“Have you tried ginger?” becomes the classic response to the overwhelming nausea many pregnant people experience. By the third time around I had to resist rolling my eyes and making sure my smile didn’t look too fake when delivering my reply of yes I have tried it all. The crackers before getting out of bed, the smaller meals throughout the day, the light snacks, any and every kind of ginger, lemon, preggo pops, hard sour candies, upping protein, etc. Trust me when I say that every pregnant person has tried it all if they are graced with worshipping the toilet or turning a few hues of green that first, and sometimes second and third trimester of all day (none of this just morning nonsense!) sickness. My personal favorite was when someone mentioned to me how she wished her friend would meditate because it’ll help the nausea go away. I’m pretty sure I smirked a bit then, at the time just shy of 5 weeks pregnant and knowing that joy was about to hit me like a ton of bricks in the next week or so. I’m all for meditation, but no amount would relieve the waves of nausea!
While it is a welcome symptom in some regards as it means baby is growing and the cocktail of hormones is doing its thing until the placenta takes over that role, it is one that more often than not is not terribly enjoyable and for some can be down right scary. Personally I never quite got to the point of being diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), I’ve known many mamas who have and their stories entail many trips to the ER for fluids, significant weight loss and sometimes even needing a pic line of medication to allow them to keep water and some type of sustenance in. Needless to say it’s nothing to joke or mess around with when it gets to that point, or even before then.
My personal experience has been different with each pregnancy, with more similarities between the boys vs. my daughter. All of them the sickness is triggered and accompanied with the heightened sense of smell and it took one whiff of something to send me running to the bathroom hoping I wouldn’t lose the bit of bread I was finally able to choke down with my lemon infused super cold ice water. With the boys it was more nausea with less vomiting and with O there was no lead up to the “oh no that’s not staying down” leading to some fun stories of trash cans, sinks, bushes and behind buildings. All three though I needed to take something to prevent me from losing more than 5lbs (with my first it was 10lbs until the midwife said no more and had me start taking Zofran). With my first two the only thing that worked was Zofran, but there has been more current research on that linking it to birth defects. This current pregnancy I was able to use the over the counter solution of Unisom (tablet vs. gel cap form) at night to curb the nausea enough to get breakfast and dinner down (lunch wasn’t an issue this time – beginning and end of the day were bad). Even at 26 weeks I’m still taking half a tab at night after my attempt to wean off of it led to a date night with me spending it in the bathroom of the restaurant. I also found that ginger lemon kombucha and lemon water helped a ton (but NOT lemonade – both boys quickly taught me they were not going to let me keep that down!). Seabands and acupuncture also helped keep it tolerable at least. And by this third time I was able to hold onto knowing it wouldn’t last forever.
Interestingly enough my mom really never had much sickness with me or my brother (aside of me making her sick on mothers day- sorry mom!). But my maternal grandma had the same pattern as me with being sicker and longer with her one boy vs the three girls (my boys keep me sick well into the second trimester). Hang in there to those getting through the long days of nausea and focus on what helps you vs. the millions of suggestions people have to offer!