The truth about Nausea during pregnancy!

Conceiving a baby is miraculous, the timing of all the things between ovulation and fertilisation and intricate workings of the female body to sustain that fragile life is beyond amazing!

Is it just me or are we exposed to a lot of information around fertility and preconception awareness but no one really warns you about the potential onslaught of debilitating sickness you’ll have to deal with while your body makes room to grow and nourish another human?

I’m writing this as a 15 week pregnant mother of a toddler and what I’ve been experiencing has been nothing short of crippling. I understand why its not advertised or acknowledged in the media, A) not everyone is as lucky as me and gets Hyperemesis gravidarum, and B) if we were warned I’m not sure we’d all be reproducing at the rate we are as its quite a show stopper for those who do suffer.

What is Morning Sickness and how is it different to

Hyperemesis gravidarum?

Morning sickness is something most pregnant woman face in the first trimester of their pregnancy, it ranges from mild nausea upon waking until you’ve eaten some snacks all the way to full blown vomiting your soul up several times a day, unable to eat, drink, operate at any level and you’re merely in survival mode. The later version is known as Hyperemesis gravidarum and thankful only 3% of pregnancies are victim to this level of sickness.

What causes Hyperemesis gravidarum?

Wouldn’t we love to know that… I’ve read a lot material on the topic and although there are many theories, there is no compelling evidence to suggest a definitive cause of HG. It is thought by mainstream medicine to be related to pregnancy hormones (specifically human chorionic gonadotropin HCG) being churned out by the placenta but it doesn’t explain the varied symptoms profile from person to person.

As an alternative health practitioner, I resonate with Ayurveda and other Eastern philosophies and it is thought the process of morning sickness is no mistake. It is the purification ritual to ensure the baby and mother have the most healthful pregnancy and start to life possible.

The intensity of the sickness indicates the toxins that need to be cleared, but if the body denies being cleansed, it indicates the toxicity levels were too great and it was too risky to put that amount of stress on the mother or baby so the toxins are merely stored and shared.

What can I do to help ease symptoms of morning sickness or Hyperemesis gravidarum?

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, everyone is unique and you may or may not have relief from the list of suggestions below. I personally found minimal relief from anything, I was open to and tried it all though.

  • Trying to avoid your triggers, which may include: certain foods or smells, riding in the car, bright lights, certain noises or sounds and tight-fitting clothes
  • Eating foods with real ginger (ginger tea, ginger candies, ginger ale or ginger cookies)
  • Grazing on six to eight small, high-carb and high-protein meals throughout the day, which are easier to digest and keep acids from irritating your stomach lining 
  • If you can drink plenty of fluids and keeping an eye on your urinary output (dark, urine is a sign you’re not getting, or keeping down, enough liquids)
  • Wearing nerve-stimulation wristbands, such as seabands (these actually gave me some relief to be honest, I put them on and my nausea reduced approx 20% within 10 minutes)
  • Acupuncture
  • Taking Epsom salt baths
  • Controlled breath work
  • Self oil massage to bring disruptive Vata energy (Ayurvedic philosophy) down.

What should I do if I think I have hyperemesis gravidarum during pregnancy?

In my personal opinion, not much. Wait it out and get as much support you can from family and friends as possible. Keep in touch with your health practitioner/GP of choice to see how they can best support you also. There are medications that can be prescribed which apparently reduce the severity but I looked into some of these and they are all contraindicated for pregnancy and it wasn’t a risk I personally wanted to take. I decided to wait it out and hope it would dissipate with time. Luckily enough I felt quite a turn of events around the 15 week mark, still having nausea and occasional vomiting but I was able to keep some meals down and begin to drink fluids again. I also noticed an increase in my energy when my body was able to receive fuel and nutrients again.

Pregnancy is a wild ride, but that is the process that is creating life, birth is also a wild ride which we must journey into without fear or trepidation. I am a passionate ambassador for all things woman empowerment especially when it comes to birth. If you haven’t already please check out this amazing documentary that has just been released by an epic group of woman (two of which will assist in the delivery of the baby I’m growing) one of which was at the birth of my first baby.

I hope you enjoyed reading my observations and personal opinions on this matter. This is not intended to be interpreted as medical advice. Please do your own research and talk to your practitioners who you trust.

Nicola Johnson

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