As some of you know, I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) with 3/4 of my pregnancies. After each pregnancy, I'm always so determined to see how changing the way I lived would save me from another HG pregnancy. The thing is, no one knows what that changeable thing could be?! So, it's a real guessing game with a lot of homework, hit and miss kind of thing.
I cannot even begin to explain what HG is like for those who have not experienced it (but that it is severe-severe-severe x a million kind of pregnancy sickness), but if you have been the few lucky women to suffer from it, YOU KNOW!
I have a blogger friend who has dedicated her blog to helping HG women in need, creating awareness, finding more information on how to prevent HG or to just bear it minute by minute etc. She has done an amazing job and put a lot of hours into it, it seems! You can find her blog HERE
My husband and I have trusted God with our fertility, (hoping!!!!very baby-feverish!!!) so it's our job to try as hard as we can to dodge another HG pregnancy. HG pregnancy is debilitating, and with children to take care of (we home school thankfully! no driving to schools and back), with HG you are out of service. You need help. Lots of it too!
Thankfully after submitting our fertility completely to Him, read about it HERE and HERE, our 4th pregnancy was "just" a severe morning sickness kind of pregnancy. Hey! I take that as a HUGE mile stone! Beats having to be hospitalized with I.Vs stuck in you. I learned so much during this pregnancy, I think I spent a lot of time reading, mostly Whining Puker - Trust and Obey among other blogs and sites.
God has shown me so much. I was more prepared last time around. I prepared my body before conceiving and we spent time making my home more manageable for the coming days when I had my lows. I ordered my 100 remedies for pregnancy sickness book from HERE and ordered a bunch of "just in cases" and "to try outs" from Amazon. I blogged about this preparation journey HERE, and I blogged about my pregnancy HERE.
So, to make a long story short...er... Here is my advice on how to prepare your body for pregnancy, and how to make your home manageable and SAFE for when you are (hopefully aren't!) out of service.
Before Pregnancy (your body):
- Give up black tea or any other caffeinated drinks. Give up coffee. I know this one hit home pretty darn hard for me. I love coffee. I love Dark Roast coffee..I love Italian dark roast coffee.. I'm a coffee snob. Ouch! I believe that any food types that are addicting and cause "withdrawal symptoms" when not taken habitually should be avoided. Anyone with the risk of HG or severe nausea shouldn't have to go through any excess stress factors during their pregnancy. Also, it's not a bad idea to detox the body a bit for seasons of time.
- Increase you protein intake. Eat according to Trim Healthy Mama, but mostly S meals, S helper meals and FP meals. Keep E's to a minimum. Increase healthy fats and macro/micro nutrients. Go as organic as much as your budget allows (eliminating any bad quality foods). Go MSG, GMO and nitrate FREE! Basically, eat as many superfoods as you can and this way you give little room for the non-healthy foods and naturally eat CLEAN. Go wheat (unless it's sprouted organic whole wheat) free. Go sugar free. The Trim Healthy Mama plan has plenty of desserts to offer in their new cookbook, you won't be lacking one bit!
- Exercise regularly. I prefer to really focus on MUTUSYSTEM, C210K app (couch to 5/10km), and weights. Keep your core strong, heal and/or minimise the chances of diastasis recti. Keep your heart healthy, increase your stamina and strength. No brainer!
- Take your omegas and as many vitamins as possible, especially magnesium! I like to take all my B vitamins, milk thistle, magnesium, probiotics, folate, omegas etc.
- Take multi billion probiotics, drink apple cider vinegar, eat sauerkraut, homemade kimchi and drink kombucha teas. Make this a daily habit. Making sure you have a good gut flora is essential. It affects your whole body.
- Have regular Epsom Salt baths. This is a good way of getting that magnesium intake and relaxes your muscles.
- Give up any form of alcohol. Wine lovers... I know.
- Indulge in green juices/smoothies/Earth's milks daily.
- Drink a lot of water. Make it a habit.
- Purchase Casein protein powder (preferably natural) for "night time shakes". More on that a bit further on.
- Order the ebook 100 remedies on MyMorningSickness HERE. It is a well put together book with a wide scope of tried and tested remedies and is such an encouragement for those who feel like they want to give up. I can't hype about it enough. Stock up on as many remedies as possible, so when you're feeling like poop, you have them on hand and do not have to wait for weeks to have something bought or shipped to you.
- Start religiously taking collagen. " It is simply gelatin broken down into smaller amino acid chains called peptides, accomplished by a nature enzyme found in pineapples. These peptides can be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and efficiently utilized by the body for improved hair, skin, bone, and joint nourishment and support. As the primary structural protein in the body’s connective tissues, collagen plays a vital role in the maintenance of the cartilage, tendons and ligaments that keep joints functioning properly. Protein based foods also take longer than carbohydrates to break down in the body, providing you with a longer-lasting energy source." -THM Order yours HERE!
- Sleep! Don't fool yourself with little sleep, it will eventually bite you in the behindy big time! Make sure you get a solid 8-10 hours each night. Sacrifice your favourite TV show if you have to. It is vital to get proper rest, as vital as it is for you to eat, breathe etc.
- Pray! Pray over your body, ask your husband to pray over your body, as your support circle to keep you in their prayers. Thank God for his wonders. Pray ever so ...
- Memorize scripture. Especially scripture that you can declare during tough times.
- See an osteopath, to have your muscles manipulated into correct positioning. Get your body sorted, movement, good flow of blood and no muscle tensions, stress etc.
- Share your news and plans with your family and friends and ask for help. Create yourself a support circle and make a list of things you might need help with during those awful low moments (we pray you wont have any!).
