I feel like something of an expert in pregnancy sickness (I refuse to call it ‘morning sickness’), having had quite nasty experiences of it now in two pregnancies. With my first pregnancy, I was sick between 10-20 times a day every day for the first 18 weeks, and although it did ease off, the sickness and nausea continued throughout the pregnancy. This time around, it’s not been quite so bad on the actual sickness front (‘only’ around 5 times a day on average), but at 20 weeks now, I’m still experiencing lots of nausea.
There’s no doubt that while you’re in the thick of it, nothing helps. I know. And you probably want to give the next person who suggests ginger or those sea-sickness bands a swift slap around the face! But I’ve found that once the levels of sickness ease off a bit, there are things that ease the sickness and make it more manageable. No doubt not all of these will work for everyone, but I know that I was desperate enough to try anything that I read about!
Be kind to yourself
Getting through those days where the sickness is unbearable is really tough. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t function as normal – lots of people sail through pregnancy, but lots and lots of people struggle. You’re not alone. Don’t worry about eating healthily – even if the sickness continues for a long time, it’s a short period in your life. Eat what you need to to get through it.
I’ve found one of the hardest things to get through this time has been looking after my son while being sick. If you have other children to look after, kids TV is a lifesaver! I definitely found that being tired was a huge trigger, so if your child still naps, take advantage and try and take a nap too, and try to get as much sleep as you can (easier said than done when you’re waking to visit the toilet every hour, I know!)
Eat little and often
I found that, despite having absolutely zero appetite and the thought of food turning my stomach, that it was actually far better to stop my stomach from getting empty. I stopped eating 3 meals a day, and instead ate every two hours in smaller portions.
Carbs were the food group of the first trimester for me – pasta, jacket potatoes, cheese. Anything yellow seemed to go down ok.
One of the best tips I had was to eat salty crisps – it soaks up all the excess saliva and really did help me get through the worst times. Salt and vinegar Pringles were my weapon of choice!
The taste of lemon was also a huge help. Flat lemonade was about the only drink I could stomach (joined by flat coke once the sickness subsided a bit)
If you’re really struggling to keep anything down, food or drink, ice lollies are great. Working in the lemon flavour really helped too – I found some lemonade flavoured ice lollies and would have one of those when I was feeling at my worst and it did give some temporary relief.
Melon & Pineapple
For some reason chunks of sliced melon and pineapple were one of the only healthy things I could stomach. I’d buy those big pre-sliced resealable bags of both of them from Tescos and have a few slices as a snack.
Mint is another flavour that is renowned for helping with pregnancy sickness. Peppermint tea is supposed to settle the stomach, and I was recommended mints by lots of people. But I found that the only mints that actually had any effect were Polos – something to do with the sweetness of them I think!
Focus on the positive aspects of pregnancy
I found that focusing on upcoming exciting things about the pregnancy definitely helped the time pass. The 12 week scan, finding out whether you’re having a boy or a girl, feeling those first movements – try to embrace the positive aspects of pregnancy where you can.
Ask for help
I’m one of the worst people out there for not asking for help from people. But the reality is that with pregnancy sickness, unless you’ve suffered from it, you don’t really understand how unrelentingly awful it can be. If it’s too much, do go to your GP and ask for medication, or a change in medication if you’re already taking some form.
Do ask your family and friends to help. Don’t expect them to understand how you’re feeling and offer to help – you almost certainly will need to ask.
I often hesitate to complain to family and friends about how awful I’m feeling as I worry it’s just boring. Online forums can be a great way to get support from people who do understand – Pregnancy Sickness Support have lots of useful advice and the Mumsnet Pregnancy thread has a long running thread for Hyperemesis Gravidarum (severe pregnancy sickness) which is very welcoming whether you’re suffering with HG or just bad sickness.