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squidrustler

How to help a wife who has Hyperemesis Gravidarum

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squidrustler

Hi there,

 

Apologies in advance if this has been covered elsewhere on the forum but I couldn't find it anywhere.

 

My pregnant wife has been diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which is essentially extreme morning sickeness. She is nauseous 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is expected to remain so until at least the end of the first trimester (jn another two weeks).

 

If your wife or partner has suffered from this condition I would like to hear any strategies you found successful in helping her. Medically she is coping very well so I'm not looking for strategies to keep her hydrated, etc. Just looking for help or advice to help someone totally unable to do anything, to try and keep her spirits up as it's very hard for me to see her like this!

 

Thanks very much in advance!

 

JP in Melbourne

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I'mBeachedAs

As someone who probably had HG (but wasn't diagnosed), these were the things my husband did which helped:

- clean out my spew bucket/clean the floor if I missed

- take over much of the housework

- cook etc so I wouldn't have to smell the food cooking

- check that I was ok when stuck in the bathroom vomiting

- let me sleep as often as needed

 

Good luck! Bad morning sickness is the pits!

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BloomLuka

Ginger beer and gingernut biscuits.

Saxby's ginger and lime flavoured ginger beer is great.

Hopefully she can keep down pregnancy vits with a bit of food as this will help her body get the vitamins and minerals she needs.

Once she feels less horrid, encourage her to take iron supplements as her iron may be low after not being able to keep much down!

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Starrydawn

Theres a support group on here for HG. Also go to the helpher.org site it is dedicated to HG.

 

It is horrible I had it till 27 weeks. Just be prepared for it not to end at the end of the first trimester. For most it goes much longer.

 

Make sure she has all the right meds. Zofran is often a HGers best friend.

 

It is hard to keep spirits up. I had never felt so bad in my whole life. There wasn't really much anyone could do except listen to me say how bad I felt.

 

Just be there for her. Perhaps read some of the funny "crackered" stories on the helpher site jut so she knows she is not alone.

 

It is great you are being a supportive husband.

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item

http://www.helpher.org/family/

 

Keep up her meds!!!!

 

ETA - as a PP mentioned, be prepared for this to continue till delivery.

 

Make no judgement on anything she can eat/drink/keep down (my OB was delighted to discover a litre of cola a day would stay down)

 

Get in touch with the obstetric social worker at the hospital she is birthing at.

 

Be patient. If you can get someone she likes (her mum or mil) to move in and look after her, so much the better.

 

Audio books could be good, too. I couldn't tolerate watching tv or reading but listening might have been ok.

 

Understand that she might go to some pretty dark places, organise counselling now and especially after birth.

 

Do whatever you can to help her have everything set up for the baby how she would like it. One of the things that mentally hurt was not being able to get the nursery ready. If you can order online or take on making her dream nursery come to life it might give her something positive to focus on.

 

Know that it's ok for both of you to grieve for that lovely pregnancy you're not having, that you probably always dreamed you would. Yes, there are worse things, but this really, really sucks.

Edited by in(s)ane

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longluncher

Relay messages from friends if she is too ill to speak on the phone, its nice to be reminded that the world out there is still turning and people are thinking of her.

 

Maybe also download/rent a new tv series she can get stuck into to distract her.

 

Trashy mags are also a good distraction!

 

Plan events for when she is back on her feet ie. movies, mani/pedi etc (nothing food/meal related!)

 

Really hope your wife is feeling better soon

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longluncher

PS. wanted to add, if your wife is feeling too ill to take her pregnancy vitamins tell her not to stress about it! I did constantly (stress that is!).. even the tiny folic acid/iodine ones made me race to the bathroom. I think I kept maybe 1 or 2 down in my entire pregnancy and no harm done :) Just mentioning this because I was sick with guilt that I wasnt taking vitamins and every time I googled I found horrid articles saying my child would have all sorts of nasty things, which she doesnt!

Edited by longluncher

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mollybot

ZOFRAN. The only thing which helped me !!!

 

Also - if you can afford it - a cleaner if you need one. Also, a visiting massage (make sure they have a pregnancy table) would be gorgeous.

