Tag Archives: ginger for morning sickness

11 Things Never to Say to a Woman with Severe Morning Sickness

ToiletSo there is morning sickness and then there is MORNING SICKNESS.  AKA Hyperemesis Gravidarum.  All-consuming, debilitating, depressing illness.  Make no mistake – they are not one and the same.

Typical morning sickness comes with some nausea, vomiting, and general not-feeling-well-ness.  Hyperemesis Gravidarum results in severe vomiting, dehydration, trips to doctors, depression in many cases, and pressure to take Zofran (anti-nausea medication for chemotherapy patients).

Neither are fun.

And due to a lack of real knowledge about either of these conditions, sufferers are subject to constant tips and tricks from well-meaning bystanders who may have no idea how serious this can be, especially in the case of Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

So based on my own experience, I’ve compiled a list of things NOT to say to women suffering from severe morning sickness.

1.  Try Saltines.  Unless the mother-to-be is lucky enough to only have a very mild case of morning sickness, Saltines do not work.  They do not help.  They do nothing but ensure that your next vomiting session includes the white salty goo that these turn into.

2.  Try Ginger.  Ginger does not work.  In my case, it makes me even more sick.  After investing in cases of ginger ale, ginger candy, and raw ginger, I quickly developed an aversion that led to nothing but waste.

3.  Try Sea Bands.  I really wanted these to work.  I really gave it a go.  Day in and day out with those little balls pressing into my wrists, leaving indentations and redness.  I will save you the suspense: they don’t work either.  Again, maybe for minor nausea, but for severe sickness – they do nada except mark up your wrists.

4.  Try Acupuncture.  I had high hopes for this.  Heck, if it is good enough for Fergie then it is good enough for me.  I went 4 times, and each time left as sick as I had arrived.  Once I even vomited on the way out.  Now, I will say that the acupuncturist and staff were extremely nice and caring – that was sweet – but as far as any actual relief, well, you know the story.  Did leave a dent in my wallet though.

5.  Try Hard Candies/Prenatal Pops/[Insert Other Consumable Product].  NOTHING like this works.  Nothing.  I have tried it all.  I did succeed in creating some new aversions for myself.  And in trying some new foods.  But none of it helped with the sickness.  And I was a bit offended that well-meaning advice givers were minimizing my all-consuming and debilitating illness to the point that a simple piece of candy or food could relieve it.

6.  It Will Only Last for 3 Months.  How the frick do YOU know????  That’s what I felt like saying every time.  There are certainly stories of poor pregnant mothers who are severely sick up to and even during delivery.  Even if the woman is lucky enough to find some relief after three months, how does three months of misery sound to you???  Imagine a hangover combined with food poisoning that doesn’t let up for THREE MONTHS.  My acupuncturist shared a true story with me: one of her newly-pregnant patients was suffering from some severe morning sickness.  Her not-so-compassionate hubby told her, ah don’t worry about it, it’s only for three months.  That same hubby woke up the next morning with a bout of food poisoning and, as men do, laid in bed all day whining and begging for help.  The wife, every so sweetly, told him “don’t worry Honey, it will only last for three months.”

7.  At Least it Lets Up in the Evenings.  For those living in the dark ages, “morning sickness” is a misnomer.  It does NOT only occur in the mornings.  Unfortunately some of us suffer all day and night.  I would literally wake up in the night to vomit.  When it is severe, there is NO period of relief.  So to imply to a pregnant woman that she has some hours of relief during the day can be completely false and once again minimize the misery she is going through.

8.  At Least You Will Feel Better Once You Vomit.  NOT TRUE!  If you are hungover and vomit, yes you will feel some relief.  If you have the stomach flu and vomit, again you will feel some temporary relief.  The sick joke that is morning sickness ensures that no matter how often or how violently you vomit, there is no temporary relief afterwards.  The nausea is still there as strong as before.  So all the vomiting does is make you tear up, bring up stomach acid, burn your throat, and make a mess.  The woman does not feel one ounce of relief afterwards.

9.  I/My Mother/My Sister/My Friend Never Experienced Morning Sickness.  Well whoopty-do for you.  That’s great.  Really, it is.  But it is not what I want to hear when I am doubled over and heaving into a toilet or sink.  Especially when it’s my 12th vomit of the day.

10.  Just Try Not to Think About It.  My usually-considerate husband had the audacity to mutter this to me one morning.  Lord help him.  You might as well just say “it’s all in your head.”  I promise you, it is not in my head.  I swear to you, if there was any way possible that I could focus on anything OTHER than being so ill, I would be the first one to do so.  Well-meaning advice givers, I can guarantee you, it is not in the mother’s head.  It is not a matter of simply not thinking about it.  It is a real and serious illness which has no cure and only questionable treatments.  Telling her not to think about it is simply ignorant and, frankly, not possible for her.  Do yourself a favor and keep this little tidbit to yourself.

