HER Foundation Unites Women Worldwide for HG Awareness Day on May 15

Campaign advocates need for education and action for mothers and babies affected by Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), a frequently misdiagnosed pregnancy disease

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2013
Recently put in international spotlight by the hospitalization of mom-to-be Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, pregnancy disease Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is the focus of HG Awareness Day on May 15. Sponsored by the HER Foundation (www.helpher.org), HG Awareness Day will bring together HG survivor moms and maternal-child health advocates worldwide for education and action on this serious but frequently misdiagnosed condition. A grassroots social media campaign will mobilize supporters around "Helping Moms-to-Be with HG" (#HGaware), following the first annual Mother's Day HER 5K Run & Walk (www.HER5K.org) in Washington, DC.

Marked by rapid weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration and unrelenting nausea and vomiting, HG - unlike the morning sickness of healthy, normal pregnancies - can lead to serious complications for mothers and their babies. Research shows the disease increases the risk of miscarriage, premature delivery and low birth weight. HG is the second leading cause of hospitalization during pregnancy, impacting up to half a million women each year, yet little funding is granted for research.

"Until Duchess Kate was hospitalized, most people had never heard of hyperemesis, yet many have known a mom-to-be who has suffered from this extremely severe illness, possibly misdiagnosed as 'morning sickness,'" said Kimber MacGibbon, HG survivor and co-founder of the HER Foundation. "Sadly, many women's cases are so lengthy and debilitating that they limit future pregnancies and 15% of HG pregnancies are lost to therapeutic terminations, citing "no hope for relief," and current treatments are not adequate to prevent termination of these planned, wanted pregnancies. HG Awareness Day will rally women in bringing attention to this overlooked disease that turns the joy of pregnancy into a nightmare for many."

HER Foundation offers lifesaving information, research and forums to connect and equip women, including new guidelines for severity levels of the disease. With the mildest HG cases ending by mid-pregnancy and weight loss of about five percent, the most severe cases can last until delivery with severe weight loss and lengthy hospitalization for treatment with fluids, medications and nutritional support. HER Foundation-funded research shows the recurrence risk of HG is greater than 70 percent.

"Having a sibling with HG also increases the risk factor for the disease, showing a strong genetic component, according to our research published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology," said UCLA research scientist Marlena Fejzo, Harvard PhD. "We are beginning to make progress in determining the causes and impacts of HG, yet funding is very limited with essentially no government dollars going to this issue and not nearly enough awareness within the medical community."

Supporters can take part in HG Awareness Day on Facebook and Twitter (#HGaware) by downloading and using the HG Awareness Day Action Guide on the HER Foundation homepage http://www.helpher.org and by donating to the HER5K, funding HG research and honoring HG moms and babies.

About HER Foundation

HER Foundation is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization with the mission to provide education and support to those seeking effective management strategies for HG. Founded by fellow HG survivors Kimber MacGibbon, RN, and Ann Marie King the foundation serves as a support network and voice for HG sufferers and their families. Through its collaboration with health professionals, educational outreach and online forums, HER works to improve understanding, diagnosis and treatment of HG and the impact on pregnant women and their children. For information visit HelpHER.org

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