Home made macaroni and cheese, with some dried...

Home made macaroni and cheese, with some dried herbs and grounded pepper. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, you know exactly what I mean by that title. The gnawing hunger, the unrelenting nausea, the dream of food…

When I was pregnant, I tortured myself by watching episodes of Top Chef, Hell’s Kitchen, and Master Chef (I think I might have a bit of a crush on Gordon Ramsey). I would be desperate for something substantial, like a turkey sandwich, but I knew that not long after I would eat the food would come right back up again. It is because of hyperemesis gravidarum that I have lost any desire for macaroni and cheese, spinach, or pop tarts. Some things are just not pleasant to throw up.

Looking back, I don’t know how I survived. I felt so malnourished. Most of what I ate consisted of mush like cream of wheat, applesauce, or, if it was a good day, potato chips. I went through phases where things like sour candies, V-8 juice, or ice chips where the only things I could keep down. On one happy day, I was able to manage an ice cream cone without vomiting.

Both my body and mind were drained of energy. I obsessively thought one sentence over and over: something is seriously wrong. On days when I could keep down a chewable vitamin, I felt a little better. Most days the idea of vitamins made my stomach turn sour. I am amazed that my child survived, even thrived, on the little nutrients I provided him.

Having barely survived this frustrating aspect of hyperemesis gravidarum, I find it hard to offer advice. What worked for me may not work for you. It’s scary to “try” new foods in the hope that you’ll be able to keep them down. No one wants to experiment when the very real threat of vomit is part of the consequences one might suffer. And no one wants to hear the classic Saltines and ginger ale standard. The best I can do is this: remind you that this will end, encourage you to stick to what works (think bland, bland, bland), and tell you not to give up. On good days, try something with a little bit of nutrients. On bad days, keep up with the liquids the best you can.

And if you’re in the mood to do a little research, check out the University of Arizona’s Health Services site, which offers a “bland diet” page. The only problem with their list is that it includes macaroni and cheese. Ugh.
P.S. What foods can you keep down? Share your favorites with others by posting a comment below.

  1. Aimee says:

    Thanks for the blog post. I am 18 weeks and still struggling. I have some good days, but they are few and far between. I am not really throwing up anymore…the zofran is actually doing it’s job. However, the nausea is awful, horrible, and exhausting. At this time smoothies don’t always make me feel the best, but I know they are good for me and the baby and somewhat hydrating. Wendy’s cheeseburgers sit ok and taste good…if I don’t eat too much. Decaf. sweet tea is the only thing I can sip on. I keep waiting to feel better…any day now. Wishful thinking I guess.

    • hgsurvivor says:

      Wow, Aimee, 18 weeks– you’ve come so far!!! I’m so glad that the zofran is helping and that you have a few foods that help. I went through a time when sweet tea helped, too. When I hit week 22, the vomiting lessened for me. I hope you get some relief soon!

    • Ophelia says:

      that’s so funny. you sip on sweet tea. i drove by mcdonalds the other day and was thinking to myself how i think i could drink it. it was the caffeine part that deterred me. so crazy. better to drink something than nothing!

  2. jroxdesigns says:

    Soft pretzels and strangely enough..orange juice. For a several days straight around 30ish weeks (they all blur together) I craved soft pretzels and orange juice and it was the only thing I could keep down. I felt like a million bucks because the OJ was the Minute Maid Kids that has all the extra vitamins and stuff in it. It made me feel like I was being a good mommy!! Good luck Aimee, and I’m jealous you could keep down cheeseburgers! Yum Yum!

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  4. missn says:

    reading this post gives me power to keep going. i am a full time chemistry student living in china, a whole new continent far from mine (america). i have 8 weeks and i have been hospitalized 3 times and 3 more for consultation, in fact im greeting all of you from my hospital bed ( nice view at least). it is so frustrating to encounter doctors who dont know about this sickness and say ‘its normal, suck it up and eat’. i feel tired and in pain 24/7. but i know there is light and the lord is with me. all these women who have survived is amazing,so strong..i just cant wait to be there and share my survivale story with all of you. for now i have a long road to run and i just hope my body doesnt give up cause i will def not give in.

  5. silverlining31 says:

    Hi im 22 years old and 4 months pregnant with my first baby.. Been suffering hyperemesis for 2 months already.. Its so hard for me, with the fact that my husband is away and being malnourished (from weight 46kg to 36kg). Im so depressed and weak!! Feels like got cancer 😦 … Even im a nurse…seems like everyday is dooms day!!! Please help

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