Hyperemesis Gravidarum Survival Tips

Here are some hyperemesis gravidarum survival tips, some things I’ve gotten into the habit of doing that are helping me get by.

Dental Hygiene – This is a biggie for me.  I haven’t been able to brush my teeth in ages, but at the same time, the horrifying taste and smell emanating from my filthy mouth exacerbate the nausea.  Here are a few things I’ve done that help:

  • Switch to a toddler-sized toothbrush.  I picked one with a brush head sized for a 2 year old.  It makes a huge difference.  The smaller head reduces the gag factor significantly.  It also has a picture of Eeyore on it which often suits my mood.
  • Rinse with baking soda and water. I actually do this periodically throughout the day.  It seems to cut right through that horrible layer that builds up in my mouth.  This is probably my favorite survival method.  I love this.  Many thanks to Ashli for this one!  My mom got it out of her book.
  • Ditch the toothpaste. Forget the toothpaste.  The strong flavor was killer for me.  Instead I wet my tiny toothbrush and then shake a little baking soda on it.  Much easier on the gag reflex.

Personal Hygiene –  I hate being dirty.  But keeping up with personal hygiene with HG is so difficult.  Here are a couple of things I do to make it easier:

  • Put a cheapo kid’s step-stool in the shower. This would only work well if you’ve got a hand-held shower-head.  If you don’t have one, get one.  Then you can sit on the cheap, plastic step-stool and shower seated.  Bonus: If you have to puke, you can just lean forward and not worry about sitting in it!  The step-stool (I got mine at Walmart a couple years ago) is like a $3 version of the expensive shower chair.
  • Switch deodorant and soap. I use Dove unscented for sensitive skin and Aveeno unscented bar soap now.  Way better than the Secret Cucumber scent.  Just because it’s unscented doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a smell.  What works for me might not work for you.  But if the soap makes you puke (and ours did), switch it out and get it the hell out of the house.

Dealing with Smells – Every HGer knows that the smells are one of the biggest parts of the HG hell.  Here are a couple of things that I found that slice through the smells and temporarily deaden the nose:

  • Alcohol wipes. Please don’t go around huffing rubbing alcohol.  But if you do happen to need a wipe to change out your pump site or whatever medical activity you happen to be doing, take a whiff of that alcohol wipe!  Sweet relief!
  • Apple Cider Vinegar.  I got this tip yesterday from you guys!  This is the bomb.  If I put a little on a paper towel, and breathe through that, I can open the fridge!  How awesome is that  Like the alcohol, it seems to deaden my nose and neutralize odors.  Probably safer than huffing alcohol, too.

I would love to hear from you guys!  What little things helped you survive HG?

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18 thoughts on “Hyperemesis Gravidarum Survival Tips

  1. i use to stiff purel. Can’t be good. And I always carried around a lemon and lemon essential oil to sniff.
    as far as baking soda goes, I use that now instead of toothpaste, and love it, so i’ll keep doing that.
    I also used this really wonderful scent free soap from terressentials. The stuff is so expensive but its locally made in Maryland and has to be shiped but it really doens’t have a scent! I swear it. for deodorant use the beloved baking soda a little under your arms, or mix it with a little coconust oil and use underarms, works wonders and no scent.
    I am going to have to figure out what to do with my hair duirng an hg pregnancy. I’m thinking of choping a lot of it off.

    Any tricks for the extra saliva? Maybe i will wear a mask with ACV seeped in it, next time-lol

    Good tips and tricks

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    1. I haven’t figured anything out for the stupid saliva. It’s all foamy and disgusting. I feel like I have rabies or something. When I was in the hospital I was sticking the sheet in my mouth to soak it up! I’m thinking a moist washcloth might do the trick, too.

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  2. Such a great post, and it’ll serve so many women. Mine was PineSol. I would ask my husband to clean everything with it. Never in the room I was in, because the strong scent of it was too much for me, but if I could just faintly smell it in the air from other areas of the house, that helped. Had to get rid of all shampoos and body washes. Anything fruity smelling made me sick, but anything crisp and clean-scented was ok. So I ended up using Irish Spring, which I’m aware wouldn’t help most women with smell-sensitivity. For me, it was mostly smells that reminded me of food that were triggers.

    Keeping an oscillating fan by my bed helped.

    Children’s chewable vitamins were a life-saver. Some days when I couldn’t eat anything at all, I could keep that Flintstone down and life was okay.

    Baked potatoes served as my dinner nearly every night. Just a little salt and butter and I was good.

    I relied on Scope to get me through the dental hygiene issue. I never ever gargled. I would mix some with water and slosh it around very quickly, just enough to get the minty taste in there and then spit it out.

    Baths were rough. I couldn’t stand in the shower, and I wasn’t smart enough to think of buying a little stool (genius, by the way), so I took baths. Laying in the bath was the only time I felt no nausea. Something about the water, I think. I don’t know. I remember a nurse lecturing me on hot baths because of the low bp thing during pregnancy, and I reminded her that dehydration also causes low bp… I’m not suggesting putting your child in danger, but seriously, if it’s the ONLY time you don’t feel nauseous, live in that.

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    1. I have eaten so many baked potatoes this pregnancy! Baked potato with butter, salt, and sour cream. For some reason when the HG was peaking that week I was in and out of the hospital, one day I could eat sour cream. The nurse in the hospital ended up going down to the cafeteria and just getting me a pile of sour cream cups. I ate them with a spoon and they did not come back up.

