I had morning sickness with both of my pregnancies. It wasn’t just in the morning, and it wasn’t just in the first trimester. I was sick daily with both pregnancies until maybe the middle of the second trimester, and then I was still sick on at least a weekly basis until delivery. Note that the title of this post isn’t about getting rid of morning sickness, but just surviving it. Also, this post has a lot of TMI content, so be warned. (Pregnancy has a lot of TMI content, so I do feel it’s realistic).
Identify your Triggers
Before I even found out I was pregnant with my twins, I sat down for breakfast one day, and Antoine, our current Workawayer (it’s like a cultural exchange program for adults), had made me and my daughter eggs and toast for breakfast (yes, I know I was spoiled!). I sat down and looked at the eggs and immediately knew I was going to be sick. I told him to never make me eggs again, and sure enough, I didn’t eat eggs for months after that.
So yes, eggs were on my list of triggers. Coffee was another big one. The smell of coffee would make me throw up. At my house, my husband had to switch from using a French press to instant coffee to reduce the smell. If he tried to drink the coffee in my presence, I was going to throw up. My friend that I carpooled with I had to ask to stop drinking coffee in the car if she didn’t want me to be sick. Even at work, in meetings, a few times I had to ask the other person if they could finish their coffee before the meeting or have it after. When we went to sign our life insurance policies, they had helpfully put a carafe on the table, and I went out of the room immediately to ask the receptionist if she could move it. I know that was a pain, and you could even say overstepping, but I would literally throw up.
If you are experiencing morning sickness, you’ll soon identify your own triggers. Don’t be afraid to ask others politely if they can make modifications. I didn’t have any instances of anyone saying no, but I also didn’t even try asking others (e.g. the person sitting on the plane next to me). Just take an emesis bag (details below) and do your best to deal!
Having had severe morning sickness for two pregnancies, below are some things I found useful.
- Snack frequently. If I didn’t have regular snacks, I was bound to feel nauseous. One sure-fire way for the smell of dinner to make me throw up was if I was hungry and had an empty stomach. Not sure why but having regular small snacks throughout the day was my best defense mechanism.
- Always have water available. When you are pregnant, you are thirsty all the time anyway, but if you end up getting sick somewhere, trust me that you’ll want some water available for after.
- Try Preggie Pop Drops. I don’t really know why these work, but they often did for me. I could feel myself getting queasy, and sucking on one of these sour candies wouldn’t necessarily make the queasiness go away, but it would keep me from throwing up. I found these especially helpful when I was driving or in the car.
- Always have Emesis bags with you. I carried these around with me during both pregnancies. I often was sick in cars, while out and about, or just had urgent situations at home where I’m so glad I had them handy and didn’t have to sprint while pregnant to try to reach the bathroom on time. Also, when I was larger during pregnancy, especially with twins, bending over to retch in the toilet often made me feel worse, so it was better to throw up in these. Also – a TMI warning for this one, but if you have challenges with your bladder control during pregnancy, you can easily sit on the toilet while vomiting into one of these. Pregnancy is glorious, right?
- Wear pads, especially if this is not your first pregnancy. In both pregnancies, there were times I’d be so sick, I’d need to change my clothes entirely. But wearing pads regularly helped with that.
- Talk to your OBGYN about options. In both pregnancies I ended up using medication for morning sickness. What I was able to get was completely dependent on my insurance plan. I had three different insurance carriers over the course of my two pregnancies, and each of them approved different medications. One of the better medications, wasn’t covered at all by two of the insurance plans, and the out of pocket cost was hundreds of dollars a month, so I passed. For when it was covered, I think it was still $100 a month out of pocket, but I paid it because I felt I needed it so bad. Even with medicine, I’d still vomit occasionally, but not multiple times a day anymore.
- If you get dehydrated, call your OBGYN. At one point in my twin pregnancy I was struggling to keep anything down – liquids included. I had also lost quite a bit of weight in just two days. They gave me some suggestions for what to try to keep down, and to just take a few sips every 10 minutes until I was feeling better, but if I was going to still struggle, they wanted me to come in for IV hydration or visit a hydration center (who knew that existed?)
- Talk to your OBYGYN about weight loss. Because of morning sickness, I lost weight in the first trimester of both pregnancies. For some people this won’t be an issue, especially if you started out overweight, but you should talk to your doctor about what is expected.
For most people, morning sickness vanishes after the first trimester. For other lucky people, like myself, my aversions continue after pregnancy. The smell of hot coffee still makes me feel sick, even six months after delivery. About a month ago, I tried to have hot coffee, and I ended up getting sick in our kitchen. I’m at least grateful I can have an iced latte at this point, at least most of the time.
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