Hyperemesis Gravidarum is no joke and historically was a fatal pregnancy complication. Thankfully, there is more research and support for women now who are going through this debilitating condition. One mum, HK, has written about her tips on how she lived with HG through her entire pregnancy.
Once you see that positive pregnancy test, your life turns upside down. You become taken over with a whirlwind of emotions and you pray that you can hold Allah’s (SWT) beautiful creation of a newborn baby at the end of the nine months. However, sometimes these hormones can blind us and we almost forget that the next nine months won’t be focusing on baby proofing your house, nursery shopping with partner and being the attention of a baby shower thrown by your family and friends. Instead it’s wondering how you’ll cope with your next meal whilst suffering with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG).
Hyperemesis Gravidarum is where pregnant women can experience excessive nausea and vomiting. It affects approximately 1 to 3 women out of 100. Whereas most pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting in their pregnancy, whereby it mostly disappears around 16 to 20 weeks into the pregnancy, HG is a condition that can last throughout the entire nine months and often leads to women being hospitalised.1
Having experienced HG, I was signed off sick from work for the entire nine months, stayed in hospital, and hooked to an IV drip in order to keep water down and nearly hit an all time low in my mental health. I was constantly in a battle of trying to stay positive – Alhumdullilah, I had been blessed with this amazing journey of being pregnant. However, I was constantly asking myself… ‘why me?’. My husband and family members didn’t understand what I was going through and, as a result, sometimes I felt quite isolated in a time that should’ve been the most joyful.
Here are five tips, from experience and hindsight, that I wish someone had told me during my pregnancy. I hope that it also helps you too:
1. Stay positive:
Now this may seem much easier said than done. However, a positive mind and state can really help you get through your day. Instead of saying or thinking “I’m definitely going to vomit with that food – I did last time!”, try replacing those thoughts with “Inshallah, I hope that I enjoy it this time”. A simple swap that helps you remember that your pregnancy is in your Lord’s hands.
Additionally, sometimes distracting yourself with your hobby like your favourite Netflix show or having a conversation with your husband or friend whilst you’re eating can help your mind focus on other things. Remember, Allah the Almighty has given you this unborn child, He wouldn’t test you if you could not cope. Say “Alhamdullilah for this baby” every time you feel low.
2. Ask for support:
Us women think that we have to be strong and hold the whole household on our shoulders, right? Wrong! Don’t forget that you and your partner are in this together. Marriage is 50:50 and so is parenthood (even before they’re born). Ask your husband to help you with the washing, cooking, cleaning etc. This support network can extend to your close family and friends also.
From someone who used to be sick at the smell of water, I used to ask my sister to come and sit with me in the bathroom whilst I showered (on the days that I could!). Ask your family and friends to drop some spare food for you (if you do fancy it – or alternatively for your other children / husband), come and sit with you in bed when you do feel awful, help maintain the house on a week that’s been a bit rough. Asking for help shows strength.
3. Listen to your body – give it the TLC it needs:
Again, something that can be overlooked and seem small. Nevertheless, if you feel like you want to stay in bed all weekend – then do it! It’s your body’s way of telling you to rest. Alternatively, if you feel like snacking on junk food at 6am, then also do it. Listen to your body’s signals and way of asking you for something. Even if you may think “it’s not what pregnant women look like on social media!”. Pregnancy isn’t all yoga and acai bowls.
If you already have children, then try your best to ask for help and rest when possible. Take advantage of watching films with them also, or research into activities that require little input – Pinterest is great for this!
Although not all medications work the same for everyone and side effects can be just as damaging; asking for professional help and medication can be useful too. There are multiple anti-sickness tablets that are out there on the market – one of them may help. Take a visit to your doctor or speak to your midwife/any health care provider to ask for some advice regarding your options here.
When you feel physically able, try to complete your five namaz a day. Even if you don’t feel up to it, take a tasbih in your hands and give thanks this way also. Raising your hands to make duah is the strongest help of them all. Remember, Allah (SWT) never refuses a mother’s duah for their child. Your unborn child is in the heart of your duahs and Inshallah this journey only improves.
There you have it – five tips and pieces of advice that I wish I knew at the time. Remember, it’s all only for a short while and remembering your Creator is the best way forward!