Tuesday, March 5, 2013

How to Survive Morning Sickness

Oh, morning sickness.  I selfishly thought that maybe since I waited so long to get pregnant, I would have an easy pregnancy.  Ha!  Apparently it doesn't work like that.

For about 6 weeks, I was more miserable than I could have ever imagined to be.  Sure, I had a good day here and there.  But for the most part, it was pretty gross.  I'm talking, puking 2-5 times per day on average, being terrified of mealtimes, and feeling so anxious because my body wasn't getting the nutrients it needed to support my baby.

I tried every tip and trick in the book to relieve my nausea.  So today I thought I'd share some of the things that helped me.  Hopefully this post can be helpful to someone out there!

What Worked For Me:
  • The first thing that worked for me was popping a Preggie Pop Drop in my mouth whenever the nausea hit. If I could suck on one when the nausea was still mild, it helped to keep it at bay a bit.  These can be found on the internet, or at stores like Babies R Us and Motherhood Maternity.  The price is a little steep, but in my opinion they are worth it.  I believe they are a little less expensive if you order them on Amazon.  And they are tasty!  Very sweet and a little bit sour.  My non-pregnant friend tried one, and she loved it too!

  • Eating Salty things.  I had one week where the only things that sounded palatable were salt & vinegar chips.  Maybe not the healthiest choice, but when you're that sick, you just want to keep something down no matter what it is.  Calories from unhealthy food are better than no calories at all when you're growing a baby!
  • Ginger Gum.  This gum worked about as well as the Preggie Pops.  They are a bit expensive too, and can be found at drug stores like Walgreens, or online (again, I think they're cheaper if you can find them online).  My only drawback is that they don't have the best taste in the world.  They basically taste like pure ginger.  So if you're choosing between this and the Preggie Pops, I would go with the Pops.  They are much tastier!

  • Eat what sounds good.  It took me awhile to learn this, but I finally realized that eating all the things that were supposed to be easy on my stomach were still making me sick, so I might as well just go for it and eat normal food.  Sometimes when I would eat saltines or toast, I would get violently ill afterwards.  And sometimes I would be just fine.  Also, one day I ate chicken fingers and french fries and I was fine.  Another time I ate a subway sub (toasted so the lunch meat would be safe!)  And had an EPIC puke-fest.  Since my morning sickness was so random, I just decided to eat whatever sounded okay, whether it was technically supposed to be easy on the stomach or not.  
  • Don't avoid eating.  It is the hardest thing in the world to make yourself eat when you know you're probably going to see your food for the second time a few minutes afterwards.  But an empty stomach makes the nausea SO MUCH WORSE.  Eat frequently.  For me, once I let my stomach get too hungry, there was no turning back, and I KNEW I was going to get sick. 
  • Eat small amounts.  Don't overload your sensitive stomach.  At one point, I was having an abnormally good day, and at lunchtime I thought I'd try to eat more than normal to try to get some more calories and nutrients in my body.  Let's just say, that was a BAD idea.  
  • Stay busy.  Morning sickness is a really weird thing.  It is certainly not "all in your mind,"  but from my experience it can be affected somewhat by the brain.  I mean, that's the whole reason some people get sick when they see another person get sick.  It's the reason you probably feel nauseous from reading about all of my puking, or even just hearing that word.  When you're nauseous and you think about it, the nausea immediately gets worse.  So for me, I found that while I was at school or clinicals busy with other things, my nausea was not as bad.  Don't get me wrong, I still felt like death.  But somehow I never, ever actually threw up anywhere but home.  And that is because when I was at home, I wasn't busy and focused on other things.  It's almost like my body could suppress the nausea to a degree when I busy, and needed to be doing things.  Maybe that is not the case with most people, but I know it was true for me.  While some days I felt like I would rather curl up in a ball and die than dress up, have my "morning puke," and then drive off to clinicals where I would be busy all day, it always made me feel better.  

What Didn't Work for me:
  • Sea Bands.  If you don't know, Sea Bands are basically like little sweat bands you wear on your wrists that have a little plastic ball inside of them.  You're supposed to place the plastic ball on a certain pressure point on the wrist, and that is supposed to suppress the nausea.  and I have heard people swear by these things! ...But for me, I really don't think they did a thing.  I still wore them every day, because I was terrified that it would have been worse without them.  But on the few days I forgot them at home, I didn't feel any worse than normal.  And on top of that, they are uncomfortable (at one point I had tiny bruises on both of my wrists from the little ball digging into my skin) and they are ugly.  Again, I have heard people swear by them, but for me, they didn't work.  Perhaps they would be better for more mild nausea/morning sickness.

  • Sprite/Ginger Ale.  A lot of people told me the carbonation in pop (or soda, depending on where you're from!) and the ginger in Ginger Ale would help my nausea, but the few times I tried it, it did not stay down.  I think maybe the sugar was the reason it always made me sick. 

A Note About Prenatal Vitamins

Who knew what a pain prenatal vitamins can be?!  Take a woman who is already sick within an inch or her life, and pump her full of iron.  I know that iron is very important for me and my baby, but it sure does make me nauseous!  Some brands claim to be easy on the stomach, but I've tried a few from my doctor, and they all had the same effect.  There are gummy vitamins you can buy that are easier on your stomach.  But the reason they're easier on the stomach is because they don't contain as much iron.  And like a said, a pregnant mama needs iron!  

The best thing I've found for taking prenatal vitamins is to...
  • Take them at night, before bed.  Then you can sleep through the worst of it.
  • Eat something beforehand!  Don't take them on an empty stomach!  I have tried to be brave (or stupid/lazy) a few times in the past few weeks since the nausea has pretty much subsided, and have popped them in before bed on an empty stomach because I didn't feel like taking the time to eat something.  every time I've done that, I've laid in bed in agony until I finally ended up running to the bathroom, and you know what happened from there.  Again I will say, don't be stupid like me.  Don't take them on an empty stomach!
I hope my experience with morning sickness helps someone out there!  (Or maybe I will just bookmark this post for my next pregnancy!)  There is certainly no cure, but there are ways to manage it a bit.

4 comments:

  1. Wow! I had a terrible time too when I was pregnant. The morning sickness was actually a whole-day sickness for me. And it was like that for around six months or so.

    Salty things also helped me, as well as sour things. I always drank fresh lemonade and ate green mangoes with shrimp paste.

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  2. I can't stand ginger or sour candies this time around. I eat mints like crazy, they are the only thing that seems to help my nausea. And sleep!

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  3. Man, you've really had it bad, Jessica! I'm glad you shared your tips though, because you never know how things will vary from pregnancy to pregnancy - I might need to refer to this next time! :-)

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  4. stephanie horstmanMarch 8, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    I think prenatal vitamins made me sick too so I didn't take them. I took flinstone vitamins instead and what a difference it made for me.

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