G Series introduced in 2010, from left to righ...

G Series introduced in 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Attention solider! Hyperemesis Gravidarum (hg) is a solitary disease, fought alone in what might feel like the middle of a desert. You’re hungry. You’re thirsty. You’re exhausted. Want to win this war? Stay hydrated.

For any woman with hg, that’s easier said than done. Early in my first trimester, before I was diagnosed with this life-threatening condition the strangest thing happened to me. In addition to throwing up everything I ate, I suddenly couldn’t keep any liquid down. I remember leaning over the toilet and vomiting what felt like buckets of water. It was then I knew that something was terribly wrong.

Women with hyperemesis gravidarum frequently suffer from a symptom you wouldn’t associate with pregnancy: dehydration. Swollen ankles, yes. Lower back pain, of course. But a lack of adequate fluids? Who ever heard of that! When I learned I was expecting, the last thing I thought I would experience was dehydration.

The effects of dehydration can be ruinous to a pregnant body. But for me, the worst effect was the shrinking of my blood veins into un-tappable wisps of blood. By the time a paramedic finally succeeded in catching a vein during one e.r. visit, I was shaking uncontrollably. He was the forth person to try, and it took everyone thirteen pokes in the hands and arms before anyone succeeded. Do I need to say how miserable I was that day?

The advice of every person I spoke with was the same: just try to drink some more. That didn’t work for me, but here’s what did. Not all of these things worked every time, but I think they occasionally helped me stay hydrated.

I’m hoping some of these ideas will help you, my sisters in suffering.

  1. Sucking on (and often chewing) ice cubes
  2. Pedialyte popsicles
  3. Fruit frozen in ice-cube trays
  4. Ensure, ice cold, in the teeniest sips possible
  5. The omni-present IV from home health care
  6. Jello
  7. Certain flavors of Gatorade, frozen

Not everything works. Sometimes you find that one thing that makes life a littler better, and you use it until it no longer works. Sometimes, nothing works. The point is that you need to keep trying, soldier. Never give up. Your body is nourishing your child. Now you need to try- as torturous as it is sometimes- to nourish yourself. Keep fighting.

P.S. What helps you stay hydrated? Share some ideas with those of us still in the trenches by posting a comment below.

  1. momwithhg says:

    Love this post. I had HG through my first pregnancy from 6 weeks until I delivered at 35 weeks. The first 10 weeks were the worst because I had a horrible doctor who didn’t know anything and wasn’t really treating me. I switched to specialists, which helped a lot (although didn’t really change me being sick).
    I’ve started blogging my second pregnancy (i’m 5 weeks now) and have only been sick once. Hoping to not have to battle HG through this pregnancy, but am prepared if we do.

    • hgsurvivor says:

      Hi there! Thanks for reblogging my post. I really like your blog and just signed up as a follower! I am really hoping that you don’t have hg this pregnancy, but so glad you are prepared and have support from your family. That can make all the difference in the world!!

  2. Tamarhgmama says:

    Liquids…my arch enemy. For about three weeks when I was first pregnant I could stomach a few bites of pho soup broth. Then one day it came back and kept coming back. That soup was the last liquid that stayed down. I constantly felt like I was dying Of thirst. It was horrible. I could keep down my safe foods sometimes, but liquids….never. Even typing this I feel the anxiety I had over not being able to drink anything. Even ice cubes and chips would make that slushie feeling in my belly and leave the metallic taste on my tongue. Dehydration doesn’t just affect you physically and mentally as well.
    My biggest hope for the progress for HG treatment is that it becomes standard for HG suffers to receive hydration through IV. Trying to make myself drink something made the really bad days the worst days. Mental and throwing up wise. Just making myself attempt a sip at something would cause panic and frustration.

  3. eleeneal says:

    Early in pregnancy seltzer with lemon was okay. People kept trying to recommend ginger ale…which did nothing. But my combo in the most difficult part of HG was Simply Lemonade (with extra lemon) and Pedialyte pops. The sourness of the lemonade sometimes helped the nausea and I later learned that the citrus was good for cleansing the liver.

    • hgsurvivor says:

      Gingerl ale did nothing for me, either, eleneal. I remember lemonade helping me, too, but had no idea that citrus helped clean the liver. Thanks for sharing!

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