16 November 2009

Bulimics and hyperemetic pregnant women can’t both be wrong

Ice cream is the ideal food: Easy down . . . and . . . easy up.

Ew. Sorry.

I know way too many women, including myself in my last full-term pregnancy, who’ve been on anti-emetics—not for comfort or convenience, but because the safety of Mom and/or Baby was at stake. Which got me to wondering: Was it ever thus? What did they do before anti-emetics? Is there some great homeopathic remedy for the inaptly named “morning sickness” that we’ve lost over the years? Or have women undergone a serious devolution from our stronger foremothers?

We hear lots about the sobering infant and maternal mortality statistics of yesteryear, but those usually deal with childbirth and the first year of infancy. The only historical reference to morning sickness that comes to my mind is a brief mention in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The First Four Years. (NB: My mind is like a steel sieve nowadays, and I didn’t actually research this. Please feel hereby invited to do my homework for me.)

Did pregnant pilgrims and pioneers puke to the point of dangerous dehydration? And if so, how did they survive, to say nothing of carrying on with the myriad daily tasks that had to be done? (And I mean really had to be done, not geez-this-place-looks-like-a-wreck done.) Even when the nausea and vomiting knock me down hard, I can summon heat, light, and water with the minimal exertion of a finger. When I can’t make it into the kitchen, the people in the house who are inclined to eat can usually still find something edible in the pantry or freezer—and if not, Dad can make a quick grocery store run. There may be an overwhelming pile in the quadrant formerly known as the hamper, but I’m pretty sure that if I had to hie me down to the crick and scrub the duds on the rocks, the laundry would for real never get done.

Probably women have been cursed with hyperemesis gravidarum ever since being booted out of the Garden, and, like so much of mother-related history, the story hasn’t been told because the matrons of yore were too busy industriously living their lives to waste time blogging about it. :P


Ewe said...

I don't know about this, but I was hospitalized with morning sickness with my first one so I have extreme sympathy! After I get past the point of puking several times a day, then I live on Preggie Drops. I'm actually thankful for the extreme morning sickness because I didn't have any morning sickness with either of my miscarriages. I always wonder if there is something wrong with me that I'm thankful to be puking everything up!

Untamed Shrew said...

I think we're wimpier these days. I have a dear friend who is "done" because she claims pregnancy is so hard on her, even though she's never been diabetic, preeclamptic, hospitalized, or put on bed rest.

I find ginger ale to be helpful. But it has to be real ginger ale. Schwepps makes it in cute little 8 oz bottles.

And fwiw, I am envious of women who lose weight the first tri. I gain. Faithfully. The whole 42 weeks.

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

My wife has tried just about everything, including ginger candy (found in health-food stores) but without much effect. It can help prevent some of the nausea if you can eat a healthy proteinaceous breakfast, healthy snacks throughout the day, and stay hydrated. I know this can be impossible.

My wife will tell you that nothing beats 10mg of Phenergan, but one must assess whether the risks to the baby of not taking it outweigh the potential risks of taking it. It is not known if it causes birth defects, and so I wouldn't recommend it at all during the first trimester.

My wife has pregnancy-induced nausea through the end of the second trimester, and then she has to take Brethine and/or Procardia in the third trimester to prevent premature labor. These medications can also cause quite a bit of nausea, especially at higher doses. We usually make several trips to the hospital to received higher IM doses of Brethine to stop labor prior to the 36th week. So, we've had experience in the first half of pregnancies trying to control nausea without medication, and conservatively using medication in the second half. She only uses medication when the retching reaches intolerable and potentially dangerous levels.

MooreMama said...

I've had "morning" sickness with all 4 pregnancies, for just about the duration.
Here are my tricks (in order):
Drink lots of water, and drink as much as you can between waking up and taking a shower. Water comes up easier than ice cream. Especially if it's not too cold.
Brush your teeth in the shower. Easy clean up.
Cinnamin toothpaste. It helps, really.
For the rest of the day - lots of water and sour hard candy. Sugar free if you can find it.

US - Don't be envious. I've been given until my next check (20 weeks) to gain something. But with C, I didn't gain until 21 weeks, then gained 45 lbs in the following 18 weeks. Eesh.

