It feels like death. That’s what Danielle Raiman Plummer, PharmD’16, wants people to understand.
Hyperemesis gravidarum is not just standard morning sickness. It’s severe nausea and vomiting; it’s exhaustion, frustration and loneliness. Plummer herself endured it all through three pregnancies.
And now, armed with a degree from the Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, she’s determined to make life a little easier for women suffering in her stead.
Plummer, a 2016 pharmacy graduate currently based in Las Vegas, recently launched hgpharmacist.com, a blog offering treatment advice and support for women with the condition.
“I thought, ‘There’s so much I can do for these women as a pharmacist,’” says Plummer, who pursued her degree through Creighton’s PharmD Distance Pathway program and now works as a full-time pharmacy entrepreneur.
Hyperemesis gravidarum, or HG, affects about 1% of pregnant women. The condition is characterized by extreme nausea and vomiting, and women with HG often experience weight loss, dehydration and vitamin deficiencies.
Awareness of the disorder has spread in recent years as high-profile patients, including comedian Amy Schumer and British royal Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, have shared stories of their difficult pregnancies. This, Plummer says, has opened the door for more women with HG to speak up about what they’re going through.
“When I had it, if anyone took a picture of me, I would’ve destroyed that camera,” says Plummer, whose youngest daughter is 14. “With women today, it’s a whole new picture and a whole new world … It’s almost like a paradigm shift.”
Now, searching for #hyperemesis on social media conjures up hundreds of pictures of women openly documenting their struggle, Plummer says. And this led her to realize that there was an audience of women out there who could benefit from the advice of a trained pharmacist.
In her first few blog posts, Plummer has outlined the history of various morning sickness drugs and explored whether or not CBD oil, recommended by Schumer, is safe to take during pregnancy.
Ultimately, she’s hoping the site can become a kind of landing page for women who want answers from an expert. But she also hopes it can provide a measure of comfort, showing women struggling through the throes of HG that they’re not alone.
“I can not only create awareness, I can take it one step further,” Plummer says. “(I can) give these women who are still suffering now all these decades later new options above and beyond the medicines that were available to me.”