How to cope with Hyperemesis (Severe morning sickness)
The honest truth…
I want to get one thing straight before I go ahead with this post. This thing is; there is no cure for hyperemesis. The only thing you can do is manage the symptoms and make life as easy as possible for yourself while you are suffering with this horrible whatever it is.
There is no miracle cure, and the things that worked for me, may not work for you. But as an expecting mum who went to hell and back over the last few months I feel I should share how I coped. Though honestly? Sometimes I didn’t cope at all.
What I will say though, is if I knew then, what I know now, I probably could have managed the symptoms a whole lot better.
Get in fast…
As soon as you start experiencing symptoms of what you think might be the beginning of hyperemesis it’s important that you see your doctor as soon as you can. There are anti-emetics or anti-sickness tablets that can be prescribed to you that are perfectly safe for you and baby. I have been on cyclizine now for over 3 months and I will still be taking these for a while after my symptoms stop.
When I was given these at the beginning, my GP did not tell me how to take them properly. So naturally I only took them when I was sick, and by then it was too late. It wasn’t until my last visit to hospital that the midwife said
You should be taking these every 6-8 hours EVERY DAY!
This was news to me. Had I known this, perhaps 2 of those hospital visits could have been avoided. But I guess we’ll never know.
The main danger with constantly having to be sick, is dehydration. I couldn’t keep any fluids down at all. And as a result I was on IV fluids for 24 hours every couple of weeks.
It is so important for all expectant mothers to keep hydrated. I have a bottle of water with me at all times. In the car, in work and by my bed at home. I’ve always got a glass to hand when I’m in the house too. It has become routine to take a drink every 20-30 minutes.
The biggest tell tale signs of dehydration are cloudy pee and a headache. Don’t risk it, keep your H2O levels up.
I have been very lucky in that I haven’t had the worst time with my sleep. But if I have had had a bad nights sleep, that reflected the next day. I was always more sick if I didn’t sleep well. One of the side effects of the cyclizine is drowsiness. Perhaps I owe it to them that my sleep is so good.
If you are sick, chances are you won’t want to eat. I didn’t want to at all but I knew I had to. So when I had a break, I would eat toast, crackers, potatoes etc. foods that are bland, plain and filling. Don’t worry yourself too much about not being able to eat though. You will be able to catch up on the nutrients once the sickness wears off.
Once the sickness has worn off and you are finally getting your appetite back, it’s important to listen to your body. For example, today I had a craving for broccoli, I think my body needed some vitamin C.
Try and avoid fatty foods if you can, I have completely gone off takeaway food. Especially the golden arches! Makes me feel nauseated, even just the smell! But every once in a while, it’s OK to binge.
The main thing is balance, try your best to get your 5 a day, you’ll feel much better for it too.
Exercise and keeping busy…
This all sounds amazing now I’m writing about it, but keeping busy is important too. I owe Iain a lot for keeping my mind off it. He encouraged me out of the house to walk the puppy, despite feeling absolutely rotten. Walk, swim, do whatever you can to keep your circulation up to speed, because you’re at risk of clots if you don’t get moving.
That’s rich coming from me though, I was bed bound for 3 weeks, got to a point where Iain had to help me to the bathroom. I really wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Literally the most horrific experience of my life to date.
The last thing, is make sure you have the support you need. Your midwifes will be amazing for you. But partners, sisters, brothers, mum, dad or grandparents. Make sure you have someone there for you. It can get very upsetting.
I spent a lot of my time crying, but to be honest this made it worse. The more I cried the more I was sick. I have suffered with depression for years, so this was just making it so much worse. I felt like my whole world came crashing down. But looking back, it was a short period of time. Come September my little bundle of joy will be here. I will have forgotten about it completely by then.
If you work, don’t worry. You actually have a lot of rights as a pregnant lady. They cannot sack you. Well they can, but it would be very difficult for them to do so, but if you start suffering you NEED to tell them because not telling them might not play in your favour. I had to tell them at 7.5 weeks, because I couldn’t hide it. I ended up being off work for 8 weeks all together. I was so poorly and I have been very lucky with the support I’ve had from my colleagues. I couldn’t ask for better.
Its easy for me to say this now, but it does get better. But the reality is, in some cases, take my older sister for example, she was poorly the whole 9 months, but she managed it and looking at her and her beautiful little girl now, they’re amazing.
To finish here are a couple of facts
- You’re more likely to suffer from HG if there is a history of it in your family
- You’re more likely to suffer from HG if you’re expecting a girl, but that’s not always the case
- Symptoms tend to improve between 14 and 21 weeks
- And, YOU WILL get through it, I promise.