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Tips to Deal with Hyperemesis Gravidarum

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Like many women, when I saw the two pink lines on the pregnancy test, I felt an array of emotions. Joy, surprise, panic, anxiety, and relief. Much to my surprise we got pregnant the very first month of trying ( I was expecting 6 months to a year). I was tracking my cycle, so knew exactly when my period was due and took the test on the first day of my missed period.

So I was around two weeks pregnant when I found out. After the initial excitement it then felt a bit anticlimactic. None of our loved ones knew and the 12 week scan felt like a very long time away.

Just a few weeks later, I was already incredibly nauseated, all sight and smell food made me feel sick to my stomach and I lost my appetite. Hyperemesis completely took over my life. So in today’s post, I wanted to share some support, resources and perhaps a tiny bit of hope for anyone going through the same extreme pregnancy sickness. Here are my tips on how to survive Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

Tips to Deal with Hyperemesis Gravidarum

What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

Most people first heard about HG due to the Duchess of Cambridge being hospitalised with it when she was pregnant. Amy Schumer also raised awareness of it by documenting her experience with it on social media. But unless you’ve been there and experienced it yourself, it’s hard to know just how awful it can.

Put simply, it’s a complication of pregnancy that effects around 1% of women. It makes pregnancy utterly debilitating and a miserable experience for the person experiencing it. It makes you incredibly nauseated and unable to keep down much food or liquid. Even standing up is a struggle and walking up stairs can be enough to finish you off.

Food aversions to almost everything and smell repulsion is typical. I had to stay upstairs if my husband was cooking, and opening the fridge was and being hit with the sight and smell of food, was one of the worst activities I could think of.

Add to that the fact there’s such a taboo about telling people you’re pregnant before 12 weeks (totally impossible for someone with extreme pregnancy sickness, there’s no way to hide it) and a considerable lack of understanding by medical professionals and society in general, it’s an incredibly lonely place to be.


What is it like to have Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Imagine the worst case of food poisoning you’ve ever had, plus the worst hangover, added to the feeling of being sea sick, on top of anxiety that your baby is being deprived of any nutrients. Then imagine that for months on end. That’s what it feels like to have Hyperemerisis Gravidararum. I think it’s hard to really grasp how debilitating it can be until you’ve experienced it yourself.

In fact I read in an article that around 1000 women a year chose to terminate their pregnancies due to the extreme effects of HG.

With HG, it’s a constant sickness from the very minute you wake up to when you finally pass out for an hour’s sleep before another wave hits you so intensely that it wakes you up.

My Hyperemesis Gravidarum Story

To put it simply, the pregnancy ‘glow’ is not something that I experienced.

By week 4 of my pregnancy I was already incredibly nauseated, all sight and smell food made me feel sick to my stomach and I completely lost my appetite. I remember thinking that there is nothing worse than the feeling of being nauseous without the actual physical need of throwing up. How wrong I was! As soon as I reached week 6 the vomiting began. I had never actually heard of hyperemesis gravidarum before and thought I was just dealing with normal pregnancy sickness.

I couldn’t understand why I was suffering so badly whereas other women were able to carry on with their normal lives without much change. By week 8 I was unable to get out of bed, eat, drink, or do any kind of activity without vomiting.

There was nothing I could do to escape it. Lying down didn’t help, and trying to distract myself with reading or watching TV was out of the question. Scrolling through Instagram was a big no no and the food triggers were EVERYWHERE.

By week 10 I couldn’t take it anymore and made an appointment with my GP who immediately prescribed me with medication. I felt a huge sense of relief and believed I would be able to get back to work and have a sense of normality. Unfortunately though, I wasn’t often able to keep the tablets down and when I did the sickness didn’t go away. The tablets took the edge off and allowed me to have a bit of activity each day. However I was still incredibly sick and spent most of my time in bed.

HG is not morning sickness. This is an entirely different level of all day sickness, and it effects you not only physically, but emotionally as well. HG can take you to a really dark and lonely place, I felt extremely low and anxious. I worried about the baby and what impact HG was having on them. I also worried about my income. Being self employed means you don’t receive sick pay and I was effectively on bedrest for almost four months.

I was too sick to leave my bed, let alone my house. The only time I left was for midwife visits. I realised how much of my value I placed on being productive. I felt incredibly guilty that I wasn’t getting things done, detaching self-worth from productivity is hard.

An added problem was I also had numerous non-food triggers that would trigger the sickness. Sunlight was a huge one. I couldn’t stand to have the blinds open in our house. I had motion sickness, even when my husband would get into bed at night and the mattress would move, I would vomit.

All strong scents would trigger the sickness, toothpaste, shower gel and shampoos all made me throw up.

