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7 Tips For Dealing With Hyperemesis Gravidarum

[Credit: Healthy Mama]
Of all the things I can share in common with Kate Middleton, Hyperemesis Gravidarum is not what I would have chosen. 

As some of you may have heard or guessed, I am now 16.5 weeks pregnant and have been keeping a low profile because of my diagnosis which has kept me involuntarily homebound most days. 

What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum? Described as "a complication of pregnancy that is characterized by severe nausea and vomiting such that weight loss and dehydration occur", it affects less than 3% of pregnant women (lucky us!) and usually occurs in the first trimester and lasts significantly longer than morning sickness with no known prevention or cure. 

My symptoms began showing at Week 6 after our first visit to the OB-GYN, and they got progressively worse and peaked after my two-week vacation to Singapore and London at Week 13. At my worst, I was down 6 pounds and vomiting up to 10 times a day and any quick or sudden movement or smell would tip me off.

Calling HG morning sickness is like calling a hurricane a rain, and the best parallel I can draw is to relentless food poisoning. The good news is that if you receive proper treatment, HG is unlikely to affect the baby.

It's honestly been hard to feel excited when I've mostly been feeling miserable, but I thought it'd be useful to share some tips I have learnt with dealing with HG.

1. Listen to your body

Sometimes I forget that I am growing a human inside of me (!!) and how much work it takes. If your body is telling you to take a rest, REST and don't feel guilty about having to say no to social engagements or having to outsource for help with the household chores. I've doubted myself and pushed myself hard on a few occasions, but I got so sick after that it's just not worth it to try to prove anything to anyone (even to yourself).

2. Keep a food journal 

The first-line treatment for HG is a diet of dry, bland food, and I have found that keeping a food journal has helped me to work out what my triggers are and to manage my nausea. What works for someone may not necessarily work for you- for example, rice, potatoes, nuts and fish all make me super sick, so I've had to be very disciplined about what I eat. My current diet consists of almond yoghurt, bread, pretzel sticks and steamed dumplings.

3. Master the art of grazing

The best tip from my OB-GYN has been to "never allow yourself to feel full" but take small bites every 2-3 hours so that there is always food in my stomach. I used to be a fast eater but I've had to learn to eat very slowly so that my body can digest the food and prevent acids from nibbling on my stomach lining. 

4. Stay hydrated

Even if you're struggling to keep any food down, make sure you stay hydrated and keep an eye on your urinary output. I don't like drinking plain water and I try to keep it palatable by rotating between flavored seltzer, Bruce Cost Ginger Ale and coconut water. Ice pops are also a great way of keeping your fluids up, but I'd watch the sugar levels in them. 

5. Don't neglect your skincare

There were days that I was too tired to care, until one day I looked into the mirror and realized that my face was peeling like a reptilian... ugh! I immediately treated my face to Bottega Organica's Rejuvenating Face Scrub for a gentle exfoliation followed by Birchrose & Co's Cacao + Honey Antixoidant mask for balance and hydration. Since then, I've been alternating between Marie Veronique's Barrier Restore Serum and Twelve Beauty's Ideal Moisture Level Serum nightly to lock in the moisture after my nightly cleanse.

6. Reach out to people

Since HG can be an incredibly alienating experience, I am thankful for the support of family and friends who don't judge or try to shove advice down my throat, taking time to listen or share their experiences with me (like my friend who slept away her entire first trimester, waking up only to eat), making me feel less alone and more human. There isn't much anyone can do to alleviate the symptoms, but every text, every message and every prayer means so much to me. 

7. Be thankful for small mercies

I remind myself to take it one day at a time and look out for small mercies along the way, like the joy of eating a popsicle for breakfast, being able to binge on my favorite Netflix series and seizing the pockets of good moments I have during the day. Remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and this sickness will not last forever.

[Credit: She Reads Truth]

1 comment

  1. So sorry you've been so sick. I hope the appearance of a couple of posts in my inbox means the worst is behind you. Congratulations!


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