Note: This post is not meant to be a substitute for professional advice. I am sharing my experiences and what worked for me. Please consult your doctor for the treatment and management of morning sickness, and pregnancy related nausea and symptoms.
I wanted to provide some tips on how I (somehow) am managing my extreme nausea and morning sickness (actually all-day sickness) throughout this pregnancy. This time around, it was significantly harder for me to cope, especially during the first trimester, in comparison to my first pregnancy. The nausea came on quickly and hit me like a ton of bricks. One day, I was doing ok with some mild nausea. The next day, I couldn’t get out of bed. Standing and walking would send me into a spiral of nausea and dry heaving. I couldn’t stand any smells. I was shocked and panicked at how ill I felt.
I want to be clear that most women will experience morning sickness and/or nausea at some point in their pregnancy, usually in the first trimester. I am one of a more select group that experiences nausea on a level that affects my quality of life and well being. However, I do not categorize myself as having Hyperemesis Gravidarum and was never diagnosed with it.
Around my seventh week of pregnancy, I couldn’t stomach any food or drink, and became malnourished and dehydrated really quickly. The dehydration actually made my nausea much worse. It was a vicious cycle.
My nausea was extreme and the “normal morning sickness” remedies (eating frequent meals, crackers, sea bands, preggie pops, ginger candy) were not enough. I tried them all. I would suggest trying natural morning sickness remedies first before you consider taking medication. Like anything pregnancy-related, it’s always best to be cautious and do your research when it comes to medication.
I started off with an over-the-counter combination of Vitamin B-6 and Unisom. See this article for dosing recommendations. I tried this combination for a few days and didn’t see any improvement. I quickly moved on to the prescription medication, Diclegis. Diclegis contains the same ingredients as the Vitamin B-6 and Unisom combination except in prescription pill form. Diclegis was a lifesaver for me during my first pregnancy.
Unfortunately, this time Diclegis didn’t help me feel much better. I was better for day and then regressed. When Diclegis didn’t work, I really panicked. I couldn’t imagine feeling this miserable for nine more months. The thought sent me into a tailspin and negatively impacted my mental health. My doctor then prescribed Phenergan and eventually Bonjesta. Phenergan made me extremely sleepy, but did nothing to relieve the nausea.
Bonjesta has the same ingredients as Diclegis, but it is an extended release tablet. Each tablet of Bonjesta contains 20 mg of doxylamine and 20 mg of pyridoxine. You normally take two tablets daily – one in the morning and one before bedtime. Each tablet of Diclegis contains 10 mg of doxylamine and 10 mg of pyridoxine. You can take up four tablets daily – one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and two before bed.
When none of this was doing the trick, I tried Zofran as a last resort. I held off on trying Zofran because (1) it causes extreme constipation and (2) I had read there were studies conducted on Zofran and pregnancy that caused some fear about increased risk of birth defects. I did my research and spoke to my doctor and nurses about it. After seeking professional advice and doing my own research, I felt more comfortable taking Zofran. It did help to provide some relief.
So I was on a low dose of Zofran, but still couldn’t move much without feeling really sick. I decided to go back and give Diclegis another try. I had read that taking a combination of medications could possibly provide a solution. Eventually, through trial and error, I found that a combination of Diclegis and Zofran worked best for me.
A quick note about Diclegis and Bonjesta: At first, Diclegis and Bonjesta completely knock you out. You may feel drowsy and will probably nap the day away. In my experience, I still require the occasional nap, but I’m not nearly as fatigued and foggy as I was during the first few weeks of Diclegis. Please email me or message me on Instagram if you’d like to know more about my medication schedule.
Figure Out Your Morning Sickness/Nausea Pattern
When you have extended nausea, day in and day out, you may begin to discover that there is a pattern to your nausea. For me, my nausea is more intense in the mornings. I usually need to eat something right away for breakfast. Then I rest and take it easy. I often work on my phone or laptop from bed. K is doing distance learning right now, so she completes her live classwork during this time. I am fortunate that I can give my body this time to rest. If you have an active toddler or children that need to be dropped off and picked up from school, you may want to consider hiring part time help or working out a schedule with nearby family/friends to help with your little ones.
I also started scheduling any doctor’s appointments or commitments in the afternoon hours as much as I could. This was pretty much the only way I could get to doctor’s appointments during the first trimester. There was no use scheduling commitments in the morning, just to feel awful and have to cancel them. Listen to your body! If and when you can, work around the most intense periods of nausea.
Find the Hydration/Fluids that Work for You
During the first trimester, I learned rather quickly that drinking water increased my nausea. In order to avoid dehydration, I drank whatever fluids my body agreed with. In the beginning, all I could drink was pineapple juice. I drank SO MUCH pineapple juice from Trader Joe’s! I could also stomach fruit smoothies. The Daily Harvest Strawberry and Peach smoothie was amazing! Then my tastes changed and I quickly moved on from pineapple juice to ice cold regular Coke and Sprite. It had to be ice cold!
I have no idea why these drinks agreed with my system. There was really no rhyme or reason for it. I don’t normally drink most of this when I’m not pregnant. However, I really needed to keep my body from becoming dehydrated and water wasn’t cutting it. These days, I can thankfully ingest water again. Drink what you can in order to keep fluids in your body. You are in survival mode!
Confession: I didn’t take a prenatal vitamin with my first pregnancy and am only taking them occasionally this time around. I have a tough time swallowing pills when I’m nauseous. Also the taste bothers me and I end up gagging. My doctor knows this and suggested I take a folic acid supplement and try a gummy prenatal vitamin. If your prenatal vitamin is making you queasy or you can’t stand to swallow a big pill right now, talk to your doctor about alternatives.
L got me a subscription to Ritual vitamins and I’m giving their prenatal vitamins a try. I’ll be sure to give an update on my experience on here and/or my Instagram. So far, I like them. They have a nice lemon taste that helps me swallow the pill more easily which is a huge plus!
I hope these tips will help you. I know how hopeless and depressing it can be to experience debilitating pregnancy nausea and illness. It can be a lonely journey. Please feel free to reach out to me at thelessthandomesticgoddess at gmail dot com or on my Instagram page @lessthandomesticgoddess if you would like to connect.