 

I had it with my first two and they were fine. I was SO stressed about fetal nutrition, maternal stress, folic acid etc. My Ob casually mentioned that the babies would pull anything they needed out of my bones and the old saying was that a woman would lose a tooth for each child. Oh Yay. But they *were* fine :D

 

Keep up the meds !! Also, Zofran is hideously expensive - ask the Ob if they can write you a hospital script as its MUCH cheaper to get them through a hospital pharmacy.

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squidrustler

Thank you very much to everyone who replied to my question, it is very much appreciated!

 

A quick status update - the sickness is abating (very) slowly but surely. Zofran (ondansetron) has been somewhat helpful but is very expensive - about $6 a tablet. Currently she is managing with a couple of Zofran and about 3 maxalon per day.

 

Her appetite is starting to return as well, and I'm considering a career as a short-order cook due to my new-found proficiency at producing egg & bacon muffins.

 

Another thing I've found helpful is rehydration formula, particularly the blackcurrant flavour, which masks the unpleasant salty flavour better than the orange flavour.

 

Hiring a cleaner was out of the question as we're reduced to one income at the moment, so I'm managing those duties as well. No real problems on that front as we only rent a 2 bedroom flat anyway.

 

Anyway, a big THANK YOU again from my wife and I to everyone for their advice and support. It is great to know there are others going through similar trials.

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mollybot

SO pleased to hear that she's feeling better ! And what a good Dh you are !!

 

Mmmmm egg and bacon muffins.....

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*cough*

No advice or experience but just have to say naw! I hope my DH is half as nice as you.

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3ofakind

I suffered through HG for all 3 off my pregnancies until delivery, and then the heavens opened up, the angels began to sing, and I felt well and HUNGRY again.

 

Its great that you are being so supportive to your wife and even better that she is beginning to get some appetite. It is a vicious cycle, if you can stomach food and keep it down, you really do feel better..... however, more often than not its hard to eat and also digest a meal.

 

COLD drinks helped me, I could sip, and at least try to keep myself hydrated.... Sad to say, but FROZEN COKE was a godsend as were most other slushies.

 

My poor suffering DH did all the cooking, as I could barely drag myself from bed, or the floor in the bathroom.... he cleaned up the house, and any missed vomits.... and he also did all the grocery shopping as merely walking past the deli section in Coles or Woolies sent me running for the bathrooms.

 

Good luck to you and your wife... the one thing that kept me going was the knowledge that it WOULD end.... eventually, and then there would be a beautiful new addition to your family that would make all that suffering worth it.

Its a horrible condition and I would never wish it on anybody.

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SemiRuralGirl

I think the fact that you are so supportive and actively trying to help her will be of the utmost importance. I had HG in my first two pg and it was REALLY tough.

 

Things hubby did for me that helped:

* made sure I always had cold ginger beer next to my bed (day and night)

* made me small snacks (and didn't get upset if I couldn't eat any or only eat one bite) - again day and night

* cleaned up after particularly bad "episodes" for me (grose I know)

* checked on me if I was in the bathroom throwing up. Sometimes you're so dehydrated it all gets too much and you can sort of get stuck on the floor.

* sat with me while I showered (incase I got stuck throwing up or passed out)

* forced me into hospital for some IV fluids when I was past the point of recognising I needed them or not wanting to be a pain

* dropped our toddler around at a friend's house to be babysat for the day when things were really bad

* understood if I stayed in bed all day / slept all day

- and very importantly, * loved me unconditionally and kept telling me how beautiful I was / how I was doing a great job / etc etc to build my non existent confidence back up.

 

Hope this helps. Sounds like you're already doing an amazing job. I hope your wife feels better soon and can appreciate the pregnancy a bit more.

 

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RealityBites

Be prepared for it not to get better. If your wife really has HG, it is very unlikely to ease up at 12 weeks and disappear! Most of us feel better around 10-12 weeks for a few days, then crash back down again. It can be very depressing.

 

ETA Also zofran may be expensive, but it is the only thing that works for a lot of people.

 

Lots of good advice on this thread already and you sound lovely. Another tip - don't delay hospital visits. If your wife has thrown up/hasn't kept fluid down for 24-48 hours, she will need to get to hospital for fluids.

