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How to get through hyperemesis gravidarum

Remind yourself over and over that this can only last nine months and that it's not your fault or choice.

How to get through hyperemesis gravidarum

Here is some help if you're suffering with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) or “nausea and vomiting in pregnancy" (NVP).

1. Know when it's not morning sickness

For me this came at the moment I started vomiting blood and acid and was being sick around 13 times a day. If it's your first pregnancy and you haven't had morning sickness before, it's all too easy to kid yourself that you're being weak. If your sickness is unmanageable—you can't walk far, you can't work, you can't leave the house—you need extra help.

Don't let the "you're not ill, you're pregnant" brigade into your head. If you felt this ill without being pregnant, you'd doubtless be at the doctor ASAP. You would also take time off work. Do this, even if it means months away. It is hard to disguise the first trimester of pregnancy when you're suffering HG. If it's easier to tell people what's happening, tell them.

2. Push for the right treatment

Healthcare professionals can be dismissive of HG and many sufferers report unhelpful treatment and delays getting the correct drugs. If your drugs aren't working, ask about your options until you find what's right for you.

Mild cases of HG like mine meant two hospital admissions, several bags of fluids each time, and taking an antiemetic for five months of my eight-month pregnancy. Severe cases of HG mean months in hospital on a drip of antiemetics used for chemotherapy patients. There isn't a one size fits all fix.

3. Take care of your mental health and find the right support network

You will go through weeks, maybe months, where leaving the bathroom seems Herculean. HG is incredibly isolating. Ask friends to come to you but not mind if you flake. You may tell yourself you're becoming a rubbish partner.

Remind yourself over and over that this can only last nine months and that it's not your fault or choice.

Don't feel guilty for leaning on your partner. You will need flexibility and understanding at work. If your manager can't or won't offer that, speak to Human Resources about your options for long-term sick leave.

Go online and find HG and NVP forums. This is your village. They, like you, are puking around the clock and are here to hold your virtual hand. Some of these women are now my closest mum friends. There are also HG veterans on the groups with helpful advice.

Be aware the mental weight of HG won't disappear with the baby's birth. Your feelings on everything from food to your family may have changed post-pregnancy. Tell your healthcare providers how you're feeling and if you need counseling or medication.

4. Have your purse HG ready

If you feel able to leave the house you will need:

  • Your anti-emetics
  • A lot of gel lined sick bags (in addition to vomiting, you're going to drool like a bloodhound)
  • Mouthwash or mints
  • Baby wipes
  • A clean scent that doesn't make you nauseous
  • VapoRub to mask the smell of smokers
  • A change of clothes
  • Cold facial spray
  • Whatever snacks you can face (which in my case was Rice Krispie Squares)

5. Enjoy your first post-baby meal

The first bite of toast that goes down and doesn't threaten to reappear immediately is heaven.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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