Sick and tired of always being sick and tired: the truth about Hyperemesis/ “morning sickness” or pregnancy-related sickness
Written on 1st May 2019 – 30 weeks pregnant
Edited 13th May 2020 – Not planning any pregnancies – EVER!
This time last year I felt like I was practically fasting during lockdown through the lack of food. (the reality of every Muslim right now – Ramadan Mubarak to you all).
I was on my third pregnancy which was in close succession after the other two pregnancies, and I could not remember what life was like before I was ever pregnant or remember a day when I hadn’t been sick. The majority of my pregnancy (like the previous two) had been spent working from home, in bed /sick leave – being or feeling sick.
Before becoming pregnant, I never understood the severity of pregnancy-related sickness. You hear about “morning sickness” but hyperemesis – well it takes over your life (like lockdown) … And carry on reading, here’s a bit of what I experienced and some tips on things which I wish someone had told me.
Pregnancy-related sickness just sounds like you were sick once… but when you’re violently sick after each and every meal/ snack repeatedly throughout the day, week and month feeling excited and positive about the arrival of your little one is the last thing on your mind, sadly.
It is sadly a very lonely experience and one only other women who have experienced this will understand.
On this day I had spent most of the day in tears and I felt like I was having one of the darkest days. I hadn’t left the house in weeks, I had no energy due to throwing up and feeling hungry, and too scared to eat.
On my third pregnancy, I can confirm that hyperemesis/ “morning sickness”/ pregnancy sickness does not discriminate to the time of day you’re sick, trimester, what you ate, what your doing, who you’re with or even the myths about girls vs. boys and carrying twins!
If you’re going to be sick… It’s going to happen REGARDLESS… it’s all to do with your hormones.
Sickness triggers can come in many forms:
- Stress or fatigue
- General moving
- Walking fast
- Even regular to vulgar smells (meat, baked beans, bacon (sandwich shops), bin)
- Looking at different colours (looking at someone to wearing a yellow shirt)
- General eating
- Drinking regular tea/ water/ juices
- General life!!
As it was a condition that affected all three of my pregnancies. I did some research on this and found the main reason we are sick during pregnancy is due to a hormone in the body called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) and Estrogen, women who have high levels of sickness are less likely
to miscarry and a positive study I read (made me feel better!) suggests that HCG is related to high IQ in children so if you are suffering with pregnancy-related nausea and sickness, the likelihood of having a smart child will be higher! (that’s my retirement sorted 😊). So now I’m expecting my children to win a Nobel Peace Prize, or be a doctor as a minimum (typical Asian parent goals – no pressure)!!
Sorry ladies, now for a little bit of honesty (no sugar coating -sorry) Hyperemesis is more than just “morning sickness it’s exhausting, lonely because (obviously) not everyone can witness someone be sick and undignified, a weak pelvic floor will do that to you!
It’s not going to pass, you won’t wake up and feel ok one day – sorry ☹ You will feel low, depressed sick, hungry and drained. And are likely to be sick every time you eat.
But less of the doom and gloom, here’s my advice and something I wish someone had told me:
Just accept that it’s a part of your life right now! You can try ginger biscuits, crackers, toast, mints, anti-acid tablets, lemon, anti-sickness bands, anti-sickness tablets and remedies may defuse it temporarily but if the sickness is to come, it will come.
If you have the extreme form called Hyperemesis then just keep the doctors and midwife in the loop as much as possible so you don’t become dehydrated and the baby can be monitored
2. Chew your food and drink a minimum of equal part liquid
Chew your food completely so when you do vomit it feels easier. Nothing is worse than chocking on solid food … most of the time the sickness is pretty relentless and won’t stop until your gut is empty so again plenty of water to help it come up is easier.
3. Choose what you eat carefully
Now this isn’t about what causes sickness, this is more about what you want to see again!! Sounds funny I know but think about what you like the taste of. Vomiting a spicy curry along with the chocolate milkshake you had is not something you don’t want to taste TOGETHER (true-story!)
So, choose water and none spicy food if possible!
4. Learn to burp yourself
So again, sounds random but sometimes when I was feeling nauseous burping myself helped relive that faint and dizzy feeling. So, if you feel like that would help, using your palms rub and slam your chest, in between your collar bone and chest.
5. Be ready
Tie your hair back, forget the make up and have a carrier bag on hand. Sick in your hair and running mascara is not cool! As I said before it’s going to happen regardless of where you are so having a carrier bag or something on hand always helps.
6. Avoid the advice factory
People who don’t know what your going through will give you googled or hear say advice – if it helps great- if it doesn’t you are back to not accepting which I believe is worse!
“Eating little and often” is something people say – forget what they say… just eat within your limits! And know what those limits are!
The sickness is caused by pregnancy hormones and if it’s any consolation – apparently, it’s a positive sign!! Even though it doesn’t feel like it!
7. Pray while vomiting
So, as a Muslim I strongly believe that the duas (prayers) from a pregnant woman suffering is a direct call to the big man himself, therefore instead of concentrating on the pain and suffering try and write down some duas for family and friends you want to make. And think about them while vomiting.
8. Talk to someone
Cry, let it out and let your other half and extended family help you and listen to how you feel. Trying to be a hero and do stuff for yourself is something you can do when the baby is here…
So for now suck it up sister, accept the situation, drink plenty of water, choose foods you don’t mind tasting twice, be ready and tell people how you feel!!!
The one thing I can tell you with certainty is that you will feel better on the birth of your baby. Bring on the DUE DATE.
Update 2022- What are the Duas for Pregnancy sickness
So I’ve had lots of questions about an actual Dua for pregnancy. I recommend the following video.