Are you pregnant and losing weight instead of gaining? Do you feel like food is no longer your friend? Do you find yourself making sure to stay nearby a bucket or toilet at all times? You could be one of the unlucky few women who suffer from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG).
According to the American Pregnancy Association, Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a pregnancy condition identified by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and dehydration.
Getting through HG is a struggle, but with the right help, you’ll emerge with a healthy baby. Today, we’re sharing strategies for you and your loved ones, along with some basic info about HG!
HG is a medically-recognized pregnancy disorder.
It is an awful, very real disease that requires medical intervention. However, the top complaint that women with HG have is that they’re not being taken seriously. If your doctor is making it out like your symptoms are not serious or you’re feeling unheard, find another doctor. If that’s not possible for you, we encourage you to advocate for yourself until you get the help you need.
It affects every woman differently
Since every woman’s body is different, HG will differ for everyone. Generally speaking though, HG will be the worst when you’re around 8-13 weeks along. It often comes back worse with subsequent pregnancies, and women carrying multiples are more likely to experience HG.
Most HG babies are born wonderfully healthy and strong, even though there was a war raging outside the placenta. Typically, women say that they feel instantly better once their baby has left the womb.
When you have Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), everything seems to smell “off.” Says one woman who battled HG, “My nose is so amped up that I know the moment the oven is turned on even if I’m down the hallway in another room with the door closed!”
If you have a very young child, changing their diaper feels like unearthing a dead animal from a landfill. The smell of food is even worse. Some women pat a little dab of essential oil (or Vick’s VapoRub) under their nose to hide the smell. Others wear nose plugs. Whatever you decide to try, you’ll know it works if you don’t feel like throwing up.
Eat is difficult
Finding food you won’t throw up can feel impossible when you have HG. It can seem like nothing tastes right. Foods that were previously “safe” to eat can suddenly make you feel vomitous.
Many women with HG find that their tastes change by the week. One week, you might find that all you can eat are instant mashed potatoes. The next, bagels and cream cheese. Bland food and carbs are usually safer to eat than fruit or veggies. So eat what you think you can!
Drinking is difficult
Staying hydrated is a great way to keep nausea at bay. But many women with HG come to find that they’ll even vomit water, so this is a real challenge. To stay hydrated, women with HG report that sports drinks, ice cubes, or popsicles work. So if you can’t even keep water down, try one of these solutions. Because many women find themselves in the hospital with an IV before they even realize what’s happening.
So many things trigger nausea
When you have HG, lots of random things amp up your nausea. Even simple activities like brushing your teeth or riding in a car can make you feel nauseous. And who knew that bright lights, loud sounds, or turning your head too quickly could set off that sick-to-my-stomach feeling? Also on the nausea-triggering list are pictures of food, smelling food, talking about food, and seeing food.
Anti-nausea medicine is wonderful
Your doctor can prescribe you anti-nausea medication, and it will be glorious. The most common ones are Zofran, Phenergen, Reglan, Diglecis, Bonjesta, and Compazine. Some women just need one to feel relief, while others need two. And a few unlucky women need all and it’s still not enough. They do come with side effects (like constipation and drowsiness). However, the best side effect is taking the edge off your constant nausea. Ask your doctor which medicine might be right for you.
Support is crucial
Find those who can help you. If your partner is unavailable, get a family member. If you don’t live near family, get a neighbor or close friend. Make sure that your support team knows exactly what can trigger your nausea so everyone is on the same page.
Ask your doctor about local support that may be available in your area. Joining an online HG support group is a great way to learn all the tricks and tips. Plus, you can vent to people who absolutely understand what you’re going through. Don’t be shy about asking for help, because HG is a condition that requires support.
Don’t be hard on yourself
If you’re living with HG, you’re in survival mode. So if you have to let some things go (like chores, errands, and basic hygiene), please take it easy on yourself. Your body is responding to pregnancy in a way that’s still being researched. HG is intense! So don’t feel guilty if you find yourself unable to cook dinners, and you let your partner do all the cleaning.
Keep your support team close because it’s going to be a battle. At the end of the journey, you get the best prize of all—a squishy, adorable life.
Have you ever had Hyperemesis Gravidarum? Leave us a comment to let us know what worked (and what didn’t!)