Hyperemesis During Pregnancy

Updated on November 27, 2012
D.H. asks from Waterville, ME
19 answers

My husband and I are planning to have a second child and I am preparing for the worst. I had hyperemesis during my first pregnancy (first four months was awful) and I am worried about getting so sick again. Has anyone had extreme 'morning sickness' again in their second pregnancy and how did you cope? How did you take care of the first child? Any coping strategies or suggestions on what we should do? We are not yet pregnant, but I want to be ready!

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So What Happened?

Hi everyone,
Thank you so much for your responses and sharing your experiences. I indeed did get pregnant right away with our #2, and have been diagnosed with hyperemesis once again. I am almost 11 weeks and have been hospitalized 3 times so far, but I am beginning to get a handle on things. My mom ended up taking time off to come help out with the baby so I could rest or get hydrated at the hospital. It has not been easy, but I know in the end it will be worth it. Thanks again for your support, D.

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L.B.

answers from Boston on

I had this with all three pregnancies...The one thing that finally actually helped was vitamin B6, small doses a few times a day. I also took Rainbow Light vitamins. They are food based, and have other herbs to help with symptoms.

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C.R.

answers from Boston on

Hi D.,
I've been where you are. I threw up from about 5 weeks until I delivered with my first. I was also working full time. When I knew I wanted a second child, I had to remember all the tricks that worked the first time around. First, I started with the pre-natal vitamin that we found I tolerated best the first time. Second, I already knew that heart-burn and reflux were going to be a problem. I discussed options early on with my midwife and built a plan that included a daily reflux pill and allowed for an emergency tums during the day. If I needed it. I learned the first time around what I could eat and what to avoid. But the biggest thing that helped my second pregnancy was the knowledge from having done it all before. I was so scared about everything the first time I was pregnant. Every cramp, every twitch, every mood swing had me wondering what was happening. I was also put on prozac for post-pardum after my first delivery. We kept a close eye on my dosage and I went through the second pregnancy on the medication.
One of the things my midwife told me during my first pregnancy, when I was crying and throwing-up everyday, was that I didn't have to suffer through it. She helped me find a balance.
My first son knew I wasn't feeling well. But just having him around made me smile and feel better about the whole process. Even about asking for help before I needed it; because I knew I would.
You can do it. You've done it before. This time you're wiser and more experienced. If you doubt that, ask yourself what specifically you are most worried about and create a plan to fix it.
You are Mom. You can do anything!
:)
C.

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D.B.

answers from Boston on

I had it with all 3 of mine. I managed to cope pretty well but it wasn't easy. I had it for all 9 months with all of them. Just try to have meals prepared ahead of time for the family. As far as the other child just try to keep things handy for them to do such as coloring and reading books. Also make sure the doctor knows that you had hyperemesis with your first one.

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A.H.

answers from Hartford on

Have you thought of acupuncture? It is really effective for morning sickness. I used it throughout my pregnancy and it was wonderful. I'm not sure where you are located, but you can check out http://www.nccaom.org/find/index.html to find a licensed, board-certified acupuncturist.

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D.C.

answers from Boston on

I had that with all three pregnancies, I feel for you. It does stink. I was put on an antiemetic(anti vomiting) medicine called Zofran which truly worked wonders! I also noticed with each pregnancy it was better. Maybe because your busy with the other child to notice how crappy you feel. Well, good luck and happy outcomes for you!

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S.S.

answers from Providence on

Hi D.,

Wow, I cannot imagine how much courage it takes to even think about it again! I was nauseous in only one of my three pregnancies, for about four months, and I thought it was wretched. I just wanted to enjoy the pregnancy. So, you are a hero in my book.

Something you might consider BEFORE becoming pregnant is seeing a good acupuncturist. You may have a Chi yin/yang imbalance that causes extreme sensitivity in pregnancy. It certainly won't hurt. Ask around, do some reading and see if it looks like a good option for you.

Best of luck,
S.

