How I Survived Morning (All Day) Sickness in Pregnancy
A week past my expected cycle, I peed on a stick to rule out this pending thought that I could be pregnant.
That wasn’t possible… my last cycle was out of whack, we just moved so my stress levels weren’t exactly stable, and my previous hormone panels didn’t exactly indicate that I was “Fertile Kate.”
Then another… two lines.
Then another… two lines.
What the heck was wrong with these faulty pregnancy strips?!
I ran off to the store for another test… a different brand this time.
But there it was... two lines!!
Oh-em-gee, I was pregnant!
A rush of emotion washed over me. I was so excited to tell my husband… but I didn’t want to just call him, so I patiently held my tummy on the couch and waited for him to come home.
This was a Friday. I was about 5.5 weeks along.
That night, my husband and I went to dinner and he was telling everyone. It was fun to be so overjoyed.
I remember saying in the car to him that night, “I’m really going to try to enjoy this pregnancy and not complain.”
Karma heard me.
On Tuesday, my nephew was born - how exciting it was to experience welcoming him into the world knowing a little baby of our own was going to join him in the Spring.
After visiting the new family in the hospital on Wednesday, I drove home and started to feel a little queasy on the way. Hmm. I shrugged it off and shoveled some food in my mouth.
The following Friday was a friend from high school’s wedding. This was the first day I remember feeling off… a little nauseous and just not great. It was hard to keep that hidden amongst all my girlfriends!
I took a supplement called Beta TCP (it helps with the gallbladder and NTP/NTCs commonly recommend it for nausea and morning sickness). It got me through the wedding, but there wasn’t much dancing involved.
The next morning, it struck. I felt AWFUL.
And so it begun...
What I Tried
YES, I tried crackers.
YES, I tried ginger ale.
YES, I tried ginger in general.
YES, I tried mini meals and keeping something in my stomach.
YES, I tried smoothies and protein shakes (OMG, I still can’t even think about them now).
YES, I tried teas.
One day I even got desperate and tried a Coke because I heard that could help nausea.
NO, none of those helped me… for at least the first 14-16 weeks.
We started a morning routine where my hubby would bring me a good quality glass of OJ in the AM and I would take a few sips before standing up (to help low blood sugar).
I’d also take a few bites of protein in whatever form I could handle: protein bars and jerky were usually the options.
Then, I would venture downstairs and hubby would make me some scrambled eggs… I would try to put them on some gluten-free toast for an egg sandwich to get a little more substance.
But honestly, some days I just sat in the chair forcing myself to chew through tears because I felt so terrible.
The first 6-12 weeks were definitely the worst. I was getting sick multiple times a day and had 0 energy. If I was awake until 7 pm, I considered it a win.
Survival mode at it’s finest.
Then, I started having ok days every other day. Whenever I could eat, I would eat whatever I could and as much as I could handle.
My diet consisted mainly of carbs in forms of potatoes, gluten-free pasta, popcorn, canyon bakehouse toast… loaded up with grass-fed butter (c’mon fat-soluble vitamins!)
But let’s talk about why...
Why Food Aversions and Morning Sickness Occur (... so they say)
In the first 12-14 weeks of pregnancy, many women have aversions to protein-rich foods. This traces back to our kidneys which have a harder time processing nitrogen during this time.
Plus, pre-refrigeration and modern conveniences, meat and protein-rich foods would spoil easily and carry more bacteria, pathogens, etc. The theory here: aversion is our evolutionary way of protecting ourselves and our growing baby again potential food toxins.
I was SO NERVOUS about not getting in enough calories and nutrients for the baby, but the first time I met with my doctor, she said “Your baby is smaller than your fingernail - it doesn’t require much right now.”
That did make me feel better.
Also, in the first trimester, the baby is also developing (mostly) off of our build-up nutrient-stores. If you can eat nutrient-dense diet before getting pregnant, your baby will have plenty to choose from.
Wacky hormones could also be the blame - especially hCG which increases rapidly at the beginning of pregnancy. This is the reason everyone was convinced I was having a girl (well, hey, they were right!)
It’s been said… if you balance your hormones pre-conception, you may have a better chance of fighting the sickness off.
Other theories: nutritional deficiencies, electrolyte deficiencies, low blood sugar, stressed out adrenals, weak liver, H. Pylori … and there are others!
Though I ate nutrient-dense, I did know my hormones were struggs at the time I conceived. I also knew I wasn’t sufficient in magnesium, which plays a role in morning sickness. AND let’s recall I discovered I had a parasite in January 2016. After 2 rounds of natural remedies to ward it off, I was finally in the process of getting antibiotics to completely eradicate it in September 2016 when I discovered I was pregnant. Sigh. I personally think this has played a large role in my experience.
