Hyperemesis Gravidarum, or HG, is one of pregnancy’s rarer complications, afflicting an estimated 0.3 – 2% of pregnant women. Hyperemesis Gravidarum, for those of you lucky enough to not know, is extreme vomiting and nausea while pregnant. It can cause dehydration, weight loss, toxin build-up in the blood, headaches, low blood pressure, and in extreme cases, miscarriage and death of the mother. HG usually begins between the fourth and sixth weeks of pregnancy and can last until the baby is born. Many HG sufferers are so ill that they face frequent hospitalizations, and are so nauseated that they lose at least 10% of their pre-pregnancy body weight. Unfortunately, HG is not fully understood and doctors have yet to discover a cause.

I suffered through Hyperemesis Gravidarum with all of my pregnancies, each one getting progressively worse. During my last pregnancy, I was hospitalized several times and lost 28 pounds. I was very lucky to have the support of my husband and family, but there were many days where I would lay on the floor in my bathroom and cry (without tears, though, because I was so dehydrated).

Every woman has a different experience with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, and what helps one woman might not help another. That being said, these are the things that helped me through the long months of puking and dry-heaving 20-30 times a day.

 

1. A body pillow

hyperemesis gravidarum pregnancy body pillow

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I spent the majority of my days laying down, either in bed or on the floor. My body pillow saved me. I had one that looked like the photo above, which offered me plenty of stomach and back support. My husband wasn’t wild about it but I gave absolutely no fucks.

{Also read: A Love Letter to Boppy, My Pregnancy Pillow}

2. Sugar-free hard candy

hyperemesis gravidarum hard candy

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Several women in my HG support group found that sucking on some kind of hard candy helped them keep their nausea at bay. I personally had a bit of luck with mints, but others preferred cinnamon candies or Jolly Ranchers. But, whenever possible, try to get sugar-free (or no sugar added) candy. Your teeth will already be damaged from vomit and malnutrition, so don’t throw sugar on top of that.

3. Reusable water bottle

hyperemesis gravidarum water bottle

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I kept a water bottle with me at all times, and would take tiny sips whenever I felt like I could tolerate it. I especially liked sports-bottles (the kind you can squeeze), because they worked even when I was laying down.

4. Popsicle molds or ice cube trays

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There were some days when the only thing I managed to eat was a popsicle. My husband would freeze whatever fruit juice I could stomach, and I’d suck on those popsicles all day. They were especially soothing on my throat, which was raw from all the vomiting.

5. Unscented lotion and petroleum jelly

hyperemesis gravidarum petroleum jelly

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My constant dehydration led to horribly dry skin and chapped lips. Unfortunately, anything scented or flavored would trigger my gag reflex, so I made sure to have jumbo bottles of unscented lotion for my itchy skin and petroleum jelly for my cracked lips.

6. Books on tape

hyperemesis gravidarum books on tape

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Listening to books on tape helped me pass the long hours when I couldn’t get up off of the bathroom floor. An Audible membership would have been perfect for me!

7. Odor-sealing disposable bags

hyperemesis gravidarum odor-sealing bags

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When I had to leave my house, I always made sure I had my special barf bags. These odor-sealing bags were a LIFESAVER, especially when I was in a car or couldn’t get to a toilet or garbage can.

8. Unscented cleaning supplies

hyperemesis gravidarum unscented cleaning supplies

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It was imperative that the cleaning supplies we used in my bathroom be unscented. The smell of “regular” cleaning supplies was such a trigger for me that I would uncontrollably heave the second the scent hit my nostrils.

9. Soft tissues

hyperemesis gravidarum soft tissues

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The skin around my nose was so red and raw from vomiting that it hurt to touch it. Unfortunately, I had overactive sinuses thanks to rhinitis of pregnancy. I made sure my bedside table was always stocked with soft tissues for my non-stop runny nose.

10. Extension cords

hyperemesis gravidarum extension cords

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I used an extension cord every time I was in the hospital for intravenous hydration. I needed to keep my iPhone charged so I could use it to listen to music, books on tape, meditation exercises, etc. And of course, I would also use it to communicate with my family and friends when they checked on me.

What helped you with Hyperemesis? Let us know in the comments!

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