This post isn’t for the faint of heart. Or rather, faint of stomach. I’m going to get real about morning sickness, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. I know this is not a glamorous subject. But, according to the American Pregnancy Association, it affects more than 50% of women during pregnancy. So, it’s worth having a visit about.
I have had fairly severe nausea and vomiting with both my pregnancies. Obviously, there are all different levels of morning sickness. Some women experience queeziness but never throw up while others are admitted to the hospital because they are so sick that they become dehydrated and the situation becomes dangerous for their baby. Morning sickness doesn’t just occur in the morning. For some people, it lasts all day or hits at specific times. Some women experience it for a day while others can’t shake it their whole pregnancy. As you can imagine, the norm probably lies somewhere in the middle of all of these examples. I’m going to share my story with you and offer some tips and ideas to help you cope if you’re experiencing any form of “morning sickness.”
I should have called mine “evening sickness.” Sleeping rejuvenated my body and I was at my best in the morning. Gradually, throughout the day, my stomach started to get uneasy and I became less interested in food. Any food that entered my digestive system after about 3 pm didn’t stay there. Physically, I was exhausted and had no extra energy to give. This was very similar in both my pregnancies. While I lost 12 pounds with N and 8 lbs during this pregnancy before I started gaining, I kept my doctor in the loop and she was never worried. I always kept her up-to-date on my situation and she reminded me that my body is taking care of the baby over me. Probably what saved me was that I was always able to keep water and some liquid down so I never became dehydrated.
With N I was sick from about six weeks to nine weeks before I started the generic form of Zophran, a nausea medication often offered to many sick, pregnant moms. With this pregnancy, I chose to wait until I was out of my first trimester. The first trimester is so critical and I just didn’t want to add anything to my body or regimen that wasn’t absolutely necessary. This caused a few more weeks of suffering but it was worth it for my peace of mind. During my pregnancy with N, the Zophran was very helpful but I didn’t feel like my normal self until about Week 22. This round, I was pretty well back to normal by Week 15. As I mentioned in my announcement post, feeling well gave me a renewed appreciation for health and energy.
Nausea and vomiting during this pregnancy brought a whole host of emotional turmoil to me as well. For one, I am a person that enjoys and thrives on being around people and my community. During the time I was sick, I didn’t feel like doing any socializing. There was also the concern about what would happen if I got sick in public or if it was really worth going to dinner if I don’t get to eat dinner and continued to feel miserable. Additionally, nights are my time with N and being sick at night really took me away from him. I did the best I could. We watched movies together and I still read with him every night even though we moved reading time to my bed and daddy often took over. I wrote this post during that time and I think it gives some insight into how I was emotionally feeling.
I really struggled when people asked me how I was doing or if I was better. Of course, everyone was hoping I would say, “Yes, I feel much better” or “I’m doing well now.” When I replied that nothing much had changed, I almost felt like I was letting them down. But, I shared the truth because I didn’t have the energy to pretend I was something I wasn’t.
I tried to remind myself that this feeling and experience was only temporary but going through it was so, so difficult. It made me question whether I was a woman that enjoyed being pregnant. I would often think, “I’ll never do this again.” It demanded all of my focus and energy just to get through each day. It’s amazing how our minds work, though. Just 10 weeks outside of this experience, I ask myself, “was it really that bad?” Three years from now when my baby is no longer a baby, I’ll probably hardly remember the experiences and be telling myself, “It wasn’t that bad.”
So, moving on, here are my tips for morning sickness:
- Openly and regularly communicate with your medical practitioner – they are not mind readers and do not know what you are going through. They can’t help or offer advice if they aren’t clued into what you’re experiencing. At times during my first pregnancy I struggled with this. I’m not really a complainer and usually just tough situations out. So, repeatedly going over what I was experiencing felt too negative and uncomfortable to me. Then I realized, if I don’t share what’s happening, I could be leaving out important information about my baby or me.
- Be open and educated about medications and natural remedies available – I think we’ve established that severe morning (uh hmm, all day sickness) is a real thing. If you’ve exhausted all natural recommendations, be open to discussing prescriptions with your health provider. The right thing is different for everyone, but at least be willing to listen and weigh the risks versus the benefits. And vice versa, if you’re a person that would normally jump to a prescription, have a visit about alternative tools available.
- Prioritize yourself and the baby – for you, this experience is just part of growing a baby. So, prioritize yourself and give yourself what you need. If sleep helps, sleep. If sitting in a chair all day helps, sit in a chair all day. Ask for help and accept it. During this second pregnancy, I struggled accepting that I couldn’t be everything for N that I normally am. But, Seano stepped up and took over, and letting him was one of the best things I did.
- Try different food options and switch up meals – when I figured out that nights were going to be harder on me, I started to make breakfast my bigger meal and would eat soup or toast and a banana for dinner. This allowed me to keep more calories down and even if I got sick, it was easier on my body.
- Use B-Natals or other hard candy – for me, one thing that helped immensely was either sucking on B-Natals, Preggie Pops or some other hard candy like Jolly Ranchers or Spearmints. Just having something flavorful in my mouth to distract me from what my body wanted to do was so helpful.
- Remind yourself that this is temporary and of what you’ll have at the end of this
journey – this is temporary; even if you’re sick your whole pregnancy. At somepoint you will feel better and it won’t last forever. Something notably different this pregnancy is that I know how this will turn out. I mean, theoretically I knew how it would turn out during my first pregnancy, but this time I know. I have the memory of my beautiful baby boy being placed on my chest and knowledge of the overwhelming love and feelings I experienced during those first moments.
- Other things I’ve heard worked for some women – apple juice, ginger chews or tea, sleep, Vitamin B6, Seabands, fresh air, and Unisom.
Each pregnancy was a bit different for me and different things were helpful each time. I hope that if you’re a momma who experiences morning sickness, you hang in there and maybe find some reprieve in at least one of my tips.
For those of you who have experienced morning sickness, what else helped? How did you make it through?
Photos from Cover Photo Finder
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