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J.H.

answers from Burlington on

Hi D.,
I really feel for you! My first pregnancy was fine with just normal morning sickness so I was very surprised to be struck with hyperemesis during my second pregnancy. As you know, it is just unbearable. My daughter was only 9 months when I got prego and taking care of her as sick as I was quickly became nearly impossible. Of course I ended up in the hospital and they prescribed a very strong anti-naseau med, phenugen (sp?), for me. Altho that would work for a few days, it made me literally pass out for the first 24 hours. The medication was also very strong and I was nervous to take it. Then my mid wife suggested a combo of a 1/2 a Unisom every night with Vitamin B6. She said it doesn't always work for everyone and it could stop working at any time, but it worked a miracle for me! It COMPLETELY ended the sickness! I still can't believe it worked so well. I tried stopping it a few times thruout the pregnancy to see if I still needed it and I did. It actually got worse in my last trimester and I had to take a whole Unisom each night. Of course you should talk to your doc before taking anything at all but I don't know how I would have survived and taken care of my daughter if that Unisom had not worked.

Be prepared! If you can't find something that works for you, you WILL need help taking care of your first child. The hyperemisis is usually worse in second pregnancys and could last the whole 9 months. There is no way I could have taken care of my daughter alone as sick as I was. While I was finding a "cure" my sister helped with my daughter. I don't know what I would have done with out her. I can't stress enough that you should be prepared to need full time help with your first child. Remember, you could be completely incapacitated and/or in the hospital. You may need help with just regular household duties and you won't be able to work if you work outside the home. I guess the financial side of this is the biggest thing you have to consider.

I wish you the best of luck! You are SO brave to try again. It will be worth it when you hold your next child. That's what I tried to remember when it was the worst. We have 2 and since I can't be sure the Unisom would work again, I will probably never try to have more. Remember also, nothing is for sure, maybe you will get lucky and it won't happen again at all!!

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C.P.

answers from Portland on

Hi, D.. I have a couple of wonderful books on herbal remedies and tricks to coping with morning sickness in my lending library.

I also give my mammas a special morning sickness blend of oil. It is sold at Butterfly Baby on Congress Street.

A couple of things to have on hand: acidic foods of any sort (lemons, ginger, soda). The acid may counteract the stomach acid. You can also try pressure bands, acupuncture, etc. to help ease and cope with the morning sickness. Also, lots of water and sleep :)w

If you would like to borrow the books, I will be happy to get them to you. You can see if you like them before you buy them.

This is my e mail address: [email protected]____.com

Do you have any more information on your condition? I would like to know more about it.

Take care and good luck!

C.

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K.B.

answers from Portland on

I was sick with all three of my pregnancies, but was the worst with my third. I ended up having to take a prescription medicine just to function for my other two boys. It was a generic form of phenergen. The only real noticable side effect for me as well as some other people, though not all, was that it made me really sleepy, but at least I wasn't living in front of the toilet.

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K.F.

answers from Boston on

I was sick through all 9 months of all three of my pregnancies and it did get worse with each one. I took zofran with my second pregnancy but for me the side effects were hard on me (sorry severe constipation). I opted not to take it with my third pregnancy and ended up significantly smaller after giving birth. But the best thing you can do is just do anything and everything you can to stay hydrated. I would constantly have popcicles because it was fluids but just a little bit at a time so it didn't upset my stomach as much and kids chewable vitamins where much easier too. You really just need to experiment and find what works for you. I stayed about of cars as much as possible, my husband made me breakfast and then woke me up and I tried to take it easy (for me the less I did the better I felt. A good day was only being sick 3 times lol and I was sick both on the way to the hospital and during labor but its worth it. I would definitely recommend at least trying a medication like zofran and don't feel guilty eat whatever it is that your stomach can handle. As for caring for my other kids my husband was around a lot during my second pregnancy lucky for me. During my third we stayed in more which I did feel bad about and they were a little older then your daughter (2 and 3)so could play independently if I needed a little time. I found that if I didn't make a big deal about being sick it didn't bother them it was as normal as if I was going pee they would just walk in and be like mom I need this mom fix that completely unfased. Its such a short period in the grand scheme of things that your daughter probably won't even remember it and she have a life time of fun with her sibling.

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L.V.

answers from Boston on

Hi D.,

I had hyperemesis with the first pregnancy, to the point where I lost 12 pounds in my first trimester and had black eyes from the endless vomiting. After 4 months I couldn't take it any more, so my OB-GYN put me on Zofran, which she assured me was safe. I took 1 to 2 mg of it for the rest of my pregnancy since every time I tried not to take it, the vomiting came back.