- Take a look of this Meal Train site. You won't have to do this alone, but if you do...
- ... then start prepping, cooking and freezing some meals! Recruit your friends. Ask them to bring their own cutting boards and sharp knives and chop away pounds and pounds of "seasoning mixes" (more on that later). Cook in batches, and bag up! I'm guessing if you have a big chest freezer, 50+ meals is ideal. Who knows how long you have to be out of kitchen duty?
- Stock your pantry with healthy, on the go types on snacks for your family. Stock up on cereal, dried fruit, nut bars, healthy protein bars, nuts and seeds etc. You can pre-bag them beforehand so no child ends up being "over generous" to themselves, lol! Oh and, there is never too many prepared bags, they wont go to waste! It's better to have too many than too little!
- Invest in some "Walkie-Talkies". This will be a life saver, trust me! Give one to the oldest or most responsible person in your home and keep the communication lines open. It's hard to yell over chaos sometimes, especially when whispering feels troublesome.
- Explain to your kids how your pregnancies are, and pray with them for a healthy pregnancy. Share with them your worries, but that you trust God and ask them to be extra helpful around the house and with little ones.
- De-itemize your home. I have written about de-itemizing before HERE and how essential it is to live simply and with minimalism. So when you are mapping out what you can achieve housework wise in your home while nauseated, the less you have, the better! No picking up, no chaos, no dusting, no tripping over stuff... just clean floors and decluttered plain surfaces. This way, you can be assured that your home wont end up in disaster, and disorderly (which affects the mind negatively, hey ladies!?) and you can easily assign your kids to keep the home tidy. Basically, pack away your belongings as if you were selling your house and it was on show. Trust me, you wont miss the stuff! Have your kids pack a backpack of their favourite toys and box up the rest. Be a minimalist.
- Purchase paper plates. Buy a lot of paper plates. Who wants to do dishes?! It might feel like a waste, but recycle them. Don't buy the foamy plates, they're toxic and environmentally unfriendly.
- Lesson plan with your husband for homeschooling. Have your kids working on mostly self lead work, and mostly on the computer. There are several homeschooling sites out there, ixl, Mathseeds, Brainpop, Raz Kids, etc. Life Pac series have great Socials and Science kits and Costco sells the Canadian Curriculum books that cover all subjects. Have your husband be more involved with homeschool during the weekends (or when he doesn't work). You know, school doesn't have to involve books or the computer. Basic life skills are always a necessity and he can teach that to your kids, just by living and leading by example. Also, be gracious to yourself. This season will not last forever, so lesson plan with grace. Make it simple. Make it manageable.
- If possible, purchase a used mini fridge and put it next to your bed!!! Need I say more?
- Menu plan. Menu plan in 1-2 week cycles and create a master shopping list. Write down meals that hardly require any effort in the kitchen or can be safely handled by your children.
- Purchase a crushed ice maker and stock up on ice. Heavenly ice...
- Write up a home planner with telephone numbers, guidelines for babysitters, petsitters, etc. Sometimes even talking can be overwhelming and you can communicate simply with a well labelled binder . If you need specific help around the house, your helper can simply let you rest and go to page "laundry" in your binder, if needed. Write down meal times, allergies, or any specific instructions that might come in handy for those who offer their help but don't quite yet know you on a personal level.
- Do try your best to eat every 2-3h
- Have your husband make you a casein protein shake in the middle of the night, preferably early morning between 4-6 a.m. Casein protein is the slowest digested protein there is and will keep your blood sugar leveled longer. Hopefully dodging those rough mornings. You can drink Casein protein during the day too, if you can stomach it. I find that usually half a sleep is when I stomach anything the best.
- Start your morning with 1T of Bentonite clay, followed by a protein and nutrient filled breakfast. Green juice, egg white omelet on tortilla. With HG, the sound of this may want to make you hurl, but even a teaspoon full is good progress.
- Roll out of bed into an Epsom salt bath. This works wonders. I was a very faithful epsom salt bather for the first 25 weeks of my last pregnancy.
- Put ACV in your drinking water. Start with small amounts and increase little by little.
- Keep your feet anchored at all times. Keeps you feeling less dizzy.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Take your vitamins. Some vitamins can make you nauseous, so time your vitamins wisely. I had to take my iron later at night, so I was asleep for most of the "icky feeling".
- Make yourself a topical magnesium spray. Helps with waves of nausea. I sprayed my chest and neck when I felt green.
- Use "sea bands". I don't know if they worked, but I have used them with all of my 4 pregnancies.
- Stay cool. A/C, open windows, cool baths... Cool air, and ice always help!
- Pray, pray, pray! Focus on the GOOD as hard as it sounds. I know, how hard it can be to feel miserable and wondering why this is happening to you. But do know, you are NOT alone! We're right here with you feeling the same, crying, feeling desperate at times. You are doing well, take one minute at a time.
- Read the MyMorningSickness book over and over and over again.
- Recite scripture you have memorized. Read scripture out loud and declare it over your body and household.
- Hire a babysitter as much as you can. You don't have to leave the house, but cuddling in your husbands arms without distractions is a welcomed break! This way your husband can work on things around the home too, that have piled up... like laundry! LOL
- Blog about your pregnancy. Update weekly. Try out every remedy that you can possibly try, and keep a tab. Write about your experiences. Find a forum and an online network, support that can help you during these rough moments.
- Enjoy (I know, I just said that!) this time where you can "rest" on the couch, and have people help you (or take the time to do the minimum), browse online through encouraging and beneficial sites and blogs, watching your favourite TV shows and movies online... enjoy what ever you can squeeze out of this hard time. Praise God that He is growing a miraculous child in you, and that He is right there with you.