Updated: Oct 24, 2021
Hyperemesis Gravidarum, what is it? According to Medscape, it is the most severe form of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. It can be exemplified by unrelenting nausea and vomiting associated with ketosis and weight loss (>5% of prepregnancy weight). Hyperemesis Gravidarum, also known as HG, condition may cause volume depletion, electrolytes and acid-base imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, and even death. Severe hyperemesis requiring hospital admission occurs in 0.3-2% of pregnancies (Ogunyemi, D).
Unfortunately, during my last pregnancy I suffered from HG. I could barely eat or get out of bed. I threw up everything I ate and didn’t eat. From food to bile to air, I just couldn’t stop vomiting. I was so weak and in pain that getting out of bed was almost impossible. The normal go to foods to settle your stomach like saltine crackers and ginger-ale was a joke. Took a nibble and threw all that back up.
My doctor prescribed 3 different medications to assist with nausea and vomiting. They reduced the number of times I threw up but did not completely stop the nausea and vomiting. My husband turned to me one night, looking confused and stated “Beyonce was able to dance on stage when she was 3 months pregnant with no problem.” He then stated with empathy “I don’t know why you’re so sick, I really wish I could help you.” I turned to him and stated, “I do not have that Beyonce pregnancy, I have that Megan Markle pregnancy.”
For those of you who have had previous pregnancy with no problem, or this is your first pregnancy you may be confused as to why your “morning sickness” is so extreme. You may feel alone and if something is wrong. However, I’m here to tell you, you’re not alone. Many women around the world experience HG during their 1st Trimester. Until recently, they struggled alone. But celebrities like Megan Markle, Amy Schumer, Katie Clarkson, and many others have opened up about their struggles with HG which then opened up the door for more communication as to what it is and how it effects certain pregnancies.
But it’s great knowing that you’re not alone, but how do you survive it?
Support from Friend and Family
1. First and foremost, the support of your family is key to managing your HG. My husband and sixteen your old daughter was amazing during this time. Their help and support made what I was going through bearable. They would assist in cooking (mainly ordering out) and with the groceries. I barely had to leave the bed as they would bring me food and something to drink. They made it clear that they were there to help me anyway they could and that in itself was helpful.
Talk To Your Doctor
2. If you notice that you’re feeling miserable, more than the expected morning sickness, reach out to your doctor to see if you are suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. They may be able to prescribe something for the nausea. My doctor also had a nutritionist reach out to me to discuss different options of what to eat and drink to ensure I stay hydrated and eat healthy. Personally, I survived off of Bell Cheese, grapes, strawberries, and homemade smoothies. My food looked like a little mouse nibbled on it, but it was still better than nothing. Also, though I couldn’t drink water, I was able to drink Welch’s Grape Juice. This helped to ensure I stayed hydrated. One of the warning signs of HG is dehydration. If you are unable to stay hydrated, then you’d have to be hospitalized and receive your electrolytes and hydration through an IV. This is why it is extremely important to talk to your doctors about all of your options.
If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try and Try Again
3. Everyone is different and what worked for me, may not work for you. I tried different types mints to see if it would calm my stomach. As a result, I noticed that the Mint Lifesavers reduced the nausea (at least while I ate the mint), however, the Peppermint Lifesaver, truly was a lifesaver for me. I purchased a massive bag of Peppermint Lifesaver (the blue bag) to calm my stomach and get through the day. I also, noticed that foods I could tolerate at Week 6 were intolerable at Week 10. As a result, my dietary needs were always changing. What helped was listening to my body, the advice of my doctors and chat groups with mom’s who also suffered from HG.
4. Last but not least, I recommend joining a support group of moms who are also suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. These groups can be in person or online. However, I found them to be extremely helpful. Not only was I able to gain advice from other women suffering from the same aliment, but I also no longer felt alone in my journey. It was reassuring to know that I was in this with other strong women, pushing through, gritting their teeth, and struggling all to one day hold their bundle joy in their arms in 6-9 months.
Suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum can take a toll on your mind and body. Positive note, doctors say that the baby is safe and is not affected by HG. However, moms experiencing HG may found it difficult to do anything but lay in bed and throw up. If you’re suffering from HG know that you’re not alone, and hopefully it will decrease when you make it to the 2nd trimester.
Here are some foods and drinks that I found helpful. Hopefully it will be helpful to for you as well.
· Baby Bell Cheese
· Cheese Sticks
· Ginger-ale (Up until 7 weeks)
· Gatorade (drunk after throwing up to replenish my electrolytes)
· Welch’s Grape Juice
· Welch’s Sparkling Cider – Red Grape
· Mashed Potatoes
· Kraft’s Mac & Cheese (this was surprising)
The Pregnancy Survival Kit may also help reduce your symptoms and help you survive your 1st trimester.
Dotun A Ogunyemi, MD. “Hyperemesis Gravidarum.” Practice Essentials, Background, Pathophysiology, Medscape, 3 Apr. 2021, https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/254751-overview.