With the second pregnancy, the nausea started almost immediately so I just went straight back to the Zofran. Once again I took about half to a quarter of the pill they gave me, and it was enough to stop the vomiting although I still felt somewhat queasy all the time. I could not have coped with a very active and demanding 5 year old and also a full time job if I had been as sick as I was the first time around. The Zofran was a true blessing!

I hope this helps.

L.

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L.S.

answers from Boston on

D.,

Hello. While I did not have hyperemesis I was very ill during the 1st timester/early 2nd trimester with two pregnancies. In preparation for getting pregnant again and with the hope of avoiding feeling horrible I received weekly acupuncture treatments and took herbal prescriptions from my acupuncturist. While I still had some morning sickness it was very mild compared to the 1st two pregnancies. I also think it really helped balance me hormonally so I felt great throughout my pregnancy and afterwards. I hope that you find some ways to get relief. L.

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R.G.

answers from Boston on

Hi, D.!

I, too, had HG for the first 21 weeks of my first pregnancy. When my son was almost 3, I got pregnant with my second, and had it again for 21 weeks. It was really difficult, but worth it when my my beautiful daughter was born. (I have a friend who had HG with the first and was perfectly fine with the second. It's basically a 50/50 chance, so you might get lucky. With that being said, you still have to prepare for the worst.)

My advice to you is to prepare the best you can. I got all the little projects I wanted to do around the house done. I stocked up household goods at BJ's. I went to Dream Dinners and filled the freezer with food for my husband. And I hired someone to clean my house twice a month. Build a good support system around you with friends, family, and neighbors to help you with your first child. (If you can afford it, hire a PT Nanny.) Start on Zofran the second you find out you are pregnant. And see if your dr. will schedule weekly IV's, so you don't become dehydrated. (I hired a babysitter every Friday afternoon and went into the hospital for IV bags of fluid.)

Again, there is a chance that you won't have HG this time, but if you do, TRY to think positive thoughts. While it seems like an eternity, it is only 4 or 5 months of your life, and it will be worth it when you see your baby. The second time around is a little bit easier because you know what it's like to have a baby. The first time you are pregnant, it doesn't seem real. HG is the WORST feeling in the world, so you will be in my thoughts and prayers! I hope you are one of the lucky ones and have a great second pregnancy!

Take care,

R. G.

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H.O.

answers from Boston on

During my first pregnancy I had severe morning sickness until well into the fifth month. It seemed to be aggravated by having an operation during the sixth week and given a general anesthesia. Since fasting was required from the night before surgery and then I was given the anesthetic, nothing was in my stomach. Of course,as soon as the operation was over, I could not keep down the anesthetic and was unable to keep any food down. After a week of that, I was given a medication which is no longer on the market. Every month I tried to do away with the medication, but could not keep any food down without it until well into the fifth month. My baby, fortunately, was born very healthy. An empty stomach just aggravates morning sickness. I did have five more pregnancies which only started with some morning sickness, but I never let myself have an empty stomach again during a pregnancy. Early on when nauseousness was present, I would take food easy to swallow and digest like crackers and ginger ale. That would be a staple at night just until I seemed to get over it. My last five pregnancies were fine after the sixth week.

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B.S.

answers from Boston on

my sister-in-law had this. she lives out of state, so I didn't follow day by day, but I know enough that it was worse with the second pregancy than the first. She had to get a pick line (sp?) so that she would be okay. They wanted to hospitalize her, but she is pretty fiesty and refused. It pretty much lasted the entire pregnacy and she lost tons of wieght and then gained something like 70 lbs in the last 3 months (her body holding onto fat after being in starvation mode).It sounded completely aweful.

Anyway, the best of luck to you - I hope your experience is nothing like hers. (I'm sorry if I scared you)

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B.T.

answers from Boston on

hi D. i wisch you luck. i dont want to scare you. i was sick with all my 5 children. but you may have cellery sticks with crackers. that realy helpsa lot. the moisture in the cellery will make you feel bether . you can also ask your doctor to give you something it want harm the baby . again good luck. you will be just fine .
B.