By week 15 the tablets started to work and almost overnight I was finally able to eat and drink again. I was able to get dressed and leave the house. I was able to prepare a meal for for the first time in months. I was able to live again, and it was a relief like I had never felt before. I slowly began to feel like myself again. I was able to start wearing proper clothes and get excited about the pregnancy. I am around week 20 now and have started to reduce my medication and it seems like I am on my way to being HG free.

Tips to Deal with Hyperemesis Gravidarum 1

Editable Pregnancy Announcement 

Tips to Deal with Hyperemesis Gravidarum

I spent hours reading articles and going through HG support forums and tried everything suggested. I found some tips that helped ease the HG and make it more manageable. Here are a few things that can help you cope and take the edge off:

Speak to your GP 

As soon as you experience symptoms and are struggling to cope, book an appointment with your GP. I wished I had done this earlier so I could have been prescribed medication sooner. I also spoke to my midwife team as well. I found antenatal appointments particularly difficult, especially as a mask had to be worn at all times and my husband was not allowed to attend. By telling the midwifes about the HG they ensured I was in and out as quick as possible.  They also lay me down when taking my bloods as it made be feel very dizzy!

Eat small and often

My typical three meals a day completely went out the window as I was only able eat a few bites of something in one go. I found grazing throughout the day helped me and I tried to ensure that, I never let myself feel to full or too hungry as this is when I would feel the worst.

Avoid too much liquid when eating 

One of only ways I was able to keep food down, was by drinking as little as possible an hour before and after eating.

Drink little but often

I actually struggled to keep liquids down more than I did with food. As mentioned above I was mostly able to keep food down as long as I avoided drinking too much in the hour before and after eating.

I tried to sip water little and often rather than drinking in large amounts. When you have just thrown up for the fifth time and you’re feeling thirsty and your lips are dry, it can be so tempting to have a large drink. I found if I took a big gulp it would always make me throw up, so tried to just sip throughout the day.

Let your food cool down before eating

I struggled with hot food and stuck to mainly cold food like granola, crackers and sandwiches. I also struggled with hot drinks and could only keep cold drinks down.

Ice lollies

If you are struggling with liquids then try having ice lollies. I picked up this tip from a Facebook Group and it worked really well for me.

Eat something small before getting out of bed

For me a plain biscuit and a small glass of grapefruit juice sipped very slowly in bed before I got up often prevented the first wave of sickness.

Comfort is key

Wear comfortable, baggy clothes without tight waistbands. Anything tight or restrictive worsened the sickness. I also couldn’t wear anything with a high neck.

Acupressure bands

I only took these off to shower! Whilst they didn’t take away the sickness completely, they definitely lessened the intensity for me.

Find Support

Well intentioned loved ones, friends and coworkers may say things such as “Oh I had pregnancy sickness, have you tried ginger biscuits” which will make you want to scream in frustration. Of course you have tried ginger biscuits! You have tried everything!

It’s very difficult for those that haven’t experience HG to know how difficult it can be.

Something that massively helped me, was finding and joining an HG support group on Facebook. It is an active group of women who have suffered with HG, and it has helped me to read their stories and to share with others who have had similar experiences. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone. If you are reading this post and you are suffering from HG or know someone else that is, I highly recommend this group.

Talk to your employer

Talk to your employer about your sickness and take off as much time as you need without feeling guilty. The priority is keeping yourself and baby safe.

Remember, this will end

The positive news is that HG it will not last forever. Pregnancy will end and so will HG. In those hard moments, remind yourself of this.

Coping emotionally

Lying alone in bed or on the sofa for weeks on end can be boring and depressing. Especially when you have no idea when the HG will end.

I think it’s helpful to take it day by day. Torturing yourself with ‘I have months of this left to go’ is not helpful. Take each day as it comes and try not to think to far ahead.


You may not have much choice in this matter as HG often means you can’t stand up for longer than 5 minutes at a time. My sickness medication made me very drowsy and I would often be knocked out for a few hours after taking it. Everyone I spoke to from my GP to my Midwife all recommended to get as much rest as possible.

Become familiar with the severe side effects of HG

Call your midwife or GP straight away if you:

  • have very dark-coloured urine or have not had a pee in more than 8 hours
  • are unable to keep food or fluids down for 24 hours
  • feel severely weak, dizzy or faint when standing up
  • have tummy (abdominal) pain
  • have pain or blood when you pee
  • have lost weight

Avoid the standard Pregnancy Supplements

I was recommended by my midwife to not take the standard antenatal supplements, which can aggravate the sickness. Instead I was told to just take folic acid and vitamin d.

The other option is to get ones in liquid form that you can swallow or chewable ones.

** If you are suffering from HG and looking for more support, please contact PregnancySicknessSupport.Org 

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Love Hayley X

How To Deal With Hyperemesis Gravidarum


Tuesday 19th of January 2021

A very interesting read which I am sure will help other suffers immensely.