Morning Sickness. If that isn’t a misnomer, I don’t know what is.
Morning Sickness, or as I like to call it, All Day Sickness, should really just be labelled pregnancy nausea and vomiting. A lot of pregnant folks experience it and there are various different degrees of severity. It can happen in the morning, or really any time of the day or night.
With all of my three pregnancies I had some degree of morning sickness combined with a superhuman sense of smell and an intense disgust for strong scents. Really, an intense disgust for any smell at all. Each pregnancy was slightly different, but none of them were free of morning sickness.
Here’s an example I remember vividly: A co-worker of mine was a smoker. He would go out for a smoke break, and then wash his hands in the bathroom. The sharp, chemical smell of the cigarette mixed together with the cheap, perfumey, sweet smell of the bathroom soap was just too much to bear. Even though he was not right next to me, the stink would wander its way through the air and right up into my face. Of course, it made me gag and I had to rush out and get fresh air.
Then there were the times when I was nauseated all day and the only cure was to eat little bits of food, wait for 20 mins, eat some more and repeat ALL. DAY. LONG. I had to have SOMETHING in my stomach at all times. As soon as my tummy was empty the nausea would begin again.
I carried bags of crackers, cucumbers, carrots or celery around with me everywhere I went. Light, non-greasy food in my stomach helped to keep the nausea at bay (somewhat).
A lot of times nothing worked and I was just a log on the couch suffering, feeling like there was no end in sight. I remember thinking to myself: This is so unfair. I don’t know if I will EVER be able to go through this again. What if it’s like this throughout my whole pregnancy? Make it stop.
Luckily I did not experience the severe vomiting that many women have, and with all of my pregnancies the morning sickness reduced and was mostly gone as I moved into the 2nd trimester. (Read more about hyperemesis gravidarum here.)
Some of the Buddha Belly Doulas had similar experiences:
Hayley: I hardly had any nausea with my boy but now with my girl I was so sick. It was such a different experience for me. I lost weight, woke up with severe nausea everyday and vomited about every other day. It lasted like clockwork from about 10am-5pm. Every. Day.
I did the magical Unisom and B6 combo that I wasn’t too convinced worked, but was too afraid to skip. I ate pasta or eggs if I could eat anything, and that’s about it. Around 17 weeks I finally had some relief!
One day I was excited because an egg salad sandwich sounded so good. I boiled the eggs, made the egg salad, toasted bread, sprinkled paprika on top, sat down with my husband to eat our sandwiches, and then promptly ran to the bathroom where I begged him to throw it all away outside and clean the kitchen because suddenly I couldn’t stand it!
Amy: I had the super smell! Omg, I could smell. Everything. And the world smells bad. My husband tried to help me by telling me to “breathe through my mouth” and I remember saying something like, “why, so I can taste the garbage???”
Julia: I didn’t have anything noticeable with my first baby, but the 2nd time around it hit at 5 weeks exactly and it was rough. We used some kind of floral soap in the kitchen and I would get ENRAGED when my husband used it because I could smell it anywhere in the house.
Living on Cheerios and cold pasta, I also took the B6 and Unisom, but have no idea if it helped or not. I had to focus on keeping from getting hungry, which was difficult since everything was disgusting.
If you are going through some degree of morning sickness right now, we’re here to commiserate with you. You’re not alone.
Sometimes all the tips and tricks in the world just don’t work. They are worth searching out and trying, for sure. Maybe one of them will make a difference for you. If you have a severe case, definitely speak with your care provider about it.
But rather than writing another article on the common remedies for morning sickness, we just wanted to acknowledge that what you are going through sucks! We’ve been in your shoes, and we are sending you a big doula hug. One day it will be over and you’ll be staring into the eyes of your beautiful baby. The morning sickness days will be a long ago memory. Hold on, you can do it.