Edited by RealityBites

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SemiRuralGirl
Be prepared for it not to get better. If your wife really has HG, it is very unlikely to ease up at 12 weeks and disappear! Most of us feel better around 10-12 weeks for a few days, then crash back down again. It can be very depressing.

 

Oh yes, this is true. I was unwell (severely) until 25wks. After that I was unwell, but it was tolerable.

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ThatsNotMyName

I didn't have HG so I have no practical advice to offer but wanted to say that the emotional support you offer her will be very valuable and will help her through when nothing physical will. What a great husband and Dad you are, pat on the back to you as it's not easy for you either.

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Anonymous12

Another one who didn't get better at 12 weeks, it continued to 20 weeks for me.

 

Zofran may be expensive but it is the only way I cope. Also, I am not spending money on anything else so actual spending goes down.

 

Sleeping as much as I could also helped, as did bitter lemon soft drink and green apples.

 

I didn't want to talk or engage with anyone so just be aware that if she isn't talking to you it is just because it is too draining.

 

It will end. That is what kept me going the first time and I keep reminding myself this time "at the most I have 12 weeks of this left" "at the most I have 10 weeks left"

 

You will get your wife back and life will be good again, but remember this time if you plan another pregnancy so you can be fully prepared.

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Nerak253

Just the fact that you're supportive enough to seek out help will help her.

 

things I found useful;

 

- Zofran. My GP ticked the 'ok to replace with generic brand' box on the prescription and then we rang around different pharmacies to check prices. Also, not all had it in stock so it was easier to call and have it reserved.

 

- a giant bottle of mouthwash. Brushing my teeth sometimes would trigger my gag reflex so the mouthwash made me feel like my teeth wouldn't fall out if I couldn't brush them.

 

- someone else preparing food. Looking at/touching/smelling food put me off eating it.

 

- I sometimes showered sat on the floor because being stood up made me dizzy

 

- very cold drinks (juice/coke/anything that'll provide SOME nutrition on bad days)

 

- I found bubbly drinks easier to drink. Flat water was actually the hardest thing to keep down.

 

- Berocca when I couldnt swallow the vitamins. It made me feel better that I was getting some. You can take it whilst pregnant (check the website) as long as you don't take it at same time as proper antenatal vitamins.

 

- any distractions that dont make it worse. Sometimes TV helped, sometimes the movement of the images made it worse.

 

- no strong smells or tastes. There's an aftershave my husband wore at the time that still makes me instantly hurl if I smell it now!

 

- http://www.helpher.org/family/how-to-help/fathers.php

 

Lastly, I would also consider counselling. I have a friend who also had it but wasn't given Zofran and she was so depressed and hated her pregnancy so much she was convinced she wouldn't be able to bond with her baby and would want to have it adopted. She and the baby were fine and are very happy now but it shows how much of a toll HG can take on you.

 

Best of luck

Edited by Nerak253

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purple_daisy

As a two time HG sufferer I agree with a lot of the suggestions above, and would also be quite surprised if she magically got better at 12 weeks - some doctors say this, but it can be quite disheartening as I often had the occasional day or two where things improved only to be sobbing over the toilet bowl later in the week when everything went pear shaped again.

 

A big thing DH did for me was to be in my corner and deflect all that well meaning advice from women who have never had true HG (ie they had a bit of nausea on and off) and feel that you will get better if you just try ginger/ginger beer/ crackers before getting up in the morning/ saos/whatever. So whenever well meaning advice came our way, DH would step in and say something along the lines "thank you for that, but we are really beyond that point" and then deflect the conversation. I loved him for that - your wife will probably be getting the ginger beer advice from every man and his dog and it can be discouraging because it feels like nobody quite understands how serious things are. HAving DH understand and be in my corner was a huge help.

 

I'm glad your wife is feeling a bit better today, but if she goes downhill again try getting a whole lot of single serve freezer meals so that you can eat decent, healthy-ish food even if she isn't hungry as you need to stay in good shape too.

 

DH used to eat his meals outside, so there was no smell to upset me.

 

Good luck!

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Libster

Keep up the great work, sounds like you're being a very helpful hubby :) I haven't had HG but my heart goes out to your wife. Many many great tips in here :)

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