11. [While in Mid-Vomit] Quick, Get Out of the Kitchen/Bathroom/[Fill in Location].  Newsflash: Once the vomiting has begun, it cannot be stopped.  You cannot simply move the woman to another room or away from the smell and expect the vomiting to stop.  That ship has sailed.  Instead, hold her hair, rub her back, comfort her, and help her clean up.  From experience, I can tell you that all you will accomplish by telling a vomiting pregnant woman to “quick – get out” is a pissed-off and exasperated monster who, if you’re not lucky, may decide to aim your way.

So what CAN you say to a woman who is going through the throes of morning sickness or, worse, Hyperemesis Gravidarum?  Nothing.  The key is not to talk.  Not to offer advice.  Just to listen.  Let her vent, let her cry, give her a hug, offer to lend her a helping hand, and check up on her often to see how she is doing.

No advice needed.


First Trimester “Morning” Sickness

For me, the first trimester was a surreal time.  You find out you’re pregnant.  You begin the routine of doctor appointments, blood testing, ultrasounds, and prenatals.  You don’t quite believe it yet.  At first you feel completely normal.  You don’t believe that there is anything growing inside of you.  You stop drinking.  You stop eating sushi and sashimi.  But nothing else has really changed.  Until it suddenly does.

MORNING SICKNESS.  This is my single most vivid memory of the first trimester – in fact, the first 4 months.  Couple things.  First of all, it is not simple “nausea.”  Secondly, it does NOT only occur in the morning.  This is a tidal wave of all-consuming illness that lasts all day, all night, 24/7 for (at least for me) the first four months of pregnancy.  This is far worse than any stomach flu or hangover.  IT DOESN’T END for weeks and weeks.  Nothing helps it.  The psychological aspect of knowing there is no end in sight is almost as bad as the sickness itself. 

I tried everything.  Everything.  The wrist bands (nothing).  Ginger (nothing).  Belly Bars, Gummies, and Lollipops (nothing).  Crackers.  Which I was so sick of people telling me to eat – what, you think I haven’t tried this??  Let me save you the suspense.  Nothing helps.  If you’re one of the unlucky ones who has miserable morning sickness, there is simply nothing you can do.  Vomiting DOES NOT HELP (at least if you have the stomach flu or are hungover, it provides you temporary relief).  Certain smells will make it worse.  Foods and even water will make it worse.  Prenatals definitely make it worse.  Heck, even toothpaste made it worse.

I have vomited or nearly vomited at home, at work, at the gym, in the car, and on the bus (commuter bus to work).  In fact, workouts were stopped after the first month of pregnancy until after the 4th month of pregnancy when the sickness started to ease up.  There is nothing worse than being in a public place, or sitting on a bus, and concentrating with all your might – do not throw up, do not throw up, do not throw up.  I withdrew from my friends.  I stopped walking the dog.  I stopped eating.  I basically spent those first few months in bed, on my couch, or in my office chair.  I grew depressed.  The ongoing sickness begins to take over and overshadow everything else, and depression during this phase of pregnancy is very real.  I became ambivalent about the pregnancy.  I told myself this was it, never again.  I started to second-guess our decision.  Hubby felt helpless, unable to relieve me, and took over the household chores, etc.  Not a fun time for either of us.

A few things I did learn though:

  • Prenatals: take them at night.  Don’t get me wrong, you will still feel sick all day, but the urge to vomit immediately after taking the prenatal will occur right before bed, in the comfort of your own home, vs. when you are rushing to get ready for work, driving to work, or sitting in your office.
  • If it doesn’t smell good, get the heck out of there.  FAST.
  • No big meals.  In fact, no real meals at all.  Small snacks all day long seemed to help me keep it down.
  • Stop the workouts.  Second only to feeling like you have to throw up on a moving bus is having to run off of a Treadmill or Stairmaster to make it to the gym restroom on time.  A bit embarrassing to say the least.
  • Sleep.  And then sleep some more.  Besides being simply exhausted, those hours will provide you a temporary reprieve.

And trust that it WILL end.  Maybe not for 4 months, maybe not for 6 months.  I’ve even heard stories of poor women who suffered all the way up until their babies were born.  But there IS an end in sight.  Just get through the next snack, the next meal, the next day.  Take care of yourself. 

And if you’re one of the lucky ones who has little to no nausea, ENJOY IT!  Round Two you may not be so lucky.