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  3. He sis, I do not even know how this works, if you can read this. I try to read all the things you write, some are too hard to understand… But I googled HG and try to understand>You are still my little sister from the US…

    Too bad, really too bad I could not visit… But with 2 kids it was crazy…
    Havng 2 is great really great. I really hope you have a great time with your daughter. An s how great is your mom to get in a plain and help you guys>>
    hang in there, keep me posted
    love, your big brother

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  4. I know some women with HG can’t drink very much, but I found that if I sipped (I mean….TEENY TINY sips) on a glass of room temperature water mixed with a little lemon juice…CONSTANTLY (as in, the glass was nearly never out of my mouth) I could handle the too much saliva thing. It really did help!

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  5. First…Thank you so much for this website/blog. I am a first time HGer and although I am doing better (slightly) than I was a few weeks ago, I am still in the scared, freaked out, and defeated stages of this disease — I am beginning to think that stage doesn’t pass either, lol. This website (and others that I have found along the way) have really helped to validate all of this mental and physical anguish…so THANK YOU from every part of me!

    I really appreciate today’s post. I am really struggling with to dental and body hygiene. It’s been ages since I’ve tended to my teeth as well, and your tips are so helpful. I am going to try them out. I too can’t stand the smell eminating from my mouth and it’s probably contributing to making me sick.
    I am pretty much able to shower about 1 per/week — the standing for too long and the smells are so difficult for me.

    The smells are the worst for me. As far as I am concerned, everything smells. I can even smell things outside of my house (windows closed).
    For the past few weeks, I have resorted to stuffing cotton balls in my nose. I know it sounds strange, but it seems to work.

    Thank you again for everything!!!

    Tara

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  6. Question about dental issues and HG:
    Has anyone here had serious dental problems caused by HG?
    I have now suffered through three HG pregnancies (37 weeks, 42 weeks, 41 weeks). I couldn’t ever brush my teeth, but rinsed with mouthwash each time I vomited. But it was never enough. My mouth is now in horrible shape. In the near future I’m going to get 3 fillings, 2 “overlays” and 2 crowns. I also have to see a periodontist for a procedure to see if they can re-grow bone in my jaw because I’ve actually lost a LOT (lot, lot, lot) of bone there. All of my care providers agree (especially since I’m still so young-not even 30 yet!) that my problems are from the HG.

    Does anyone know anything else I could do to help prevent this in the future?

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  7. I’m not a doctor, so take this with a huge grain of salt, but I think part of the dental issues are from the acid in vomit eating away at the enamel. Using baking soda for dental hygiene is smart not only because it helps clean your teeth without serving as a trigger, but also because it would help neutralize some of that acid – including bits left behind that you’re not aware are there. The sooner you could get it in your mouth after getting sick, the better. A baking-soda and water mix might be better than mouthwash.

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  8. I have permanent retainers in my mouth and always wondered if that hurt or helped the teeth issue. Its kind of like a block but also holds stuff there. But I was very lucky in that I didn’t really suffer too many tooth issues as far as I know. Which reminds me to make my dentist appoitnment

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  9. Re dental hygiene: I had a lot of dental problems after my pregnancy, probably from all the vomiting and the not being able to brush my teeth for a long time.
    My tip: rinse with water after vomiting but no brushing for at least half an hour to an hour. The acid in the vomid makes your enamel softer and when you brush it right away, even with just a toothbrush, you damage it and have a bigger risk of tooth problems.

    Thnx for the baking soda tip! I will put it on my website for dutch HG sufferers.

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  10. Hi! I’m a doula who was pointed to your site by Write About Birth. I never knew about HG before today, but I’m learning- fast.

    One tip I have for gag reflexes, direct from my dentist hygienist stepmom, is Chloroseptic numbing spray for sore throats. She swears by it for folks with really sensitive gag reflexes. It also would likely help a lot with the soreness after extensive vomiting- it’s disgusting stuff but really effective.

    Thank you so much for writing this blog! I hope I can pass on the awesome stuff I learn here to my clients and to other doulas.

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    1. Hi Susannah! I’m so glad you found me here! I am excited to know that I’m reaching people who wouldn’t have otherwise heard of HG. I do hope you’ll keep reading, and please do chime in on my birth-related posts. I love bringing new and interesting perspective to things!

      I definitely appreciate the tip about the chloroseptic throat spray to deal with the gag-reflex. Unfortunately, the gagging with HGers is often triggered by smells and tastes, and as I recall the spray is pretty strong on both of those fronts. My other concern would be that the numbing effect might interfere with the throat’s ability to function during a vomiting episode, much like orajel can interfere with a nursing baby’s ability to latch and breastfeed correctly. Often, for HGers, the vomiting is so violent that there is a real issue of aspirating or choking and we need to clear our mouths and throats quickly for a quick breath in between vomits. It’s pretty surprising how intense the vomiting can be for HGers. It’s like it comes all the way up from your feet. Lots of women have such an intensity that they lose control of other bodily functions (bladder/bowel) when the vomiting strikes. I would just worry that the numb tissue might contribute to choking, or even that the sensation of being numb might trigger the gag.

      Again, welcome! Thanks so much for reading! I’m pleased you found me here!

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