Amy Schumer has cancelled the rest of her tour due to hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness.
Schumer is in the third trimester of her pregnancy and isn't cleared to fly for the next couple of weeks.
Gynecologists explain what hyperemesis gravidarum is, how many women are impacted, and how long the condition tends to last.
Most people are aware that morning sickness is an unfortunate (and common) side effect of pregnancy, but it usually clears up by the second trimester. Unfortunately, Amy Schumer is still struggling with it in her third trimester-and it’s so severe, she’s had to cancel the rest of her tour.
The comedian, who is expecting her first child, recently made the announcement on Instagram. “The baby and I are healthy and everything looks good,” she wrote. “But I am in my 3rd trimester and I am still nauseous all the time and vomiting.” Schumer, 37, suffers from hyperemesis gravidarum, the most severe form of morning sickness.
Schumer said she’s “not cleared to fly for the next couple of weeks” and that driving also isn’t a good option for her to travel. “I vomit mostly every time I ride in a car, even for 5 minutes,” she wrote.
Despite all that, Schumer said she has “a pretty good attitude about it and some days I feel good for a couple hours.” Still, she added, “It mostly sucks.”
What is hyperemesis gravidarum, exactly?
Hyperemesis gravidarum is the most severe form of morning sickness, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Luckily for most women, it’s rare-ACOG estimates that it happens in up to three percent of pregnancies-but it happens. (You might remember that Kate Middleton struggled with it during all three of her pregnancies.)
Hyperemesis gravidarum is usually diagnosed when a woman has lost five percent of her pre-pregnancy weight and struggles with dehydration. For some women, the vomiting is so bad that they need treatment, IV fluids, and even hospitalization to stop their vomiting, says Jessica Shepherd, MD, a minimally-invasive gynecologist in Dallas, TX.
Anyone can develop hyperemesis gravidarum, but women who are pregnant with multiples are at a higher risk, have a past history of morning sickness, have a close female relative who had hyperemesis gravidarum, have a history of motion sickness or migraines, and are pregnant with a girl.
How long does hyperemesis gravidarum usually last?
Everyone is different but, for most women, it clears up sometime in the second trimester, Dr. Shepherd says. But, for some unlucky women like Schumer, it can last all the way until they deliver, says Christine Greves, MD, a board-certified OB/GYN at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies. “I do have patients in the third trimester who still have it,” she says.
Motion sickness is related to hyperemesis gravidarum, so it makes sense that a woman would struggle to ride in a car if she has severe morning sickness, says women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, MD. “Sometimes the motion sickness can trigger the vomiting in some women; others are unaffected,” she says.
As for flying restrictions, it’s likely more due to the fact that Schumer is in her third trimester vs. her hyperemesis gravidarum, Dr. Shepherd says.
Hyperemesis gravidarum is a pretty intense illness, but doctors may be able to help with symptoms with medications like vitamin B6 and doxylamine (or a drug that is a combination of both) or antiemetic drugs, which help prevent vomiting, Dr. Greves says. And, in some severe cases, doctors may even recommend that a woman has a pump installed to dispense the anti-nausea medication Zofran straight into her body.
As a whole, experts agree that hyperemesis gravidarum is pretty terrible. “It’s more debilitating than people would think,” Dr. Shepherd says. “It disrupts your daily activities and quality of life because you’re always feeling terrible.” And then there’s this, per Dr. Greves: “Hyperemesis gravidarum can be so bad that some women never want to get pregnant again. It’s really bad.”
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