Coping With Severe Morning Sickness

by Jenny

By Jenny Mills.

Well, if your pregnancy(ies) are anything like mine, you’re wondering how to survive another hour let alone a day. And I support you! Coping with severe morning sickness, whilst trying to maintain a normal life… Oh, and not letting on that you are pregnant (in the early stages) is pretty much impossible! And whether you are being sick, or not, this doesn’t mean your suffering is greater or less than another. I wasn’t being physically sick, but I was much much more unwell and suffered a lot more than some of my friends who were being sick.

For some, morning sickness is in just one particular part of the day. For others, it’s all day. for me, it was a non-stop 24-hour struggle. I couldn’t sleep for feeling so ill. Yet I couldn’t bear another minute awake feeling like death. For me, it was like the norovirus (without the motions) crossed with the worst, energy-sapping virus imaginable.

My husband is in the navy. So, with my first, I was home alone, running a busy digital marketing agency. I was walking 3 dogs daily. Mucking out 4 horses in the dead of winter and up at 5.30 each day to do so before travelling 1.5 hours to work for the day and back.

What Causes Morning Sickness

Many will say morning sickness is caused by pregnancy hormones. And for those throwing up, this could very well be the reason. During my second pregnancy, however, I have discovered the reason to be low blood pressure.

This causes low blood sugar levels, which in turn causes exhaustion and sickness. So you need to eat eat eat. Even when you don’t want to. Trust me it works. Increase your salt (Himalayan pink salt – normal table salt is stripped of the minerals and electrolytes needed) and sugar levels.

How Long Morning Sickness Lasts

So, morning sickness is “supposed” to kick in around week 7 or 8. I was comforted that it would end around week 10.

For me, it began in week 5 and finished around week 16. But don’t despair, in my second pregnancy I learnt somethings I wish I had in my first. This time around, I’m coping better. And I haven’t had to go on medication yet!

Morning Sickness Remedies

Unfortunately, there are no remedies to completely cure your pregnancy sickness. But there are coping strategies to help. It is a case of trial and error. You need to find things that help you. It so happens that in my second pregnancy, sickness kicked off whilst on the Coronavirus Lockdown. I was alone with my husband at sea, and a 2.5-year-old toddler to entertain through lockdown!

Rest Is the Best Morning Sickness Relief

Luckily, due to the global pandemic, my husband was sent home from sea. Without, him, I’m not quite sure how I would have survived lockdown as ill as I was.

This allowed me to rest – lots! I would work in bed for most of the morning. I would rest in the garden most of the afternoon. And I would be in bed by 6.30/7 pm every night. I wish I had known for my first pregnancy how much “literally doing nothing” helps.

This isn’t practical for most in a normal life situation. But if you are getting to the stage you simply aren’t coping, it’s time to see how you can adapt your life.

  • Can you negotiate with your boss to work from home for the coming month? If this is a difficult subject, sight illness rather than pregnancy.
  • Can you partner, parents and friends help with housework, shopping, pets, other kids?
  • Keep thanking your partner/carers – help ti hem understand just how much their support is getting you through.

For many of us, my advice above seems an impossibility. I know it would have been for me if someone said this during my first pregnancy. I’m a non-stop must always be busy, never sit down and relax person. So, this is not my idea of fun! I have horses that need to be ridden daily. Dogs that need exercising. And work! So much work work work!

A hand reaching to another for help with a sunset in the background

But if having my daughter has taught me anything, it’s that life can adapt and momentarily be put on pause. It will get back to normal. So its a choice. You can sit and suffer or else, you need to ask for help! And as much of it as you can get!

Eat Eat Eat

It sounds impossible whilst you are sick. But I promise it works. I didn’t get this right in my first pregnancy. I was so sick, all I could manage was to nibble dry cereal all day, drinking lemon water and sucking ice cubes. Needless to say, I rapidly dropped weight and was quickly put on medication (which we will cover later).

This pregnancy, with my discovery that my morning sickness is not caused by hormones, but by low blood pressure, salt and sugar levels, I have taken a different approach. I also have a lot more understanding and help from my husband this time around. I cannot bear the thought of what to eat for my next meal. So he cooks it and I turn up and eat what I can. This really helps. I don’t want to let him down, so I eat more than I can cope with. Then I feel better for it after. Snack continuously. As soon as you feel sick. You need to eat!

  • Bananas
  • Protein bars
  • Cereal bars
  • Fruit and yoghurt
  • Chopped fruit
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Carrot sticks
  • Pancakes
  • Ginger snaps

Just keep eating. And of course fluids. The more water you can take on board the better. Staying hydrated really helps. For me, hot water and lemon really helped too.

Night Snacking

If you wake through the night, have some banana. I keep a glass of water, a banana and a cereal bar or protein bar by your bed to keep my blood sugar up through the night. This helps ease morning symptoms.

Lady looking in the fridge at night for a snack

Worried About Weight Gain

For me, feeling as well as I can is more important to me than a bit of weight gain. Whilst I am eating a lot, I try to eat well. I am monitoring my weight and have put on two pounds so far eating like this – over three weeks. So, I’m not gaining rapidly. Plus, trimester two is a whole different ball game! I know I will be back to normal, eating less and raring to go. I won’t overeat in this trimester and I will get back to all my normal sports to manage those few extra pounds.

Pregnancy Sickness Medication Options

Given how sick I was during pregnancy 1, I ended up on medication. This made life almost bearable, but it really didn’t make it much easier. But, if you really aren’t coping, you must ask for help.

I contacted my midwife and doctor for help in week 7, I was so ill by this point. As I wasn’t being physically sick, I was given a pat on the shoulder and told “poor you”. Not very helpful.

By week 8 I had lost a stone in weight and wasn’t functioning well. Only then was I given medication. If you cannot cope without medication you need to be clear to them that you need help. This time around, I was given meds, but I haven’t taken them. I am managing better by resting and eating more.

Need Someone to Talk To?

Every situation is different. But through every struggle, you are not alone. If you need help chat with us: