Reports of Kate Middleton's severe morning sickness opened eyes about how hard pregnancy can be for some women. "I went to the emergency room because I was so sick and dehydrated after a week of not being able to eat or drink," says Megan Donofrio of Fairfield, who felt as if she couldn't get off the couch during her first trimester. Eventually, her doctor prescribed a nauseau medication that, she says, made all the difference. But, Donofrio had to spend $400 dollars, as the medicine was not covered by insurance.
Now, The National Perinatal Association is on a mission to raise awareness about the only FDA-approved medication, specifically for morning sickness. Currently, some State Medicaid Agencies and private insurers are restricting coverage of Diclegis.
Diclegis, once considered controversial, was approved by the FDA in the spring of 2013, after fears of adverse side-effects were proven to be unfounded.
"I have no qualms about prescribing the medication to patients," says Dr. Claudia Johnson-Baxter, an OBGYN with Women's Healthcare in New Milford, a big supporter of the association's push for Diclegis to be covered by insurance. “You have, I think, more women who aren’t necessarily vomiting but they’re nauseous all day and that also prevents them from adequately eating or drinking.” She thinks the general public is unaware of how debilitating severe morning sickness can be. “Most jobs are not able to accommodate someone missing work because they don’t have the energy or they’re nauseous and vomiting, they have to take breaks. So, for a lot of women, they just want to be able to function, to be able go to work, get back home and care for young kids," she says, noting that, in addition to a potential financial impact for a family, constant morning sickness can negatively impact the baby. “If the patient continues to lose weight, it can affect the growth of the fetus.” Johnson-Baxter says, the earlier it is addressed, the better.
The National Perinatal Association is asking women to join the movement by writing a letter or post on Facebook and Twitter.