Welcome to the very first day of my very first collaboration series! I am so excited to be sharing the blogosphere with so many talented writers and to be included in the 5 Days of Mothering and Homemaking series. So let’s dive right in to my 5 Days to a Healthier Pregnancy – and without mincing any words, I’d like to talk to you a little bit about the morning sickness phenomenon.
Many of us experience this nausea that accompanies pregnancy. In fact, more than 80% of pregnant women have “morning sickness” in some form or other. Some experience the extreme form known as Hyperemesis gravidarum, others experience “only” nausea (which can still be super intense!), and others are somewhere in between with nausea and vomiting.
Whatever your experience has been – and we’ve all had different ones (even between pregnancies there can be so many variations!) – I want to offer some helpful ways to “make it through”, and also hopefully encourage you to press on as far as the struggles go.
Throughout my pregnancies, I have experienced different “levels” of morning sickness. With my first (boy), I was sick from the day we found out, throwing up 7 times a day, for about 15 weeks, with the nausea finally dissipating by week 20. With my 2nd (also boy), I was only slightly nauseated, threw up a few times, and then the nausea would last off and on until 20 weeks. With my 3rd (girl), I laughed bitterly at the term “morning sickness” as I had 24 hour, 7 day nausea with a little vomiting, lasting until about 20 weeks. Now, on my 4th, it is seeming to be very much like the last one – 24 hours, around the clock, no relief whatsoever. And yes, it is tough. Some days I open the fridge or cupboard and just want to cry for not knowing what I can possibly eat that isn’t going to make me sick.
But it is oh so worth it for this in the end.
There are MANY things that can help with pregnancy nausea. And it is really a phenomenon because they don’t really know what causes it. Some theorize that it is the increase in hormones that throws the body out of whack. These hormones make your liver increase bile production, which, when it builds up, can make you feel sick. Then when your blood sugar dips rapidly, as it will when your body is working hard to support two lives, this also can make you feel nauseated.
Whatever the causes, no two things seem to work the same for different people. But I DO appreciate all the helpful and advice and suggestions I’ve received from friends and family over the years who have had pity on me and have been through it themselves, in sharing what has worked for them. If you would permit me to share with you some of what has helped me, then perhaps something there will help YOU if you’re in the same boat.
When you’re pregnant you’re told to drink WAY more water than you normally would consume, and this can be difficult if you have nausea all the time. So here are some things I found that have helped me to at least keep from being dehydrated.
- Carbonated drinks – Yes, sad, but true. I try to avoid pop because of the sugar, but friends suggested carbonated water and carbonated juice drinks when I have been unable to take in any other liquids. I tried lemon water, and it only made things worse than regular water, so sipping on some carbonation has been a bit of a help.
- Real fruit juice popsicles
- Fruit and green smoothies
- Watermelon, grapefruit, cucumber, celery, apples and other fruits and veggies loaded with water
One of the theories for why we have nausea during pregnancy is because our blood sugar can quickly become unbalanced. One of the ways to help counter this is to eat lots of proteins. This can be difficult when you’re nauseated, but keep trying different things, especially when they SOUND good, and you may be surprised what you can eat.
- Fish – tuna and salmon. Surprisingly, while ham and chicken sandwiches made me ill, I could handle tuna no problem. And grilled salmon was a lifesaver!
- Cheese and crackers – try melba toasts, less-salt triscuits (too much salt can trigger a gag reflex), cream cheese on water crackers, etc.
- Yogurt – especially when mixed with homemade granola
- Any supper meat, as long as someone else makes it :D Thankfully it’s grilling season here, hubby’s in his element!
- Nuts – for a while almonds were good, but then I found I was getting too dehydrated eating them, so I haven’t been able to for a while. If you can drink a little while eating them though you’ll help to conquer some of that!
- McDonald’s egg mcmuffins – again, I was a little ashamed to admit this, but once I did, SO many people told me that the exact same thing helped them through their pregnancy nausea! I think it is the combination of the protein in the egg, cheese and bacon, combined with the english muffin that just seems to hit that empty spot every time.
FILLER – AKA Carbs
This is where I go a little off the deep end here, lol. If you know me, I’m pretty careful about what I eat, and I like to make our own whole wheat bread, we steer clear of a lot of processed wheat products (IE white bread products, unless I’m making it) and generally try to eat healthy. That is, unless I’m in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
In my 3rd pregnancy I discovered that whole wheat was making me MORE sick. (Insert sad face here) I’m so thankful for the person who told me to try cutting it out since it’s harder for our bodies to digest (which is good!) and can make you sicker if you’re pregnant.
Anyway, this doesn’t leave much to eating, except for white bread products. But can I offer you this word of encouragement? DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT. If you can hardly keep anything down, and the things you can keep down aren’t the healthiest for you, then please just eat what you can!
- Bagels and cream cheese – almost every day. Yes, it gets a little tiring :D
- English muffins with butter and honey or peanut butter
- Cereal, lots of it – mainly plain ones like Cheerios and special K, occasionally Shreddies
- Macaroni and cheese
Finally, some other miscellaneous tricks I’ve learned to help combat pregnancy nausea:
- lemonheads – delicious, sour little lemon candies (I found them in the candy section at Walmart) that turn sour partway through, then sweet again
- jolly ranchers – these are JUST like the preggo pops, with probably more sugar in them, but WAY less expensive, and with the same effect!
- sniffing lemons, grapefruit and peppermint – strange, I know, but the fresh scents really help relieve the sickness, if even for a brief moment
- ginger tea – I had heard a lot about yogi tea and purchased the ginger one. It really does make a big difference, and has been one of the main ways I’ve been able to take in liquids
There is something I want to leave you with here as I wrap up talking about morning sickness. I have really struggled with feeling so sick, and just wondering how much my body, family, and relationships can really handle. The questions have been asked in my mind, “Could this be it? Is it too much for me to even want to do again?”.
Can I offer you some encouragement here? 9 months is a REALLY short period of time in the grand scheme of things. 9 months is nothing compared to the lifetime of enjoyment and blessing that children bring.
If you are struggling with pregnancy nausea, and a lot of the other aches that go along with it, know YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There are MANY, MANY women who struggle through it with you, on so many levels. We need to come together and encourage each other – the JOY OF THE LORD is our strength. His mercies are new every morning. He has blessed you with the life that is within you, and he WILL give you the strength to endure ALL THINGS. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Lean on him, and you will receive grace and strength to see it through.
Thanks for joining me for this first day of 5 Days to a Healthier Pregnancy! Be sure to check out the other bloggers who are also participating in the 5 Days of Mothering and Homemaking Series.