Preparing for Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Although no one can say for sure if hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) will recur with every pregnancy, it very often does. Some women have found that certain strategies and circumstances seem to correlate with less nausea and vomiting. No one knows for sure if there is a link because not all women have HG with every pregnancy, and the severity may vary each time. Sometimes it will only occur with one sex of child, in multiple births, or just in first time mothers. Improved care also affects how sick a woman will become.
Unfortunately, it's estimated among several sources that at least 20%, but more likely 50% or more of women with HG will have it with future pregnancies. No longitudinal studies have been published to date. HER Foundation research finds a very high recurrence rate with similar patterns of duration and severity. Nothing can prevent it, but preparing for HG and getting effective care at the first sign of nausea/vomiting will likely result in an easier pregnancy.
Tips & Strategies
The follow tips and strategies will also help you be as prepared as possible for your pregnancy.
- Start pregnancy with a clear system by
detoxifying your system.
See a health professional for assistance: www.healthy.net
your diet and try new foods so you have more options to
consider when ill.
- As soon as you begin trying to become
pregnant, make sure you are at or slightly above (10 lbs)
the normal (healthy) weight for your height.
Estrogen is stored in fat tissue, and estrogen is implicated as one factor that increases nausea, so don't gain too much weight.
- Have disability insurance to cover loss of time from employment.
- Have the ability to make a mini kitchen at your bedside (including a small fridge/cooler, microwave, toaster and a basket to hold snack foods).
- Consider ridding your home of all garlic containing foods (which include most tomato sauces, frozen dinners, flavored snack foods, etc.).
- Stock up on high calorie/high fat foods as you will need to make the most of every bite. Avoid foods with strong odors.
- Stock up on laundry, dish detergent and body soap that are odor free.
to be in relatively good shape, but don't exercise excessively.
sure you are well-rested and not overly stressed when you
- Try to be in the best health possible.
Eat lots of nutrient dense foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains) and take prenatal vitamins for several months before you become pregnant. This will make sure you have storage of essential vitamins and nutrients for your baby when you are unable to eat. If you have a history of miscarriage, consider adding antioxidants.
- Educate your friends and family about HG and how they can help.
- Try to plan your next pregnancy at
a time that you will have the most family and friends around
for support, esp.
the early months.
This may be summer season when you can hire a teen, or during the holidays when family will be available. Being able to open the windows can be helpful. However, if you live in an area that is very hot, know that the heat can worsen your symptoms.
- Wait until your current children are old enough to be somewhat self-sufficient, etc.
- Plan your pregnancy if possible during a lower
Stress and fatigue aggravate HG. Avoid major changes such as moving, while pregnant.
- Proactively simplify your life
as much as you can and try to make sure you have adequate
help for your pregnancy.
- Find resources for house cleaning
- Stock your kitchen with quick meals for your
family and a large variety of snacks. Consider cooking
- Clean out your fridge/freezer and begin labeling all
foods with the date opened.
- Buy ahead on essentials such as film,
personal care products, gifts, school supplies, tissue
paper and cleaning products (unscented) to eliminate
- Have a cabinet stocked with "emergency" toys, videos, computer games, books, activities, and necessities (crafts, coloring books, balloons, play-dough, etc.) for your worst days. Also consider children's clubs such as:
- If HG lasts most or all of pregnancy for you, think
ahead to what you will need over the next year such
clothes and maternity clothes, etc. Buy in advance
to minimize your stress.
- Make sure your stomach is in
the best shape possible, esp. if you have a history of
pylori or other
That means avoiding things that irritate your stomach like alcohol, smoking, etc. Eat lots of fruits, esp. bananas, berries and apples, and consider taking nutritional supplements that soothe and heal the stomach such as slippery elm, marshmallow, glutamine, etc.
- Keep an effective
antiemetic (anti-nausea medication) on hand if you are
trying to get pregnant and take
it as soon
as you vomit or feel HG hitting.
Start with the one that helped you in your previous pregnancy. Of course, you will need to discuss this with your practitioner and get a prescription from him/her. (If he/she is uncomfortable with that idea, you might mention that doctors recommend taking pain medicine as soon as the pain starts for maximum relief, and you want to do the same with the nausea.) Be careful with leftover medications, they may be expired.
- If you do not feel your doctor
is effective in treating HG, begin your search now and
potential doctors before you get
- Confirm the types of treatment your insurance will cover,
medications such as Zofran, and home health care.
- Consider seeing a perinatologist
or high-risk OB at the first sign of nausea if you have
a history of
a delay in treatment.
- See the dentist for x-rays
and a check-up just before you get pregnant.
a water filter to make water healthier
and taste better: www.multipure.com
- Make phone lists for each room with essential numbers such as family, friends and doctors.
One mom said that she had severe morning sickness (not HG) and weight loss with 3 of her 4 pregnancies. The only one she didn't have NVP was when she accidentally became pregnant while breastfeeding. Other women report this had no beneficial effect for them.
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Updated on: Apr. 18, 2013