Partners are typically the most important supporters for mothers, and your response to her illness often impacts her the most. Consistent and reliable help is necessary, so we have included some suggestions that may help you know how to support her.



  • Hire as much help as you can afford: childcare, house cleaning, cooking, garden, finance, etc. Select the tasks that you dislike or that are very difficult to fit in your schedule.
  • Try to avoid verbalizing your frustration in a way that makes her feel guilty for the extra burden on you. That will only create more stress and worsen her condition. Do talk to her about your feelings and try to find ways to cope without straining your relationship. It is often best to vent your frustrations to a trusted friend or a counselor before talking to her.
  • If possible, contact friends and family that are close to her and educate them on her illness. Then ask what they can do to help such as calling her weekly or helping one hour a week with home responsibilities.
  • Encourage her to be as active as she can, however, understand  she may need to rest often. Help her do any exercises suggested by her health professionals, and review the info on bed rest. try to ease the pain of muscle loss and bed rest with extra cushioning or pillows, massage, and very gentle stretches.
  • Be there to let her cry or vent her frustrations, and offer understanding and suggestions to help her cope. Know that her emotions are real and she may just need you to listen. Her coping is either positively or negatively influenced by her illness, the support she receives, and her genetic sensitivity to the hormonal changes of pregnancy. Read more about her emotions in our Mother's Survival Guide.
  • Try to get her out of the house for something fun, even for a short time, as often as she tolerates. This may just be stepping outside for a few minutes of fresh air, driving her to a baby store to purchase a necessity for the new baby, or visiting a friend's house for a short time.
  • Think of something each week to add enjoyment to her life. Such as picking out baby names, brief outings, or special at-home date night. HG can leave her very depressed. If she is ill during the holidays, try to find ways she can participate in the festivities but avoid as many triggers of nausea/ vomiting as possible. Perhaps she is able to visit with family briefly but not eat at the table. Proactively plan for triggers, like having a fan available to help her manage the food smells when visiting for the holidays.
  • Keep in mind that this is temporary and it will end. Your extra efforts are an investment in the health of the mother and baby.
  • Make sure she is getting effective treatment, and that the doctor is treating her individual symptoms. If not, help her find another health professional.
  • Try to keep life as normal as possible if you have other children at home. Keep the focus off her being ill and reassure the children she will get well soon. Read an HG book with them. It can be traumatic for them, so see a child psychologist if they become moody or cannot cope.
  • Prepare food for any children as well as anything she can tolerate. Make it easily accessible, so she doesn't have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen (preparing food increases nausea and creates an aversion). Prepare foods she finds tolerable. These foods may change frequently. Try keeping a cooler near her with food and drinks she tolerates.
  • Eliminate triggers by avoiding foods she cannot tolerate, eating lower-odor foods, eating away from home, and cooking on a grill. 
  • Understand that intimacy may be difficult or impossible for some time. Avoid any comments that might make her feel guilty or pressured.
  • Ask her what you can do to help her most. Open communication is important.
  • Educate yourself on signs of depression both during pregnancy and postpartum. She is at greater risk for depression and Post Traumatic Stress, especially if her symptoms are severe and/or last more than half of her pregnancy. Make sure she gets help as needed.

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