Despite nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP) affecting around 75% of women, very few of my friends had experienced it. Mostly, those that had were subjected to it suffered only for the first trimester and so by the time of announcing their pregnancy were through the worst of it.
Dealing With Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy
My mild nausea began at four weeks and by eight weeks had progressed to severe. I had read coming off the thrice a day progesterone pessaries I was using as part of my IVF treatment may reduce the symptoms but unfortunately the change in hormone levels led to vomiting as I came out of the eighth week.
Googling told me that ‘morning sickness’ was so called as most women experience their symptoms first thing in the morning. However I seemed to be the complete opposite; the first five minutes after waking were okay and then steadily the nausea would creep in, increasing throughout the day.
I have to begin here by saying I don’t want to come across as whingeing in any way about these symptoms. I feel incredibly fortunate to be carrying a baby. I longed for these symptoms for months and put my body through a lot in order to get pregnant. However, I also want to be honest and say I found that first trimester incredibly isolating, bordering on debilitating and spent much of it on the bathroom floor. Other than for work meetings and acupuncture I rarely left the house and even then, I was terrified of venturing out without James.
Now I’m 29 weeks, the nausea is part of my everyday life and I’d like to think I’m slightly better at dealing with it. I don’t want to dwell on the negatives and so hope this comes across as more of a practical post. I thought I’d share the things that helped reduce the severe symptoms down a notch and the things that definitely didn’t work for me but could work for you if you’re in a similar boat. It goes without saying I’m not a medical professional so this is just my own ramblings based on my own experience. If this is not relevant to you in any way, do have a look at Charlotte’s instagram microblog from yesterday which involves nudity and croissants and is a bit more lighthearted.
I began seeing a nutritionist early on in my pregnancy as I wanted to be as healthy as possible. I couldn’t stomach many of the things that were suggested but one thing that did take the edge off was eating protein with carbs.
I’d force down a hunk of cheese with crackers, peanut butter on toast and cottage cheese on my rice cakes. At one point I did think there was a good chance this baby would come out resembling a block of Cathedral City.
Eating Little And Often
Food has become both my nemesis and my utopia and although I have umpteen food aversions, hunger has stopped me from losing my appetite. Eating six small meals a day (in the first trimester my dinner was probably a quarter of the size of a usual portion) meant I didn’t allow my stomach to become empty. If I was too hungry it was game over for the rest of the day.
James going to South Africa with work at 15 weeks was a turning point for me. Having to prepare my own dinners and look after myself was the kick up the bum I needed. I have no idea how anyone dealing with a subsequent pregnancy manages a child and these symptoms, but not having my husband around made me more focused. I also threw a Royal Wedding brunch around the same time and highly recommend a Morrison’s buffet if like me, you find food prep is all a bit too much.
As IVF can be quite time intensive, Charlotte was up to date with all my appointments and procedures and therefore was one of the few I told about my pregnancy in the early days. Luckily for me, but not for her, Charlotte’s pregnancy with Iris had been nausea-ridden. It was a huge weight off my mind to know I had an understanding boss and someone to confide in when it all felt a bit too much.
Then there’s the lovely Laura from RMW. Laura suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) for the entire length of her pregnancy and was even hospitalised. My symptoms are laughable compared to her sustained sickness but she has never once got out her comparison barometer and has been incredibly supportive, acknowledging feeling sick for a continued length of time can have such an impact. I feel very fortunate to have such understanding work colleagues as I know this isn’t the case for many.
My husband continues to be an absolute legend and there’s also excellent support over on the Pregnancy Sickness Support site too.
I carried on seeing the acupuncturist who supported me with my second IVF cycle throughout the first trimester. I’ll put this in the ‘worked for me’ category as sometimes, but not always I got several hours of relief from the symptoms.
I discovered YouTube fitness guru Body Fit by Amy when James was in SA during my ‘get-a-grip’ stage. I have a serious girl crush on her. Her routines are short and usually really easy – you spend a lot of time ‘tapping it out’. I’m not sure if it alleviates any NVP symptoms but it’s done wonders for my mental wellbeing and will hopefully support in recovery after the birth.
I also started pregnancy yoga around the same time with a fab instructor who is really close by. The sessions are really small with just two other ladies. We really get to focus on connecting with our babies during the classes. Again I wouldn’t say it’s helping with the nausea (there are several positions I struggle with) however it’s given me breathing techniques to help me relax and feel less tense.
This isn’t going to be helpful for folks who have little ones but if I have something big planned I leave my diary blank for the following days and try to get in as many naps as possible as I know if I’m tired the symptoms are much worse.
Does this work for anyone?! It has been suggested by every Tom, Dick and Harry but I’m yet to find anybody who has been helped by a ginger biscuit. I really hope to read in the comments that it’s worked for someone as this common suggestion must be based on some truth! My cousin’s wife swears by burning and inhaling the spice.
If you read the reviews for these on Amazon you’ll see there’s a real mixed bunch of feedback. The stud inside the band exerts pressure on the New-Kuan acupressure point and for some people this brings almost instant relief. They didn’t do anything for me but they’re definitely working for some people!
I’ve been on Pregnacare prenatal vitamins since the start of my first treatment cycle. Some report changing prenatal vitamins have an impact on their NVP as some can be harsh on their stomach. I did try Thorne vitamins where you build up the dose during the day rather than taking one tablet but no change in symptoms this end but worth a try.
Does anyone have any other suggestions they’d like to share for managing NVP? Sending hugs to anyone going through this too. We all know it’s going to be worth it in the end.