I meant to write this post awhile ago. It’s not really in line with most of my health and fitness topics but I wanted to put it out there somewhere, should someone else go through it, or know someone going through it. Especially before my brain turns to goo after this kid is born.
Severe morning sickness is no joke. It often lasts all day and night. It is debilitating and depressing. It cannot be managed alone. I survived but I felt like very few people truly understood how bad it really was. The handful of people that “got it” were my partner, my ND, my OB-GYN, and my family. My family primarily understood because we all watched my older sister go through it twice.
It’s not just feeling like throwing up, it can be serious stomach PAIN as well. Sometimes I simply felt sick and had stomach pain but couldn’t vomit. In fact that’s how the majority of the first few weeks of it went. It’s feeling faint and weak. In addition to the usual early pregnancy changes in the body like fatigue, crazy emotional mood swings and dealing with the concept that you’re HAVING A BABY!
Here’s how I survived:
1. See your ND, OB-GYN, MD, anyone qualified to help you get medications you need to feel better. Also to make sure you are not dehydrated are actually able to eat SOMEthing.
2. Get a note for work. Find out if you can take time off, get on short term disability, and be up front with your employer if you can. I tried to keep my pregnancy secret but I felt MUCH better when my coworkers and supervisor knew what was going on and why I was so sick.
3. Accept IV fluids if offered. You’re probably dehydrated. You probably don’t THINK you’re dehydrated, but you probably are.
4. Take the medications. I know, you feel guilty. You don’t want to give them to your growing baby, but it’s also not good for a growing baby to have a perpetually sick mama. I waited too long to give in to the prescription medication and I think I would have been SO MUCH happier if I’d started them sooner. In addition to taking the meds, keep trying different meds until you find one that WORKS. I was pretty hopeless on my first prescription med, it didn’t work and actually made me feel worse. The second one changed my life. I generally prefer not to take prescription medication and wanted so_much to only give this baby the healthiest food and pregnancy possible but those hormones are serious stuff.
5. Eat ANYTHING that sounds good to you. Except of course high mercury fish, alcohol, and soft cheeses but I’m 99.99% sure those things will sound awful to you. I am dead serious about this. My partner basically said to me “I will get you anything you want”. My body wanted Pillsbury toaster strudel one day. I haven’t eaten those except maybe one time as a teenager. I can’t explain it. However she got them home and I promptly ate two, after not eating but possibly 200-300 calories for the previous two days. It may be that the person taking care of you (or you yourself) buys a ton of weirdly appealing food and then you cannot stomach any of it. Do not feel guilty. Speaking of food:
6. Foods/beverages that sounded good to me at one point or another during the worst of my morning sickness: pudding, tapioca, cold fruit cups, popsicles, ice cream, yogurt, kiefer, saltines, grapes, mashed potatoes, Sprite/7-up, chicken noodle soup, soup broth, ginger ale, Gatorade, white bread toast, pretzels, cereal (I highly recommend the multi-pack of different flavors), Malt-o-Meal, potato soup, rice (sometimes w/ butter), smoothies/protein shakes. I’m sure there’s more but I can’t remember.
7. ASK FOR HELP. I failed MISERABLY at this. I depended far, far too much on my partner and it was hard and stressful for her to help me go through it alone. I should have reached out and asked more people for help. I regret this so much now.
8. When I was in a really bad place morning sickness-wise my partner broke down and pushed me to drink those AWFUL nutritional shakes (Ensure, etc.). They were HORRIBLE but I think they kept me out of the hospital. I cannot even imagine ever going near one again but they are an option. Just stay away from Strawberry flavor.
9. Lower your expectations of yourself and your ability to do anything. Let the dishes and laundry pile up. You CAN’T do it. See #7. I actually felt guilty because I wasn’t working out. I could barely go from the bed to the bathroom without feeling faint. 10 months is a LONG time, letting things go for a few months is not the end of the world. Our house became a DISASTER. I am amazed to look around now and see that it’s organized and clean (mostly) and I have a dresser full of freshly washed and folded baby clothes. It will happen. People CAN help you.
10. Don’t eat dried fruit. Just don’t. If for some weird reason it starts sounding good to you, eat something else. Coming back up it’s like shredded rubber erasers.
Remarkably I STILL have morning sickness. I’m nearly 8 months pregnant now and I wake up ill every morning. It’s an odd combo of heartburn and morning sickness together. It’s still nowhere near as bad as the 16 weeks or so I spent in hell. Truly those weeks were some of the worst of my life. In part because I wasn’t sure if the whole 9.5 months would be like that. I’ve been off the medications since I was 20 weeks or so but I still resort of ginger ale and ginger chews on occasion. I still eat what sounds good but I eat a much, much more healthful and balanced diet that includes vegetables and fruits in large quantities. I honestly never thought that would happen! I still cannot stomach broccoli and that was one of my favorite foods pre-pregnancy.
Even more amazing, I’ve managed to gain 22 lbs and the baby is measuring 90% percentile already. Clearly he has not suffered as a result of this!