"Morning" Sickness

 

Warning, if you are already queasy, you might just want to scroll down to the bullet points after the sign “How I survived morning all-day sickness”.

 

You’d think I would have had a clue I was pregnant when I craved chili, ate half of it, went and threw it up, and then went back to eating as if nothing ever happened.  I didn’t usually eat when I was sick with a stomach bug, but I just figured it was a weird, mutant stomach bug. Sure, another clue might have been that I missed my period, but then again, I thought I just didn’t remember because I had been so sick. Had I been sick that long? It was the beginning of December, and I remembered I wasn’t really feeling that well over Thanksgiving. Maybe I had my period and forgot? I do remember getting out the pads when I started cramping sometime in November, but wait, I think I put them back again. I was too sick to have a decent memory.

As the days went by I grew sicker and sicker. I had never felt sick and hungry at the same time. Food never sounded so awful to me, and yet I did feel a little hungry. Nothing made sense! My husband would run out and grab the first thing that sounded good, and then watch me run to the bathroom after about three bites and not want anymore. He asked if I thought I was pregnant. “No”, I said. “You don’t get *this* sick when you are pregnant, and besides I’m sick ALL day, not just in the mornings”. I called my parents, and asked for them to pray for me. I was convinced I had some type of stomach cancer. I was so sick that after Christmas vactation was over, I asked my husband to take me over to my sisters house to watch me while he went to work. (I didn't want to die alone :-)  It was then she told me she thought I was pregnant. She assured me that I was not dying, and that I had morning sickness. She also told me that morning sickness really meant “all day” sickness, and that I needed to take a pregnancy test. That night, when my husband came to pick me up, my brother-in-law took him down to pick up a pregnancy test first. It took about 20 seconds after I peed on the stick to show a bright pink positive. I was still in shock, but at least I knew why I had been *so* sick.

The books I read about pregnancy assured me that at about 12 weeks, it would be over, and I was almost there!  I found out the hard way that my baby forgot to read the manual. It was somewhere around 15 weeks my doctor told me that I lost any more weight by the next visit he would put me in the hospital. I was trying! Everything sounded horrible, and just passing a Taco Bell sign made me want to pull over hurl.

I remember sitting at Denny’s and ordering cream of brocolli soup and asking the waitress ‘to hurry please’. She brought it to me quickly and I ate as much as I could, and begged my husband to leave before he got his dinner because the smell was making me sick. He got his food to go, and we ran out the door as fast as we could. At least I made it out the door. The bushes weren’t so lucky.

I did stop throwing up at around 22 weeks, but I was still nauseous all the time. Around week 25, the nausea went completely away and thankfully it didn’t come back until the next pregnancy.

With baby number two, I caught on a lot quicker. The morning I woke up craving a chili dog with onions, mustard, and jalapeno peppers (something I had never ate before), I had a clue. The craving was so strong, that I woke up, went right to the store for all the fixings, came home and devoured two dogs, and then an hour later visited the porcelain bowl. I went to the store and bought a pregnancy test and was not surprised to see a positive this time. Thankfully it didn’t take me long to also discover what helped ease the terrible ‘morning’ sickness.
 

The number one thing that helped me was the thing I was terrified of – eating.

I was so nauseated, and food sounded horrible, but that is what my body needed. I also found that I just couldn’t eat a lot of anything without getting sicker. The key was to eat a little at a time, and to stay on top of the nausea, I had to keep eating. It was more like grazing, or snacking. All.the.time. Nothing sounded good, and I needed to eat. A lovely catch-22. At the very first sign that I was nauseated I would eat something, usually with some protein. Almonds were a go-to for me. I froze them, and somehow that made them easier to eat. I would eat maybe 2 or 3 and that would stave off the heavier waves of nausea while I looked for something with more substance. It might have been a hard-boiled egg and a piece of toast. An hour after that, I was ready for lunch. The *second* I felt queasy I knew I had to eat *something*. I also found that sugar was a trigger food for me. It made me feel worse. Much worse! Even fruit had to be eaten after I had some protein in me. Saltines? No thanks, but I would happily eat chips and salsa from my favorite Mexican restaurant. I also craved lemonade with salt. Weird, but it helped.