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N.R.

answers from New York on

I had hyperemesis with all 4 of my pregnancies! My doctor or hospital
Said they've never seen cases so severe, Absolutely Nothing helped me
I was so sick that Everything made me Vomit; from looking at people or things, to smelling, movement, light, even my thoughts made me sick. I was
Hospitalized in a dark room no tv, no visitors, no phone calls, and whoever was my nurse that was on duty was giving strict orders, no perfumes no lotions and they had to shower with a certain kind of soap before the came on duty, oh and if they ate anything they had to thoroughly wash there hands with the certain soap and brush there teeth a few times to make sure they didn't smell like food. No meal trays in my room or even by my room, I could smell the tray when it passed my closed door. I vomited every couple if minutes unless I was sleep. I could brush my teeth or take a shower or bath and I hated to be touched. I had Pic lines with all my pregnancies and was feed thru them until about 6 months there my pregnany, and when I was released I had a home health care nurse come out everyday, I to be hooked up to ongoin fluids at home. The only thing that got me thru it was God. The good part from it is All my babies were extra healthy even tho I lost around 60 to 80 pounds every baby was bigger then the last. Birth weights where 8.6, 8.10, 8.0 ( but she was a month early), and last 11.10... I am truely blessed and even though I went thru alot to have them I would do it all over again!! Be blessed ladies and know you are never alone....

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S.K.

answers from New London on

Hello D.,
I had the exact same experience. I was terribly sick, hyperemesis for the first 4 months of my pregnancy. It was horrible. I ended my pregnancy weighing less than before I got pregnant. I never did add pounds during my pregnancy- just tried to make up for what I lost in the beginning.
I did end up taking an anti-nausea medication called Zofran during my pregnancy. It helped so much. It took the edge off so that I could function. I hated taking any kind of medication, even hated taking Tylenol, but it was really a life saver.
When we were ready to start trying for our second child, my first daughter was just over a year old. I figured that if I was going to be sick again that it was better for me to just get it over with. My daughter was young enough that it was okay for me to sit on the floor with her and throw up into a bucket. She didn't seem to care- would even wipe my forehead with a washcloth. She was very helpful. My second pregnancy was just as bad as my first. It was easier because at least I knew how wonderful the outcome would be!
My second child was also a daughter. I was thinking that maybe if the second was a son- then my nausea might not be as bad. But I can't offer any information there.
I can say that the medication was a great help. It didn't take away all of the nausea- but it at least kept me from throwing up for a few hours a day.
I found out that my daughter could be very understanding and sweet.
Good luck and feel free to email me if you ever want to discuss.
-S.

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L.L.

answers from Boston on

Oh boy, you're in a tough situation. I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum with every pregnancy. We finally were able to have a beautiful, healthy daughter- I was forced to terminate prior pregnancies due to my extreme condition. (I had a PIC line for 4 1/2 months and took Zofran the entire pregnancy. I was vomiting in the delivery room. I lost 20 pounds before I was 10 weeks pregnant. I spent 6 months in bed with a bucket and the shades down. My husband had to change deoderants 3 times before I could stand to have him in the same room with me. I had 2 HEPA filters in my room to filter out the smells. You get the picture.)

If you don't already know about it, helpher.org is a wonderful website where you can find support from others in your situation. (It wasn't yet around when I was pregnant). There may be a support group in the metrowest area now; check the website.

How supportive is your OBGYN? I found the right doctor made a huge difference.

I found the most difficult thing was other people's (even my my own mother's) lack of understanding that HG is not morning sickness. It is a very frightening experience that is extremely isolating. Do you have family in the area whom you can enlist to help?

If you're going to try to get pregnant again, you really need to have a support network in place first. Is there a grandma or aunt or even neighbor available for 24/7 childcare during your pregnancy? Will your insurance company pay for Zofran and all the home health care you will need? Can you afford to hire someone to clean your house, care for your child, cook meals for your family while you're unable to do it? Can you afford to take a leave of absence from work? One of the "hidden" tolls of HG is the economic havoc it causes families. Be prepared if you can.

HG can and does split families up (husbands feel just as isolated as you do in this situation and are generally less able to ask for help when they need it) so make sure you're as prepared as you can be. There is a forum for husbands and caregivers on helpher.org too.

We actually limited our family size to one child, largely because having another (getting through the pregnancy with a husband that travelled and family that is scattered across the country) was logistically impossible. It was not the choice we wanted to make, we would have loved to have several more children, but life does not always give what we want. We are grateful every day that the three of us have each other.

My heart goes out to you-

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