Thursday, May 5, 2011

Morning, Noon & Night Sickness

a guest post by a close friend soon-to-be- Mama T

The first thing you learn is that ‘morning’ sickness is a total misnomer, it is all day sickness. Some women have it worse than others, and I had it pretty bad. I read one pregnancy book that said “welcome to the queasies” and I almost threw the book out the window. What I had was not “the queasies”, it was full out vomiting all day every day.

So I tried every remedy that I could find online, in books, advice from friends and family, doctors, etc. If it was out there, I tried it. So I wanted to share those remedies in case it will help another Mama-to-be, and mostly to let you know that you are not alone!

Personally I was unable to control the morning sickness with home remedies and ended up having to take Zofran due to dehydration (the other option for me was to be admitted to the hospital for IV fluids, so I chose the less invasive route). If you are unable to keep down any water or liquids then definitely contact your doctor right away, or if you have signs of dehydration (infrequent dark urination, loss of skin elasticity, dizziness/fainting, etc), as dehydration can be harmful to your baby or this could be a more serious form of morning sickness called Hyperemesis gravidarum.

I was very resistant to taking Zofran (generic name is Ondansetron), since though it seems many women are prescribed it for morning sickness, the FDA has issued a B rating, so it has not been adequately studied in humans but no side effects were found in animals studies (check out for ratings on any medications). My husband did some research and found that the NIH has done a study where they found no negative side effects from Zofran in pregnancy, which helped me to feel a little better about taking it.

Here is a list of things that I tried (yes, I tried them all!):

·           Take your pre-natal vitamins! No, this doesn’t help with morning sickness, but it very important for the baby, especially if you are vomiting up all your meals. If your vitamin is making your sickness worse, talk to your doctor about a different brand/type. Some women have trouble swallowing the pills and end up taking chewable vitamins.
·           When you wake up in the middle of the night between 2-4am, eat a snack. This will help with sickness in the morning time, because as my doctor explained morning sickness is paradoxical, meaning that the more empty your stomach, the more sick you feel.
·           Eat small meals often- eat every 1-2 hours, whatever you can keep down, this goes along with the point above- so that your stomach is never empty.
·           Try sucking on Preggie Pops or hard candies. I found these to relive some of the nausea (not the vomiting though). Regular lollipops and hard candies worked just as well for me, for some women gum works or ginger flavor hard candies.
·           Drink fluids 1/2 hour before or after a meal, but not with meals- this is SO much harder than it sounds!
·           Drink small amounts of fluids during the day to avoid dehydration- if you can’t drink water (like me), try gingerale or seltzer, whatever you are able to drink. And avoid diuretics like coffee or tea that will make you more dehydrated.
·           Try acupuncture. I know this is not for everyone, but I did find some relief from it. Make sure to do your research and find a professional with experience and training treating pregnant women.
·           Foods to try: soda crackers (saltines with or without salt), lemonade/lemons, gingerale or ginger cookies (anything with ginger in it), caffeine-free ginger tea, watermelon. Or basically just eat whatever doesn’t smell horrible. For me it ended up being applesauce, crackers, pasta, cantaloupe, graham crackers, plain bagels, plain yogurt and just plain carbs. “Some women find that carbohydrates are most appealing when they feel nauseated, but one small study found that high-protein foods were more likely to ease symptoms” From Baby Center- however I say eat whatever you can keep down!  Foods high in protein include: peanut butter on apple slices or celery; nuts; cheese; crackers; milk; cottage cheese; soy, and yogurt.
·           Foods to avoid: fatty foods, strong smelling foods, fried foods or spicy foods.
·           Eat soda crackers (or whatever you can stomach) 15 minutes before getting out of bed in the morning
·           Get out of bed slowly in the morning.
·           Aromatherapy- lemons, ginger, lavender, peppermint- were some of the smells recommended.
·           Try wearing Sea bands. You can find these in the pharmacy, they put pressure on your inner wrist in the area that is supposed to relieve sea-sickness, the same pressure points used for morning sickness.
·           Avoid foods and smells that increase nausea. Um yeah, for me that was basically everything.
·           Avoid warm places (feeling hot adds to nausea)
·           Exercise. Haha, I will not lie, I did not do much exercising. Although getting outside and taking a walk (in an area without strong smells) did seem to help.
·           Vitamin B6 taken as a combination with the antihistamine doxylamine. In the United States this combination can be recreated by using Vitamin B6 along with over-the-counter Unisom SleepTabs (Not SleepGels or SleepMelts). NOTE: I would not recommend trying this without consulting your doctor, my doctor did recommend it for me, he called it the “miracle pills” (although it didn’t work for me), but it must work for some women!

My doctor said the absolute most important thing is to stay hydrated, so he was not too concerned that I was throwing up all my meals, but more worried that I couldn’t tolerate liquids and became dehydrated. He explained that the baby feeds off the vitamins already in my body, so as long as I could keep down my pre-natal vitamin, food intake was not that important.

The good news is that for most women the symptoms resolve by the end of the first trimester (12-14 weeks). Usually symptoms peak at week 10, so you may have an end in sight! However, some of us unlucky ladies it continues on into the second trimester and for some poor women it continues throughout the entire pregnancy. Based on my internet research symptoms are often worse and persist longer for women carrying multiples.

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