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Any mom who's used or considered using antihistamines to treat morning sickness might want to read on.
One study has shown hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) sufferers who used antihistamines to quell their nausea to be at four times the risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes, including low-birth weight and premature birth.
For anyone who isn't familiar with HG, it's a debilitating form of morning sickness – Duchess Kate is a fellow sufferer – affecting just one to two percent of pregnant women.
According to one report, researchers compared the pregnancy outcomes of 254 women who suffered from HG, with those of 308 women who did not experience any morning sickness.
"Poor outcomes were associated with early start of symptoms and treatment with methylprednisolone, promethazine and other antihistamines; Benadryl, Gravol, Unisom, Vistaril/Atarax and Diclectin/Bendectin, independent of effectiveness."
The study's author, Dr. Marlena Fejzo, noted that 50-percent of the HG patients with adverse pregnancy outcomes had taken antihistamines. Also, and this is important information for all women, the antihistamines were reported to be effective in less than 20 percent of the cases.
I can attest to the fact that over the counter antihistamines do little to nothing to help alleviate the relentless nausea and vomiting that comes with HG. When I was pregnant with my second child, bent double with nausea, I went to my primary care doctor for help. He suggested a mixture of Unisom and vitamin B-6. Though it seemed odd, I was desperate and I tried it.
It didn't work. I eventually did get relief from Phenergan, a prescription medication containing Promethazine, one of the antihistamine drugs listed above. To be honest, I think the relief it brought was in the form of a sedative. I slept for up to 17 hours per day, I was bedridden at that point, on that stuff.
That said, women who are desperate enough to resort to medication to survive their pregnancies are most often women who feel they have no choice: It's die of dehydration or take the drugs. Phenergan, and Zofran, saved my and my baby's life. If dehydration didn't kill me, if the puking had gone on much longer, I might have aborted my baby or killed myself. I'm not trying to shock,but just telling my truth.
I'm glad to know HG is being researched, but I'm guessing the info provided by this study might only serve to make women more confused and conflicted. They need alternatives. They need support. They need a cure.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.