would just concentrate on breathing and staying alive."

Hannah, who suffered very mild pregnancy sickness before the birth of her first child Orit-Rhian four years ago, said finding suitable medication to reduce her constant vomiting the second time around proved diffi-cult.

She took a selection of eight prescribed medications, two of which, mirtazapine and ondansetron, were not available on the NHS in Wales.

"Ondansetron cost PS9.50 a tablet and I had to take three or four of these a day.

I had to get the NHS to agree to fund it.

"I was just so weak. The only fluid I could take was through an intravenous drip."

Once she was officially diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum, Dr Bryan Beattie, of Innermost Healthcare, prescribed a steroid known as prednisolone which helped Hannah drink small amounts - but she was still unable to eat due to the nausea and vomiting.

"My sense of taste was so acute that I could identify each brand of bottled mineral water," she added.

"I basically starved for nine months, I lost 40lb and my kidney function reduced to 30%. "Women like me are sometimes mistaken for drug users. People would see me throwing up in the car park with needle marks all over my arms. It was horrible."

Doctors at the University Hospital of Wales said Hannah needed to undergo a caesarean section because she was too frail to give birth naturally.

And on the eve of Remzi-Evan's first birthday, Hannah is still on the slow road to recovery.

Her kidney function has improved to 80%, but she still has problems eating and follows a specialist diet.

"I didn't think I would survive the pregnancy," she added.

"Because of the medication, lots of women are told it will harm the baby, so I was obviously delighted when my child was born healthy and without any abnormalities."

Hannah believes it is "inappropriate" for women suffering hyperemesis gravidarum to be taken to an obstetrics ward with woman who suffer major complications during child birth.

She would alike each hospital to have a separate assessment clinic and hydration unit for those suffering the horrific effects of hyperemesis gravidarum.

And she said the Welsh NHS should provide vitamin B6, prophylactic medications and IV hydration at home.

But Hannah said it would be wrong to compare her scenario with the Duchess of Cambridge, who also experienced hyperemesis gravidarum in the lead-up to the birth of Prince George.

"She's got access to the best drugs and the best treatment, so you can't use her as an example," said Hannah.

"Although I'm much better now, I am still under the care of the gastroenterology department at the University Hospital of Wales."

This week, a report by the charity Pregnancy Sickness Support states 10,000 women a year in the UK will suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum.

Medical experts believe it is linked to the changing hormones in the body that occur during pregnancy, and there is some evidence that it runs in families.

Scientists say women who experience extreme morning sickness during pregnancy are three times more likely to have children with developmental issues, including attention disorders and language and speech delays, than woman who have normal nausea and vomiting.

CAPTION(S):

Orit-Rhian with her baby brother Remzi-Evan

Hannah Ahmed, of Llandaff, suffered with severe sickness when she was pregnant with son Remzi-Evan, now one
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 27, 2015
Words:712
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