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Pregnancy Sickness - Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Bing Bunny and Pregnancy Sickness

This week my youngest Son turned 3 and to celebrate we took him to Cbeebies Land, we had a great time – going on the rides and watching live shows with his favourite TV characters. But, even three years on from my pregnancy with him, something at Cbeebies Land triggered the memories and physical sensations of my pregnancy sickness – Bing Bunny. All day long the soundtrack for Bing played, there was even a Bing live show. Yuk.


If you’re yet to have your baby, or even reach the toddler stage, Bing is (in my opinion) the most annoying, whingy bunny you’ll ever find, but my eldest loved it, and for 10 minutes it would keep him busy whilst I vomited or laid on the sofa with waves of nausea overwhelming me.  


For me, the soundtrack of Bing, watermelon, ginger biscuits and tummy bugs make me feel on edge, they make me feel nauseous even if I’m well – the lasting impacts of severe pregnancy sickness with both my pregnancies. I know now that these are things that I associate with the worst sickness I’ve experienced in my life to date and some of them I completely avoid (Bing) and others I’ve tried to slowly reintroduce but there are some good attempts and some not so.


So, today on the International Day of Awareness for Hyperemesis Gravidarum, I wanted to share my experiences with you, if you’re suffering right now, wondering ‘is this normal’ or struggling to move past your sickness in pregnancy – please know you’re not alone.


Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy (NVP) affects 94% of pregnancies ranging from mild to severe and in 3% of people hyperemesis gravidarum, a debilitating and very serious form of sickness. For me, my sickness looked like vomiting, retching, unable to keep food/fluids down, weight loss, constant nausea and a knock to my confidence and mental health. In my first pregnancy it took weeks (and 3st weight loss) before I got good care, in my second I was better able to advocate for myself and access medication quickly, but still spent many weeks in the bathroom or in bed, unable to keep up with the day to day activities of a working mum with a  2 year old (in a pandemic).


From two pregnancies like this, here are my top tips:

1)      Get support – Pregnancy Sickness Support is an amazing charity that helps, a really useful website and a support system of volunteers you can access through email, phone and whatsapp


2)      Rest – growing a human (and a placenta initially) is tiring work. For me, some days

a shower or watching TV were just too much. Listen to your body, rest as much as possible.


3)      Figure out your triggers and avoid (if you can) – sadly for me, my husband’s smell, cooking food, certain shower gels, brushing my teeth and my deodorant were all too much. So, separate beds/rooms, cold food and fragrance-free products helped.


4)      Find a way to hydrate – freezing cold water, watermelon and ice cubes helped me, but if you think you’re dehydrated or struggling with fluids seek medical help ASAP.


5)      Forgive the well-meaning ‘have you tried ginger’ comments. It’s worth a try, but if it’s not for you, smile, nod, accept that societally we’re not well versed in pregnancy sickness and shout ‘f**k ginger’ either in your head or at them (all will be forgiven eventually!).


If your confidence in pregnancy has taken a nose-dive following pregnancy sickness, take a look at my antenatal courses, in addition to up-to-date and evidenced based antenatal education you also get my support to build your confidence ready for birth and parenthood. Find out more here.



 

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