From Mild to Severe, 3 women share their experience & tips
Generally, more than half of pregnant women experience morning sickness - with nausea and vomiting key signs you are pregnant. Unfortunately the exact causes of morning sickness are still unknown; however, most agree that hormonal changes are the key contributor to feeling like you’ve been hit by a tonne of bricks or that you have the worst hang-over of your life. Yes, high levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), what they term the pregnancy hormone can set you on a rollercoaster in that first trimester with many women experiencing ‘all day and all night sickness.
We were lucky enough to sit down with three mums to be, who shared their very different experiences with morning sickness; Gracielle Campos, a recruitment consultant from Brazil; Eimear Cornett, a public health nurse from Ireland and our very own co-founder of The Pod Collection Emma Arblaster. Each woman was very honest in their account of the first trimester and gave some great advice on how to survive in this happy but critical time.
Gracielle Campos, gave birth a year ago to a lovely little boy Luca. She clearly remembers her symptoms of morning sickness when she was pregnant.
How did you feel in the first trimester?
I woke up feeling a little nauseous at first, but then just smelling coffee or my husband's aftershave made me feel really bad. At home, I forbade my husband from making coffee and he had to stop wearing his aftershave as it was just too much for me - it was a difficult time for both of us! Thankfully my husband was very understanding and patient
How did you find work when you had Morning Sickness?
At work, it was difficult - I couldn't tell people to stop drinking coffee because I was pregnant. My colleagues drank next to me and when I smelled the coffee, the nausea would overcome me, but I learned some tricks. Mint is extremely useful for neutralizing a smell
The tip is to remember everything passes, at the moment it is difficult, but today my husband and I look back and laugh at that period. When we see baby Luca, we realize that everything was worth it. Just keep thinking this is temporary, and note it is always good to have mint in your home and in your bag, it helps a lot!
Emma Arblaster, is currently 14weeks pregnant. She experienced serious morning sickness all day with nausea all day and night.
How did you feel in the first trimester of your pregnancy?
I was absolutely delighted to be pregnant but I did find it difficult to enjoy my pregnancy in my first trimester. At week 6 my nausea started and it was quite severe. I found myself bed ridden and unable to perform the smallest of tasks. The nausea would wake me up in the middle of the night and when I did vomit I found a few moments of relief but it would be straight back to feeling nauseated.
During this period, were you able to have a social life?
It started week 6 and I still do have bouts of it now (currently week 14 as I write this) Thankfully since I started combining my 2 medications, the nausea/vomiting has subsided massively. During this period I had no social life but that was partly due to COVID19 too. To be honest I'm pretty happy I was able to hibernate for so long as I know my friends and family would have twigged I was pregnant in those first 12 weeks - there was no hiding how bad I felt or looked.
Were there any foods that triggered nausea and vomiting? What helped you in this situation?
Yes, pretty much everything. My diet consisted of crackers and dilute orange which I would sip up until week 10. Due to being on meds I have now gotten my appetite back which is brilliant and now have a tendency to go for comfort foods and sweets. I still to this day cannot eat steak. It literally turns my stomach! My sense of smell was extremely heightened to the point that I could not be anywhere near the kitchen when my husband was cooking and I did not venture anywhere near restaurants or cafes during the early days.
When did you decide to see a doctor because of your symptoms ?
As it is my first pregnancy I just thought this was the type of morning sickness everyone experienced but from speaking to friends I found out mine was quite extreme. I attended acupuncture and finally I went to my doctor who prescribed stemetil (anti-nausea tablets) around week 9, unfortunately this did not help too much and at my next appointment. Week 11, I was then prescribed Cariban. I now take both stemetil and Cariban 3 times a day and I am now finding it a lot easier - I am able to get out of the bed and the nausea has subsided
What tips do you give for other mothers that are in the same situation?
Bring snacks with you everywhere you go.
Keep crackers beside your bed so first thing in the morning you have something to eat.
Drink ginger water (slice ginger, pop it in a pot, bring it to the boil and let it cool) sip this during the day whenever you feel nausea.
Acupuncture can be a great help.
Know when enough is enough - it took me to week 9 to finally realise that my morning sickness was quite extreme and it was time for me to speak up. I contacted my doctor and explained my experience and asked if there were any meds that could help me.
“I think so many women like myself think morning sickness is just part and parcel of pregnancy, but if you find that your nausea is constant, you are bed ridden and vomiting constantly during the day/night and it is majorly impacting your life and mood it is time to speak to a doctor. There is help out there! Please don't suffer in silence”
Eimear Cornett, is currently pregnant with twins. The journey has been very difficult due to having hyperemesis gravidarus (severe nausea & vomiting) most often requiring hospitilastion for intravenous fluids (IV) ensuring rehydration.
How did you feel in the first trimester?
I threw up for 17 weeks and was unhappy and thought the nausea would never end. Then in week 9, I was hospitalised and told I had hyperemesis gravidarum – when your morning sickness is extremely severe.
Were there any foods that triggered nausea and vomiting?
One of the triggers that started my nausea was food. I couldn't open the refrigerator as I would just get sick. I suffered a lot with nausea and vomiting with the main triggers being coffee, perfume, and deodorant. Anytime my husband was cooking I would sit in the shower as I found this to be some sort of relief and it wouldn’t trigger my senses.
What helped you in this situation?
I couldn't do anything due to the malaise. My morning sickness was all day, and I ended up with nausea and constantly vomiting. I used rehydration liquids a few times and received Cariban medication, which made a big difference as now I feel a lot better.
If you find your day to day life has been dramatically impacted because Morning Sickness - please go to a doctor.