What (seemed to) Work for Me
Looking back, I’m not sure how I survived the first 26 weeks…
Getting out of the house helped.
Not having to cook my own meals helped (if I cooked it, I didn’t stand a chance to eat it).
The starchy bland carbs helped.
I went to my 23-24 week appointment and remember telling my doctor I was still having a hard time. She point blank told me I may be one of the “lucky ones” that stays sick for the entirety of my pregnancy (<5% of women do).
Soon thereafter (or perhaps I had already ordered it), I discovered the Pink Stork line on Amazon during one of my insomnia nights.
“Click to buy” buttons are dangerous.
First, I ordered the magnesium spray.
Then, I found the prenatal liquid vitamin.
Then, I found the probiotic.
Then, I found you could order the whole line.
Click, click, click, click.
So many Pink Stork boxes showed up on our doorstep within 2 days (Thanks, Prime!).
I’ll go through the supplements I think made the biggest difference, but since I started implementing this line consistently almost immediately (with a couple other changes).
WOW, what a difference! I’ve felt MUCH better.
It took about 1-2 weeks to kick in, but now I only struggle 1-2x a week, and it’s not usually all day, but rather a couple hours. I’ve also noticed it’s made worse by added stress.
*Supplements marked with a * from Pink Stork are eligible for a coupon code for 20% off at the end of this post. Enjoy mamas-to-be!
First thing in the AM: Pink Stork Pro Pregnancy Probiotic*
This is a probiotic formulated for pregnant mamas. It’s designed to help with morning sickness because it contains lactic acid which inhibit harmful bacteria and provide an overall healthier digestive track.
I'm always working on my own gut health (along with helping clients) so I'm totally on board for a quality probiotic.
I tried pill prenatals (which came right back up… and smelled like broccoli to me) gummy prenatals (which were coated with sugar and just didn’t sit well in my stomach), but this liquid prenatal has by far been the best for me.
I have always liked the Calton’s Nutreince liquid multivitamin, however I just couldn’t get in that much flavored liquid.
This product has a similar theory: better absorption by being liquid and contains methylated forms of the B vitamins, Iron, and a prebiotic formula to help with, again, a healthy gut!
Throughout the Day: Pink Stork Cocolaurin*
H. Pylori (as mentioned above) has been shown to be a cause of hyperemesis gravidarum, the severe form of morning sickness (check out this study).
Cocolaurin attacks the harmful bacteria in the gut which may make morning sickness worse. This product is purified monolaurin from organic coconuts, which also helps to boost the immune system (why I think it’s helping me - reference: parasite and low white blood cell count my whole life!).
I spray about 5-6 sprays on each foot and my wrists/forearms before going to bed and I take 1 capsule of the Prescript-Assist probiotic.
Again, I tried a couple different magnesium sprays, but this was by far the best one for me. No negative reactions (some folks have used magnesium oils that have dried out their skin) and fast relief!
This is also my favorite soil-based probiotic. I suffered from constipation the first half of my pregnancy (hormones and probably the lack of fats/proteins) but I've been doing well ever since I found a good routine here! I also have been able to eat much more well-rounded since getting the nausea under control.
Occasionally: Digestive enzymes and Beta TCP
Digestion, as we learned in our NTC program, is THE foundation to always address whenever you are having a health challenge.
I’ve been working on digestion for 2+ years.. and though I’m much better, I’m not there yet!
Taking digestive enzymes (my preferred product is Critical Digestion from Enzyme Science, which is not available on Amazon), plus Beta TCP (from Biotics Research... I don't trust vendors of this brand on Amazon. Best to get it from a certified practitioner). Beta TCP helps with the emulsification of fats, has been very helpful for me overall.
. . . . .
While I know that most of what helped me is supplement related, I don't know if I could have "solved" the morning sickness any other way since I tried all of the other holistic, food approaches.
I am more than happy to take these supplements to get through this period of time... and giving myself LOTS of grace!
I've been doing little to no traditional exercise/working out - but I do like long walks on days I feel I can handle it. I also do some movements to keep my legs strong for labor.
Interested in trying the Pink Stork line?
I contacted the company for a coupon code for you since it has been such a game-changer for me.
Use code "kate20" when checking out at pinkstork.com to enjoy 20% off your purchase.
Keep with it mama! Your precious baby will be here and you'll have a lifetime of love to make up for this hard time!