IT’S easy to forget any pregnancy woes as soon as your baby arrives, but one issue will stay with me for ever: morning sickness. Around 80 per cent of pregnant women feel nauseous in the first trimester and almost 50 per cent are physically ill. I was unfortunate enough to have morning, noon and night sickness from six to 18 weeks through all three pregnancies. This time round I spent weeks vomiting several times a day.
It’s not just the physical toll that morning sickness takes, it’s the isolation. Early pregnancy is a delicate time and many women don’t like to shout out their news, which means you end up hunkered down at home, cancelling social plans and generally feeling sorry for yourself. It’s the closest I have ever come to experiencing depression.
At ten weeks, I finally listened to my GP and got a prescription for Cariban. A combination of vitamin B6 and anti-histamines, Cariban is now available for severe cases. Although I didn’t want to medicate, I firmly believe it kept me out of hospital. I could only take the lowest dose, mind you, as it made me very drowsy. And it cost a fortune!
There are other ways that you can help yourself. Get as much rest as you can and accept help from anyone who offers. I highly recommend confiding in a couple of close friends too – mine proved wonderful support.
Meanwhile, dietitian Sarah Keogh of The Early Feeding Clinic, which specialises in nutrition for fertility and pregnancy as well as for children, offers her top tips:
- Up your fluid intake. The more dehydrated you are, the sicker you get.
- Plain water is often a problem so try sparkling water or even soft drinks. Whatever it takes to stay hydrated.
- Add ice to drinks. You get more fluids and it can make drinks easier to stomach.
- Don’t worry about diet. You are using vitamin stocks from the past six months. Eat what you fancy, whenever you can. And yes, I know, that usually involves cripss, chips or something else horrible, salty and greasy.
- Keep dry crackers by the bed. Before you even lift your head off the pillow, eat something.
- Eat every two hours. Don’t allow yourself to get hungry, you’ll feel worse.
- Stick to cold, dry, unheated foods. They are easier to keep down.
- Steer clear of strong-smelling food. Keep your fridge as inoffensive as possible!
- Consider a vitamin B6 supplement. Some studies show this can help.
Take heart, it will end… and at least you won’t be piling on the pregnancy pounds.
Published in the Irish Daily Mail, May 24, 2016