Another thing that causes morning sickness is that new found super-power - the sense of smell. I'm sure there is a purpose, but it does not help when we are nauseated 24/7.

I had no idea what was in my parent's kitchen that made me so nauseated. I looked everywhere for whatever *it* was, but never did find it. It was probably at the bottom of the deep freeze out in the garage. I learned very quickly, that the smell of garlic and onions were a definite trigger, even though when not pregnant it is one of my favorite smells when cooking dinner. I had my poor husband eat outside on many occasions. I also found that citrus and spearmint smells helped calm the nausea a bit too.

For me keeping something in my stomach at all times and avoiding bad smells were huge.

There a few other options you can try if you are still feeling like you are going to die at any minute. I haven’t tried all of them, but you might find one or two things that might help ease things up a bit. Hopefully, *something* will give you a tiny bit of relief, but first
 

Let's Recap!

  • One of the main keys to morning sickness is to eat protein!
  • Eat often - really often!
  • Avoid trigger foods
  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat what sounds good, within reason. Snow cones are great as a treat, but they aren’t a replacement for protein. Try substituting the snow cone for a protein packed smoothie with extra ice. Craving something really strange? You might want to stay clear of things that aren’t really foods at all (like laundry detergent or dirt). This kind of craving is called pica, and usually means you are missing a key nutrient in your diet, so talk to your care provider if you find yourself thinking that your garden looks mighty tasty and you’re not talking about the vegetables.
  • Avoid yucky smells and have something pleasant to smell within whiffing distance. Essential oils can be great, but do take into consideration that some essential oils are NOT safe in the first trimester, or not at all during pregnancy. Please use them safely and wisely.

Other things to try:

  • Eat before you get out of bed
  • Take your prenatal vitamin with your biggest meal (and you can substitute your prenatal with a children’s vitamin – just talk to your care provider about which ones and how many to take)!
  • Acupressure: This is the one with *out* the needles. There are a couple of places where acupressure can be applied to help combat nausea. In 1988 study from The Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Professor John Dundee showed that the women who used acupressure in his trial suffered significantly less nausea and vomiting than those who didn’t. There is one on your wrist, the P6 point, and another million dollar point I’ll be happy to show you during our prenatal visit or childbirth class :-)
  • Sea Bands® specifically target the the P6 (or Nei-Kuan) point on each wrist using a plastic stud.
  • Ginger: You can have ginger tea, fresh ginger in your food, ginger cookies, crystallized ginger, ginger mints or suckers. Whatever you want to try! They also have ginger capsules, but I’ve read somewhere not to exceed more than 1000mg a day.
  • itamin B-6: A study done by Mario Festin on Nausea and Vomiting in early pregnancy, suggests that the Vitamin B-6 may provide relief. Please talk to your provider before starting, and get proper dosage amounts. Some say not to take more than 25mg a day, some say to take 25mg three times a day, and some say that over 100mg a day can lead to nerve damage. So just don’t start popping pills please!
  • Try candies, gums and lozenges to help minimize the metallic taste in your mouth, and help mask the excess saliva. Preggie Pops and drops are pretty great, (and you can get them in ginger too). I received some free samples from them a couple of years ago, and my boys were convinced that you had to be pregnant to eat them, and I didn’t exactly tell them contrary.

Having trouble brushing your teeth? Try a homemade toothpaste instead. A simple recipe of coconut oil, baking soda, and an essential oil of peppermint or spearmint might be just as good for you, and reduce the foam going on in your mouth (which can make me queasy I know).If you find yourself not keeping anything down, please talk to your provider about it. Hyperemesis gravidarum is no joke, and you might need some medical help to get through it.

 

For more reading: I found this research and thought it was a great read
http /www.motherisk.org/documents/BSRC_morning_sickness_EN.pdf while doing some

Medical Disclaimer:

The information on this website and blog is meant for basic informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as medical advice or treatment. Readers are advised to consult with their doctor or midwife before making any decisions concerning their health.