How to Survive Morning Sickness
When nothing helps to relieve your morning sickness symptoms, life can be pretty miserable. I had terrible “morning” sickness with both of my pregnancies and there were days I didn’t think I would get through it. I had every symptom in the book: extreme nausea, constant vomiting, food aversions, smell aversions, acid reflux, painful indigestion, sour mouth and so on. Even water made me sick!
It went on every day and every night for over two months and with a 3-year-old to care for, it was truly one of the most challenging events of my life. I had friends who breezed through the first trimester without a single discomfort but I cried many days in misery.
I am grateful that I’ve had two healthy pregnancies but it was really hard especially when nothing I tried helped. Not even prescription medication. When I searched the Internet for help, I just found the same unhelpful (to me) advice over and over so I decided to put a list together of ways to survive morning sickness when nothing makes you feel better.
1. Read a Good Book
Nothing can distract you from misery like being taken to a different time and place with a new book. I hadn’t used my Kindle for months but it really helped me get through morning sickness during the days I felt so awful that I couldn’t get out of bed. Here are a few of my favorite books from that time.
2. Communicate With Supportive Friends
If your life is anything like mine, some of your best friends are a plane ride away. Even if they’re in the same city, you might not be up to getting out or having company over. One of my childhood friends, who is on the other side of the country, really kept me going with encouraging, supportive and sympathetic texts. When I was no longer sick, I mailed her a gift because I was truly so grateful. I’ll never forget how she helped me get through some awful days even through an iPhone. It is easy to kind of disappear when you aren’t well but do your best to reach out to friends and family. They won’t know you need them unless you say something!
3. Watch TV Guilt Free
My symptoms were so strong that lying on the couch between vomiting sessions was all I could do. I felt pretty guilty having the TV on all morning because I didn’t want to turn my 3-year-old’s brain into mush. My trick was to put something that would bore her so she would play with her ABC blocks and toys instead. Now that it is over, I realized it was a temporary situation and she is just fine – as smart and creative as ever!
4. Sip Water or Juice with a Straw
Truly one of the hardest things about morning sickness is that water can make feel awful and bring on vomiting! It just doesn’t make sense but I know it happens to many women. Dehydration during pregnancy is no joke so you have got to find ways to keep liquids down. My doctor told me to water down juice and that really worked. I don’t think I’ll ever drink apple juice again, though. You can also try sipping water with a straw little by little.
5. Think Positive Thoughts (Really!)
When you feel so sick for so long your thoughts can turn really negative. I know first-hand that depression can arise during morning sickness so you really have to fight back with your own mind. Repeat statements such as the following to yourself over and over:
- I am going to get through this
- This will not last forever
- I am going to feel better in a few weeks
- I am going to have a beautiful baby soon
Sometimes when other people send positive thoughts your way, it actually makes you feel worse. Hearing someone tell you that it’s worth it or that it won’t last forever makes you feel like you’re exaggerating or being dramatic. No one understands unless they have gone through it themselves so just say thank you. They really are trying to help.
6. Keep Comfortable
Your clothing can really contribute to your discomfort. Make sure and wear loose, soft, and comfortable clothing. I lived in pajamas, loungewear, and dresses. Anything putting pressure on my mid-section made my nausea, indigestion and acid reflux much worse. This is not a time to worry about fashion! So get out those sweatpants and take off that horrible bra.
7. Ask, Pay or Pray for Help
So many women feel guilty asking for help. Don’t! Whether you have other children to care for or are a first-time mom, you do not have to go it alone. Ask for help with meal preparation (especially if the smell of food has you running to the bathroom), house cleaning, caring for your other children or anything else that you cannot manage. If you can afford it, hire some help temporarily. If you believe in a higher power like I do, pray. I prayed a lot during my morning sickness and keeping up that spiritual connection was very encouraging to me. I knew I was not alone.
8. Delegate to Your Husband
If your husband is like mine, he might feel really overwhelmed watching you suffer and not really know what to do about it. When you feel up to it, write down a list of things that he can do to help. You can also ask someone who has been there, like your mom or a friend, to talk to him about what it feels like and what he can do to support you. I felt so sick that it was even hard to verbalize what I needed.
One thing my husband did for me during my second bout of morning sickness was run to the store or restaurant anytime I thought of something that I could eat. He also tried really hard to keep me hydrated even though I was very resistant to drinking fluids because they made me feel worse. He took complete care of our daughter whenever he was home as well. The grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry and pretty much everything fell on his shoulders. Do not feel guilty about that! What you are going through is way more difficult and it won’t last forever. You must take care of yourself and your baby.
9. Shower Every Day
It can be hard to get out of bed some days but you have to push yourself a little bit or you will just feel worse. I found that it helped to shower every single day even though for some reason showering triggered my vomiting. Baths can be very relaxing too but you might want to be careful especially if you’re feeling dizzy or faint. Just try and keep up a simple routine that will help pass time and keep you feeling like a human being.
10. Try and Get Out of the House
Sometimes when I felt very overwhelmed or depressed, I would go to the backyard and sit outside for a few minutes. Fresh air can be very healing and give you a little energy boost. Short little walks around the neighborhood can help you feel a little more like yourself as well. We booked a 4-night vacation in Whistler, BC before I got pregnant and I was so upset that my morning sickness was going to ruin the trip. However, getting away really helped! It wasn’t perfect and there were some rough moments but a change of scenery can really lift the spirits.
Severe morning sickness is a very difficult experience and you really must take it one day at a time. You go into survival mode and it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, it will not last forever and one day you will hold a beautiful baby in your arms and know it was all worth it.
Note: Please consult your doctor as severe morning sickness can be serious. I know many women go through an even more difficult time than I did, even for the entire 9 months. Do not be afraid to seek more aggressive medical care. You are not a whiner, you are not weak. Take good care of yourself!
What helped you get through morning sickness?
- What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag
- 5 Baby Sleep Tips for New Moms
- 10 Things I Should Have Done Before My Baby Arrived
- Pregnancy Freebies
Originally published on March 4, 2015.