How can I cope with pregnancy sickness?
I can’t keep anything down, not even water. What should I do?
Pregnancy sickness is a miserable condition and one that can be very hard to cope with. It can begin anywhere from 4-5 weeks pregnant and although it does often tail off at around 12-14 weeks, some women will experience it until later, and a few unlucky people right the way through pregnancy.
It is worth knowing that although you may be feeling terrible, the retching does not damage your baby, and your baby will not be deprived even if you are only keeping down a little food because they will get adequate nutrients from your reserves stored before you got pregnant.
There are a number of self-help remedies that you can try:
Try to eat small amounts regularly. You may benefit from a glass of apple juice, or some water with honey, sipped regularly, and even during the night. Have a snack before bed and even in the night – nuts, seeds, an oat biscuit or rice cake may all be tolerated.
It may help to have someone bring you a little food and drink in bed before you get up.
Ginger has a good reputation for sickness and can be taken as a tablet or tea, fresh ginger can be used, or in foods such as crystallised ginger or ginger beer.
Alternative therapies to try are acupuncture, reflexology and homeopathy. For some women they can be very successful. Make sure you consult a qualified practitioner with experience of treating pregnant women.
There is an acupuncture point that you can stimulate yourself. You can do this most easily by buying some Sea Bands from the chemist. These are elasticated bands worn around the wrists, which apply pressure to the point.
Even if you are struggling to tolerate food it is important to keep drinking. Drink small amounts regularly. Try herbal teas, particularly peppermint or ginger, hot water with a slice of lemon, fruit juices, or thin soups. It may be a good idea to take a vitamin tonic.
If you are unable to keep water down you must see your doctor. Anti-nausea medication may be essential if vomiting is excessive and you are dehydrated. Very occasionally women need hospital treatment with intravenous fluids.