I am a three time Hyperemesis Gravidarum survivor and I have tried everything to lessen symptoms but nothing ever really worked except my 10 tips below.
Before I get to the tips let us review what HG really is and the severity of this illness.
What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?
According to HER Foundation website , Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a severe form of nausea and vomitting in pregnancy. It can be so bad that women lose vital nutrients to sustain life of the fetus or both her and the fetus. HG can also bring about mental and emotional symptoms such as depression and anxiety.
Unlike so many women I only experienced the extreme HG symptoms in my first trimester with my last two pregnancies and the pregnancy I am currently carrying. I know the struggle of this debilitating illness three times over and each time it feels just as horrible as the first. Just know you are not alone, you are doing your best, and this isn’t your fault. If you or someone you know is struggling with HG please read the 10 tips below that I followed to help make my experience a little bit more managable.
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1. Friend and Family Support
The love and support of loved ones can go a long way for a woman who is suffering from HG. This could be her very first pregnancy or she could have other children who could benefit from the extra visitors that have stopped by with helping hands. Sometimes a few visitors could help with a mother suffering with depression and anxiety as a side effect of HG. Just showing her you are there and that she is loved can give her some motivation.
Friends and family can also help by doing chores in the home, running errands, and making meals. These are things that no HG suffering mother will be able to do for months on end.
2. A doctor who understands hyperemesis
This is a huge deal when it comes to maintaining your health or at least trying. I again got very lucky to have already been seeing an OB/GYN who was well aware of what Hyperemesis Gravidarum was and how they could help me. I have scoured the internet about HG and I have seen so many comments about women who see doctors who are ignorant in their own profession as to what HG really is. Do NOT let a doctor make you feel like it is all in your head.
It is NOT in your head and you deserve good treatment for you and your baby.
3. Carbonated water
Fluids. Fluids. Fluids
If you can’t get anything to stay down be sure to stay adamant about fluids if nothing else. Your body is already working 3x it’s normal rate for many reasons but dehydration could be the thing that turns this into an emergency.
I found that just drinking water wasn’t enough and drinking soda made me feel worse but the carbonation helped. The carbonated water helped move the trapped gas in my stomach and the water helped keep me hydrated. My favorite brand of carbonated water has so many different options to choose from and you can check them out here.
Another thing that I realized helped was warm (almost hot) water. I am not sure exactly why this helped me but I imagine it has something to do with warm water evaporating or something. This is could just be one of those things that worked in that moment.
4. Staying away from textures that are yucky coming back up
The worse thing that happened when I was vomitting was trying to get textured food like ground meat, bread (flour tortilla), rice to come back up. The meat just felt gross and made me gag. The foods like rice and bread made me choke (also pushing food in places food shouldn’t be) because the expansion of the food would be too thick to come up the way it came down.
My suggestion for you is to be mindful of what goes down and take into consideration how it would feel coming back up.
5. Indulging in cravings
HG makes it very hard for you to eat so anytime a craving comes up don’t sit on it, indulge. Cravings can be an open door to a single moment of acceptance for food your body otherwise would regret. In some cases, I still ended up running to the bathroom but most of the time it stayed down.
6. Staying away from sensory input that will trigger nausea
You will not find this on websites as a symptom but through my research on Google it is a very real symptom for some women including myself.
Sensory stimulation can provoke or trigger nausea or increase pain. Your body is already under a lot of stress and that can make your brain feel overwhelmed. I am no doctor or scientist but this is just my opinion about what is happening within our bodies for this to be an issue.
Here are some sensory triggers:
– Noise (tv, kids, buzzing, notifications, etc)
– Smells (lotions, dirty diapers, body wash, cooking, etc)
– Taste (toothpaste, mouthwash, foods, drinks, etc)
7. Indulging in senory inputs that help
There is dark and light side to sensory stimulations some of which can help ease symptoms of HG. My favorite go to during this time are showers.
If it was not for showers, I don’t know how I would make it through any of it. It gets me out of the bed, helps relieve body aches, and the water hitting my skin helps distract me from the yucky symptoms that I am experiencing.
My shower is life!
Of course, there is the unusual way that I go about taking showers because I am so weak. I lay a folded towel on the shower floor and lay down while the shower head is pointed right at my stomach/chest area. Yeah I know it seems a little weird but I promise it has helped me when nothing else will and if I have to puke I usually just let it go in the shower (since I am vomitting stomach acid or liquids anyway).
Getting plenty of rest so your body can heal seems to be impossible at times but you have to do it. Sleep wherever or whenever if possible only waking to get fluids and a few bits of food in.
9. Dry brushing and flossing
Any mother will tell you that when you are pregnant your dental hygiene is especially important. HG is that thing that will ruin your entire mouth due to your gagging and aversion to toothpaste. Your stomach acids will ruin your enemal; bacteria will grow and be introdcued into your gut; your gums and teeth will begin to deteriorate if unchecked.
During this pregnancy, I found a solution to my problem from some helpful ladies on a pregnancy forum (I wish I had the links, sorry). Their dental hygientist suggested that they try rinsing with water forcefully, dry brushing (just brushing with a toothbrush and water, no toothpaste), and flossing with unscented floss.
Doing a little something is better than doing nothing at all.
Man…this is the roughest moment that I have ever experienced and from so many stories that I have read I know there women who have had it worse. From the pain to the unrentless nausea and vomitting you, we deserve to just let out one good cry sometimes.
I like to think just crying it out helps me somehow but I am not sure exactly but I know it is okay to cry. It is okay to feel sad and hopeless but make sure you come back to your strength. You are never too strong to be human and crying doesn’t make you weak.
I hope that this post helps informs an HG sufferer’s loved one, helps a mom who may be suffering, or brings awareness to someone who may not know about Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
Please let me know in the comments how you were able to get through your HG pregnancy. Your tip could help another woman in the future so please don’t hesitate to comment. Even if you were a mom who only experienced “morning sickness” your advice is welcomed as well.
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