Right to reply from the Royal College of GPs

I reached out earlier this year to the Royal College of GPs and asked them to comment on some of the accounts and experiences that women have had with GPs when suffering with HG.

This is what they replied.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Vomiting in pregnancy is hugely varied between people, but can be very debilitating for many and GPs are very sympathetic to the impact that severe nausea can have on the health of pregnant women, especially at a time when they often already feel anxious and vulnerable.

“Morning sickness is different for every woman, but GPs will always try to find a solution that works for the individual patient, always starting with non-medication treatments such as recommending plenty of rest, staying hydrated, and avoiding foods or smells that make the patient feel sick.

“However, a significant number of women can be helped by anti-sickness medication – the majority of these drugs are not formally licensed for use in pregnant women, although there are years of experience demonstrating that they are safe.  

“There is currently only one drug that is actually licensed for morning sickness in general practice, but it is not in widespread use, and many women will only consider this as an absolute last resort once every other avenue has been explored.

“GPs are family doctors who want the very best for all our patients so we refute any suggestion that many GPs are not giving women accurate information about how to manage their nausea, or that women are being turned away. The GP consultation is a non-judgmental space where all patients can share their concerns with highly trained and highly skilled experts in the ‘whole person’, so to accuse us wholesale of ‘not believing’ pregnant women is undeserved and very unfair.

“Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a specific, severe and potentially life-threatening condition, causing severe dehydration and weight loss, that in the some cases can only be treated by remaining in hospital.  In these situations, GPs and their teams will work closely with their patient and consider specialist intervention in order to find the right solution.”