How do you prepare for Hyperemesis Gravidarum?
Although no one can say for sure if hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) will recur with every pregnancy, it does in over 75% of HG survivors. If you have a family member who had HG, you are very likely to have HG with every pregnancy but the severity may vary each time. Sometimes it only occurs with multiple babies or first pregnancies. Effective and proactive care also affects how sick a person will become.
What can be done before pregnancy?
- Mentally: treat and/or heal from past trauma and struggles.
- Physically: prepare and be as strong as possible, including replenishing/rebuilding vitamin stores
- Medically: establish a treatment plan (HG protocol) with the treating provider.
- Socially: plan support and help from friends and extended family.
- Family: create plans for older children and strengthen relationships.
- Home: get organized and find help to maintain the home during pregnancy.
Question 1: "What can I do to prevent HG?"
The HER Foundation has discovered a genetic cause of HG, GDF15, but a cure or a way to prevent the associated hormone from rising and causing HG is unknown. HER is working on it! We believe the sicker you are, the more GDF15 increases, so early care is essential. Support our work so we can have a treatment for our daughters!
Question 2: "What can I take before pregnancy to help HG?"
While we don't know of anything to prevent HG, we know that having adequate amounts of key vitamins like B1/thiamin may reduce severity somewhat. Taking medications before HG starts does not prevent or lessen HG. Taking medications as soon as HG starts, however, can help reduce severity.
Question 3: "What lab tests or treatments will help before pregnancy?"
It's a good idea to have blood work and a full check-up before pregnancy. Ask about testing for thyroid and helicobacter pylori, especially if you have symptoms. A nutritional evaluation may be beneficial.
Tips & Strategies
- Talk to an alternative practitioner about hormone balancing, gut health, and overall toxicity.
- Expand your diet and try new foods so you have more options to consider when ill.
- Be at or slightly above (~10 lbs/4 kg) the healthy weight for your height.
- Have disability insurance or savings to cover possible lost employment.
- Keep whatever snacks you tolerate in a container or cooler beside you to eat as you can.
- Ask family members to also avoid foods that trigger you like onion/garlic and fermented foods.
- Keep your favorite high calorie foods on hand for the moment a craving hits.
- Stock up on laundry, dish detergent and body soap that are odor free.
- Try to be in good physical condition, but don't exercise excessively.
- Make sure you are well-rested and not overly stressed at conception.
- Try to be in the best health possible.
- Eat lots of nutrient dense foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains) and take a high quality prenatal vitamins plus B complex for several months before you become pregnant so you have storage of essential nutrients when you are unable to eat. If you have a history of miscarriage, consider adding extra antioxidants.
- Educate your friends and family about HG and how they can help.
- Plan your next pregnancy at a time when family and friends are most available for support.
- Consider timing pregnancy when your children are somewhat self-sufficient and in school.
- Avoid pregnancy during times of high stress such as moving.
- Proactively organize, deep clean, and simplify your life as much as you can, and find resources house cleaning and meal assistance.
- Stock your kitchen and freezer with quick meals and make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks for your children when you can't prepare food.
- Clean out your fridge/freezer and begin labeling all foods with the date opened to avoid food poisoning.
- Buy ahead on essentials such as personal care products, gifts, school supplies, paper products and unscented cleaning products.
- Have a cabinet stocked with "emergency" toys, logic games, books, activities, and necessities (crafts, coloring books, balloons, play-dough, etc.) for your worst days.
- If HG lasts most or all of pregnancy for you, think ahead to what you will need over the next year such as children's clothes and maternity clothes, etc. Buy in advance to minimize your stress.
- Ask your doctor for options to keep an effective antiemetic (anti-vomiting medication) on hand to take it as soon as you vomit or feel HG start.
- Check leftover medications, they may be expired.
- If you do not feel your doctor is effective in treating HG, begin your search now and interview potential doctors before you get pregnant.
- Confirm the types of treatment your insurance will cover, including TPN and home health care.
- Consider seeing a perinatologist or maternal-fetal-medicine specialist at the first sign of nausea if you have a history of severe HG to avoid a delay in treatment.
- See the dentist for x-rays and a check-up just before you get pregnant.
- Install a water filter to make water healthier and taste better: www.multipure.com
Feel free to send your tips to us at email@example.com