Untamed Shrew said...

Erich, your wife is an inspiration!

MM--45 isn't even on my radar. I'm lucky to keep it under 60. You're not overweight to begin with, either.

I'll stop complaining now. I know it could be much worse and I'm grateful that all my babies have been born healthy.

Gauntlets said...

Whee! Pure bile in the esophagus for weeks and weeks is fun and healthy! I <3 chucking up the anti-emetics that cost me $80/unit! Ha! Anti-emitics are funny! And yay for bloody boli!

. . . I'm done now.

Dr. H: Oi. OI! She's a hero, that bride of yours.

MM: brushing your teeth in the shower = stroke of brilliance. I'll have to remember that one.

US: Pregnancy is really freaking hard all around, isn't it? There's a place here at the Commiseration Table for pukers and non-pukers alike. ;D

Melrose said...

Erich, wow, that was my experience last time! I didn't have horrible morning sickness, but I had an emergency room run for 8 weeks of unexplained bleeding from weeks 10-18 that never did get explained. Then at 32 weeks I went into labor and was put on procardia for the next 4 weeks. That stuff is horrible. Of course I was thankful for it, but the side effects had me sobbing for myself and my baby wondering what long term effects it would have.

I am now pregnant with my 3rd and at 26 weeks began to dilate, efface and have regular contractions. I spent days researching desperately and on a UK midwifery site found what they said was a "sure cure"...drinking an ENTIRE gallon of water each day. I thought, that doesnt sound so bad and began to do it. Well, it is very hard to get that full gallon down each day but within 3 days of beginning it, all contractions, dilation, and effacement stopped, and in fact closed back up. I'm now 34 weeks and counting. I don't know if this was just a coincidence or not, but I suppose the extra hydration doesnt hurt :)

Melrose said...

oh, and #2 is now a healthy 19 mo old brute of a boy :)

Jody S. said...

The only thing I've found to help with the morning sickness is Vitamin B-6 injections. Then again, I only resort to them when it gets really really old, so I'm not really sure if it is the shots or the end of the first trimester (or the middle of the 2nd sometimes).

Reb. Mary said...

See what I mean?! All this craziness (whether puking or no, as Gauntlets points out) to go around, even with all our enlightened midwifery and druggery. How did those pioneer women cope?

Jody, I've been taking extra B6 this time, which may or may not help...I mutteringly liken this to alligator pills (haven't seen any alligators since i've been taking them, so they must be working. . . ). I'm just glad I could cope w/o the stronger anti-emetics this time around.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry (??) to report but I did not have morning sickness with any of my 13+ pregnancies. Perhaps it is because I HATE to throw up, and I will do EVERYTHING possible to not throw up when I get sick with the flu etc.- even when throwing up would be better. It was really hard when I had food poisoning and needed to throw up. So my mental make up is - "I will not throw up, and I don't" I am not sure that this will help anyone else, but it has always worked for me. : ) I will try and think if there is anything else I did to not have morning sickness. On a side note if I did vomit I probably would not have had 13 children : ). Guess God was gracious to me since He planned for me to have 13 children.
Debbie S

Anonymous said...

I am in no way saying that God is not being gracious to any of you moms..... SORRY..... He just knew I could not handle vomiting. I do feel bad for those who have morning sickness, and I pray that you would be able to get through this difficult time - God does not give us more than we can handle with His help.
Debbie S.

Jody S. said...

I will forgive you for not having morning sickness since you're so kind to me when I do. And since you reared a son who does almost all of my motherly work when I'm sick for those months.

Reb. Mary,
Does this mean it gets better after a certain number of pregnancies? (Please?) I've never needed meds, though no day in those early months feels quite complete without a sprint to the toilet.

Reb. Mary said...

Jody, I'm holding out hope that things get better over time, because hope is what enables us to press on :). #3 was the worst for me, the only one I was on the meds. Time will tell whether I'm feeling slightly better this time around just because, or, as one of my friends believes, because there's a girl in there this time :D.

Reb. Mary said...

