The first time I saw a positive pregnancy test, I had nothing but hopes and dreams about how magical my pregnancy was going to be. I browsed maternity outfits and dreamed of getting my baby belly. The second time, I cautiously hoped that THIS pregnancy would be the magical pregnancy I’ve heard about, clinging to hope that every pregnancy is different. The third time I stared at those two pink lines, I immediately began organizing my shelves like a doomsday prepper.
I am a morning sickness mom.
“Morning sickness” is really a cute way to describe all day and night nausea and vomiting that is reminiscent of the stomach flu, except it lasts for weeks. In my case, it lasts all nine months. While never officially diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum, my nausea was more severe than average but did respond to a few at-home remedies. If you have HG, you have my sympathies. Please follow your doctor’s orders.
I’m currently pregnant with my third child and just coming out of the worst of it. If you’ve found this post while scouring the internet for morning sickness remedies or are trying to help a suffering friend of yours, let me be your resident anecdotal expert on tried and true techniques that work. I’m 21+ collective months into dealing with the nausea and think I have finally found the right combination of tips to help you survive and *gasp* even enjoy this magical experience.
Hunger and nausea go hand-in-hand. Large meals and/or eating quickly are not going to happen, so snacks are your friend. I have found that once I get hungry, it’s really hard to come back. I sometimes never recover for the day once I feel hungry. Eating every 1-2 hours can help you stay ahead of hunger (and therefore nausea). Even if you don’t feel hungry — ESPECIALLY IF YOU DON’T FEEL HUNGRY — eat. Anything you can stomach — eat it. Bland foods, carbs, and sour candies worked best for me. Now is not the time to obsess over healthy eating and a balanced diet. Pro tip: the better you stay ahead of hunger/nausea with snacks, the better you will be able to eat a healthy diet at meal times.
On this topic, you know what didn’t work for me? Eating before I get out of bed. And ginger. If you don’t already like ginger, you’re not likely to enjoy it any more while nauseous. A lot of people suggest these two things. If they work for you, great! Keep doing it! If they make you feel even more nauseous, like they did for me, then don’t worry about it and move on to some other management strategies.
Unisom and B6
Firstly, ALWAYS ask your doctor before taking any medication while pregnant. My doctor prescribed Phenergan for my first pregnancy. It made me really tired, and I’m not sure it helped much. I took Diclegis for my second pregnancy. It was a lifesaver, but it was going to be insanely expensive for my third pregnancy. My doctor suggested a combination of vitamin B6 and Unisom to manage my nausea and WOW! For just a few dollars, I felt almost completely human!
I really didn’t want this one to work. I’m not a fitness buff by any means. After avoiding regular exercise for 30 years, my family joined the YMCA earlier this year. I discovered that pumping some iron and a little cardio makes you feel really, really good. The same is true for exercising during pregnancy. Once my husband dragged my nauseous self to the gym, I always felt better (and less nauseous) afterward. Take a walk around the neighborhood. Try a prenatal yoga video. I totally understand how much you don’t feel like it, but I promise you’ll feel better when you’re done.
I’m a night owl to the core of my soul. Those late hours after the kids go to bed are sacred to me. But after three rounds of battle with pregnancy sickness, I’ve learned that tiredness causes nausea in a similar way that hunger does. You’re likely already exhausted because the first trimester is exhausting. Don’t make it harder on yourself and just succumb to the 8pm bedtime. All the extra sleep will hopefully reduce first-thing-in-the-morning sickness.
Give yourself some grace
That thing you committed to a few months ago? It’s okay to back out. Ready for dinner at 4pm? Eat up, girl! It’s okay to say no to the dinner party with friends, that thing at church, working that extra shift, a shopping trip with your cousin. Even if you haven’t shared your pregnancy yet, it’s okay to say no. Burning yourself out at the beginning of your pregnancy isn’t going to help you or your baby. Conserve your energy for the things that matter. I promise your friends and family will understand.