About six weeks into my pregnancy, I started experiencing morning sickness. Which is normal in pregnancy, obviously. I was throwing up a few times a day, and felt nauseous pretty much all day long. I just thought that that was normal, and did my best to power through it. Which was easier said than done. I started vomiting multiple times a day, and could not keep any food or liquid down. I could hardly get through the work day, and I found myself in the bathroom more than I was at my desk. Still, I did my best to suffer through it, knowing it had to let up eventually.
A couple of weeks later, I woke up vomiting, and that’s when I noticed the blood. I thought, “okay something’s not right here”, and I finally dragged myself to the doctor at the request of my worried husband. She then told me the very thing I didn’t want to hear – that I have hyperemesis gravidarum, which is severe/prolonged nausea and vomiting. A lot of women end up being hospitalized from it, due to dehydration and weight loss. I’m very lucky in that I haven’t had to be hospitalized, but it’s still awful.
I have been throwing up countless times a day, been nauseous all day long, and have struggled with eating or drinking anything. It’s even a struggle to keep water down at times. It’s left me feeling so weak, unwell, and a bit depressed at times.
There are many things that can help it, though nothing will cure it completely. Some women end up having to go into hospital due to complications such as severe hydration. I’ve been extremely fortunate so far that I have not had to go into hospital. Like many other sufferers, I have been put on antiemetic medications to help keep the nausea and vomiting at bay – even if it’s only slightly better. There are tips that can help lessen the symptoms a bit, and keep you from exacerbating them. Not everything works for everyone, and a lot of women develop their own ways of coping with hyperemesis gravidarum, but here are a few tips.
It’s important to ensure you keep from getting dehydrated. Yes, I know this is easier said than done when you can barely keep anything down, but it’s vital. Try sipping slowly on liquids such as water or juice. It also helps a bit if your drink is ice cold. There’s nothing more unappealing than the thought of drinking tepid tap water. Keep bottles of water in the fridge and load them up with ice.
Eat Small Meals Every 1-2 Hours
Your stomach will not be able to cope with eating a large meal three times a day. Try eating smaller meals/snacks more often throughout the day. You’ll likely be too nauseous to eat most of the time, but there are small windows throughout the day where you will want to eat SOMETHING. Take advantage of that – make sure you always have something to nibble on with you, no matter where you are.
Eat the Right Things
Keep your diet bland. Everyone is different, but foods like cereal, toast, or mashed potatoes will be a bit easier on the stomach. My favourite is toast with a bit of almond butter on it – it was the only thing that I could keep down (most of the time). Don’t overdo it on very fatty or fried foods. Keeping a food journal will help you work out what foods work for you and what your trigger foods are.
And Don’t Be Afraid To Eat!
Chances are, what you eat will be coming up again, so the idea of eating might be awful. It was, for me. I became terrified of eating sometimes, because I just knew that it would come up again afterwards. But you still have to eat. You and your baby need the nutrients, so whatever you can eat will help!
Rest, Rest, Rest
It goes without saying, but you really need to take the time to rest. You will already feel exhausted from being pregnant, and hyperemesis gravidarum will only make it worse. I slept (and still do) A LOT. The constant vomiting and nausea takes a lot out of you. Do not feel guilty about having to take time off of work, falling behind on the laundry or cancelling plans that you had to go out with your friends. I went to Costco one day with my husband, because I felt that I was perhaps well enough to handle it. I was not, and almost passed out in the shopping center. Now is the time to put the breaks on things a bit and really take care of yourself.
Wash Your Face
I know this sounds weird, but hear me out. You will be way too exhausted to care about things like keeping up with your skincare routine. I woke up each day and was lucky I even managed to brush my teeth, let alone wash my face. Because of that, hyperemesis gravidarum started taking a toll on my skin as well. Use it as an excuse to treat yourself to some nice skincare products and give your face a nice scrub. I have to say, once I did things like wash my face, it made me feel slightly more human.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Having people around you that can help you out will help massively. It’s okay to need help sometimes. Whether it be your parents, your partner, or a friend, don’t hesitate to hand them a list of things that need to be done. My husband has picked up the slack so much, from cooking dinner to doing more of the chores around the house.
Take Care Of Your Mental Health
It’s easy to sit there and wallow, feeling sorry for yourself about how you’re feeling, how no one can understand, etc. It can feel very lonely and isolating at times. Don’t be afraid to talk about it to anyone. It’s absolutely vital to have a good support system around you. It was actually one of the first things that my doctor asked me when I went to see her. She wanted to make sure that I had people around me that I can go to if I need anything, or just to talk. Opening up to family, your partner, your friends will make it easier.
If you’re struggling with hyperemesis gravidarum , I hope some of these tips help! And remember, it will all be worth it in the end!