A woman who was left throwing up 40 times a day due to a pregnancy condition has bounced back and won a bodybuilding contest less than a year later.
Natasha Gilson, 35, suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum during her pregnancy with daughter, Anaïs.
Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), is a pregnancy condition associated excessive nausea and vomiting. The Duchess of Cambridge required hospital treatment for the same condition while pregnant with Prince George.
Prior to her pregnancy, Gilson was a frequent gym goer. But, once pregnant she was unable to exercise at all.
Her vomiting condition began just 72 hours after she found out she was with child.
Gilson said: “I didn't know how I was going to get any level of fitness back.
“Literally 72 hours after finding out I was pregnant the sickness started and it absolutely floored me.
“Every single day I was sick, multiple times. I was sick 40 times in one day.”
While Gilson had expected she would visit the gym regularly throughout her pregnancy, it soon become clear she would not be able to.
She added: “When I fell pregnant I thought I could still go the gym a few times a week but I was just sick all the time.
“People kept saying when you get to three months it will be alright but it just wasn't.
“I would be on the bus going to work and I'd have to get off because I feel sick and then wait for the next bus. At work I'd be on my hands and knees being sick in the toilets.
“I couldn't believe how a baby could grow and survive in an environment where I could barely eat or drink without throwing up.
“I just kept thinking: ‘Please do not let anything happen to this child.’”
Seven months later, in April 2013, Gilson went into labour.
But, this was far from the end of her ordeal.
She had to stay in hospital for a fortnight due to birth complications including sepsis and was advised by doctors to avoid exercise for the next 12 weeks.
When her daughter was eight months old, Gilson auditioned for the Fit Factor event at BodyPower Expo in Birmingham before a panel of four people.
“I told them: ‘I've probably got the worst body there but six months ago I was fighting for my life and this is how far I have come. In another four months what could happen in that time?’
“I still had a dark line on my stomach and a stone of baby weight to lose.
“Walking in was so nerve wracking, all the girls had custom-made bikinis and I just had my Topshop bikini. I think if I lived round the corner I would have went [sic] home.”
In May 2014, just over a year after giving birth, she was crowned the winner of the competition.
She now runs her own company, called Miss Motivator UK, to inspire others.
She said: “Helping other people is what I love and seeing them progress is amazing.
“I want to inspire people to send a message that they can do anything if they want it enough and I want to be the best role model I can be for my daughter.”