Jessica was suffering severe morning sickness. Then a call from her midwife led to tragedy.

This post deals with the topic of suicide.

Jessica Cronshaw was ‘over the moon’ when she found out she was expecting her first baby. 

Like many pregnant women, Cronshaw, from the UK, experienced morning sickness. But it wasn’t something a ginger tablet could fix. The intense nausea forced the 26-year-old to take time off her job as a teacher, confining her to bed. 

She was given medication, but felt constantly sick, and unable to eat, causing dramatic weight loss. At times, she could barely lift her head from her pillow. This type of acute morning sickness is called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). 

Watch: Battling The Pregnancy Illness Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Post continues after the video. 

Video via ABC News.

Although she was admitted to hospital and placed on an intravenous drip, a doctor told her to simple eat more often, and to go to McDonald’s if she wanted. The advice frustrated her family. Cronshaw couldn't eat. 

Around four months later, she was put on a new medication, enabling her to eat slightly more, but she remained confined to her bed. Weeks later, she received a phone call from a midwife, who told her she needed to reduce her dose due to possible risks to her unborn baby. 

According to Cronshaw’s mother, Susan Cronshaw, that call ultimately led to the most tragic consequences. 


Cronshaw did as she was told, reducing her dose. But her condition deteriorated rapidly, and she stopped eating almost entirely. She became increasingly paranoid as her mental health quickly declined.

Despite disclosing feeling anxious, isolated and down, Cronshaw wasn't offered any mental health support. 

On November 14, 2022, Cronshaw attempted to take her own life. She was 28 weeks pregnant. After being rushed to hospital, Cronshaw was given CPR while her daughter Elsie was delivered by caesarean section in a bid to save her life.

Four days later, as her mother lay in intensive care, Elsie passed away. The following day the family were told Cronshaw had suffered irreversible brain damage, and they made the difficult decision to withdraw life support.

She died on November 19.

Jessica Cronshaw was just 26-years-old when she died by suicide.


An inquest into her death revealed Cronshaw was wrongly advised to reduce the medication prescribed by Dr Helen Collier, and that the medication did not pose a risk to her baby, despite what the midwife said over the phone. 

Obstetrician Dr Shambhavi Singh said via a statement that she couldn't recall telling midwife Allison Whitehead that Cronshaw should reduce her dose. Nevertheless, the call was made, and Cronshaw's family's pleas for help seemed to fall on deaf ears. 

Whitehead conceded she should have booked an in-person appointment for Cronshaw, rather than deliver the news over the phone, admitting it could be "difficult to grasp" an expectant mother's state of mind over the phone. 

"I think a face-to-face conversation would have perhaps altered my reaction," she said.

The inquest revealed medics also failed to prioritise Cronshaw's mental health, despite her saying she was feeling 'down' just six days before she was found unresponsive by her mother, and taken to hospital. The court heard Cronshaw did not receive adequate mental health or weight assessments, nor was her compliance with the medication properly assessed. 

Cronshaw's devastated partner, Eddie Leck said it felt like no one has listened to the family, describing Cronshaw's 'rapid transformation from an energetic, active woman to a woman who barely had the strength to get out of bed in the morning'.


Coroner Kate Bisset, said she was 'satisfied that her care contributed to a deterioration in (Cronshaw’s) mental health' which in turn led to the 'impulsive' decision to end her life.

'The absence of comprehensive care for Jessica's severe pregnancy sickness was a contributing factor to her mental health deterioration.

'This case should serve as a reminder to healthcare professionals about the critical importance of addressing the wide-ranging impacts of hyperemesis gravidarum, including its mental health aspects.'

“There needs to be public awareness and more information about the crippling impact of this condition and how it can change the lives of those who suffer from it, or in this case end them.”

Dr Caitlin Dean, spokesperson and trustee at Pregnancy Sickness Support said the inquest's acknowledgement of the link between inadequate HG treatment and severe mental health issues was a "long-overdue revelation".

"For too long, the severity of HG has been underappreciated. This marks a crucial turning point for how this condition is perceived and treated," Dr Dean said. 

"What's shocking and scary is that the failings in this case are more often than not the experience a woman with HG has of the healthcare system," she said. 

"The vast majority of women say they are not listened to, are just dismissed as having morning sickness. That is absolutely normal and what's got to change and until that changes, there will be another death like this."


In concluding the inquest, Ms Bisset said: "If love alone could have saved Jessica and Elsie, I am quite sure we would not be sitting here. Jessica Elizabeth Cronshaw was, and is, a very much-loved daughter, granddaughter, sister, partner and friend. Importantly, it must not be forgotten that she was also a much-loved mother, a mother who loved her baby daughter and had hopes, dreams and aspirations for a long and happy life with her partner and daughter."

What is hyperemesis gravidarum?

Although rare, hyperemesis gravidarum became more widely known when it was revealed Kate Middleton suffered from the condition during her pregnancies. 

Around 1 in 100 women experience HG, which is considered to be present when nausea and vomiting because severe, lasting more than a few days, and making drinking and eating difficult. 

It can lead to dehydration, weight loss and vitamin deficiencies.

HG usually starts early in the pregnancy and can last up to 20 weeks. For some women, it continues throughout their entire pregnancy. 

Women experiencing HG are forced to take time off work, and cannot care for themselves or anyone else, which can have a big impact on their emotional, mental and physical health. 

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your GP or health professional. If you're based in Australia, 24-hour support is available through Lifeline on 13 11 14, beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. In an emergency call 000.

Feature image: JustGiving