Debbie, we know what you meant. :) I thought the mind-over-matter thing would work for me, too. Then I got pregnant :P. The sickness is way more than I can handle. In fact this life provokes me near the edge of despair many days, but that's when I'm driven to lean on my Savior and thank God that His power is made perfect in my weakness.

Reb. Mary said...

Mayhem and chaos is preventing me from articulating what I'm thinking about the can't-handle-it-thing. Someone else go ahead and say it better, please.

Dakotapam said...

I've never been to the point of needing meds. But I've been miserable. This pregnancy being the worst. I recall my Ob suggesting a b6 pill and half a unisom as a mild cure and I laughed, as that would require me to swallow not one, but two pills!

I'm not sure how those pioneer women handled it. I think they just carried on and did what they had to do, and I'm sure they and babies did suffer.

Anonymous said...

In regards to homeopathic...... my book "Homeopathic Medicine at Home" written by Maesimund B. Panos, M.D. and Jane Heimlich suggests the following homeopathic remedies......

Colchicum autumnale-if the thought of food even makes you ill.
Phosphorus - if you are thirsty for cold water but vomit it as soon as it gets warm in your stomach.
Nux Vomica - if you start the day off retching(dry heaves) and are miserable and cranky until afternoon.
Anacardium -if you retch every morning and feel better as soon as you eat something.
Natrum phosphoricum - if you have nausea without any of the other symptoms.

Ipecacuanha- is another remedy we use alot for nausea and vomiting.

I have tried various (ones of these) remedies when I have ill children with nausea or vomiting and they have helped them according to their symptoms.

One other suggestion in the book: 1/2 teas. salt and 1/2 teas. honey in a pint of water. Take one teaspoon every fifteen minutes four times, then two teaspoons every fifteen min. four times, then three teas. every fifteen min. four times. This maintains a degree of hydration by sending down such small amounts of liquid that the stomach doesn't seem to notice.

Hope these suggestions might help someone!

Anonymous said...

Reb. Mary -
Remember ... God permits daily struggles to come into our lives to turn us toward Him and His life giving Word.
This week in my study of God's Word I have learned again that ....we do not know what will come about in our lives that God will use for His will to be done or what God will bring about in our lives to bless us. Christians often have nor warning and may never receive an explanation in this life for the times they are asked to carry Jesus' cross.
......and a favorite verse I recite over and over to myself......
"This happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."
God will bring good out of this - even morning sickness. Your sister in Christ, Debbie S

Anonymous said...

I don't know where else to post this
Prayer Request:
Tomorrow 11/19 I am having surgery for a torn meniscus in my knee. Please pray for God's peace, success in the surgery, and PATIENCE during recovery. Guess I will have lot's of time for Bible Reading, Prayer and being a sit down mom. Thank you. Debbie S

Jody S. said...

I understand the pill issue. My doctor ordered injectable B6 for me. That meant I had to load up a syringe and give myself a shot in the thigh once a week. Not easy, but easier than the alternative. (Not that I had to do it, but the possibility of a break in the sickness was too tempting.)

D. said...

The nausea in pregnancy is not like nausea w/ the flu (for me anyways). I felt better after vomitting when I had the flu---w/ pregnancy, I still felt sick.

I would love to have more babies, but my hyperemesis is really high in the column of "Why not". I'm not sure how Godly that is, but when you vomit for 20 weeks and your other daughters say, "I don't want to have babies bc you're sick all the time" and your husband says he cannot handle another pregnancy, it's hard to know if it's wrong to not want to go through that again? Is this God's way of telling me I'm done? Or I should adopt?
Zofran did not work for me...b6/unisom tablet did help a little, although it makes me sleepy. A Reliefband wrist watch helped immensely and is accupressure w/ no side effects like medication. They've come down in price too.

Reb. Mary said...

D., sigh. I don't think there's a one of us here who's impertinent enough to attempt answering your very valid questions. :O But know that you're not alone. At some point, for various reasons, each of us struggles, privately and/or together with her husband, to discern how best to carry on. . . May God grant you wisdom and peace in the process!

Reb. Mary said...

Debbie, oh my! Shoot us an update when you get the chance (email link in sidebar).