A Scots mum who lost more than two stone during pregnancy after suffering from severe morning sickness says her baby was lucky to survive.
Ashleigh Kirkwood was left so malnourished from constant vomiting that when her son Jacob was born his umbilical cord snapped off because of damage to the placenta.
The 27-year-old from East Kilbride, was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum when she was eight-weeks pregnant in 2013 and was being sick throughout the entire nine months, up to three times an hour.
Speaking ahead of Hyperemesis Gravidarum awareness day on May 15, Ashleigh said: "My sickness started when I was six weeks pregnant, a couple of times a day. Then I hit eight weeks and from the minute I opened my eyes in the morning, I was vomiting. I was being sick two or three times an hour. I would walk to work and embarrassingly have to stop countless times on the way to be sick."
Ashleigh, who is married to Brian, 30, was then diagnosed with the pregnancy condition, which causes severe nausea, constant vomiting, weight loss and dehydration.
Famously, Kate Middleton also suffered from the complication in all three of her pregnancies.
Ashleigh had to give up her job and was essentially house-bound until she gave birth.
She said: "I was signed off work and stuck in the house all time time because I couldn’t go anywhere. I knew with the amount of times I was being sick it would make it impossible. It got to the point that I would wonder how could I still be being sick because I had nothing left in my body.
"I ended up in hospital and on IV fluids, but had to have a sick bowl with me on the bed because the more fluids that entered my body, the more I was sick.
"I didn’t have a baby bump at all and I lost so much weight that the baby was measuring small every time I went for scans. It was a big worry.
"I was 32 weeks before I could keep a meal down."
Baby Jacob was born in Wishaw General Hospital, weighing 6lbs 5oz, but Ashleigh was shocked when she stepped on the scales and discovered her weight had plummeted to two and a half stone lighter than her pre-pregnancy weight.
Medics told Ashleigh Jacob had been lucky to survive the pregnancy.
She recalls: "When I spoke to a consultant she actually told me that I was lucky Jacob survived was healthy because the blood flow and oxygen my placenta was receiving was so poor.
"He was 6lb 10.5 when he was born, which is a not bad weight, but he was tiny.
"And I had lost so much weight that after his birth I was fitting into clothes I hadn’t worn for three years."
Ashleigh went on to have another two children, Jessica, five, and nine-week-old Romeo and thankfully, did not suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum in her later pregnancies.
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But the young mum wants to warn other women that 'bad morning sickness' can be a symptom of a more serious condition that may put both mother and baby in danger.
She said: "I had never heard of it until I had it. I think every woman expects morning sickness when they’re pregnant but it’s absolutely nothing compared to Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
"If they've never had it, people don’t quite understand, they say 'oh try this, try that, that helped my morning sickness' - but this is something much more serious."
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