I didn’t tell my team about my pregnancy until I was almost done my fourth month. I had a plethora of reasons to keep it to myself, but that meant I needed to try avoid gagging during lunch meetings and try looking professional even after throwing up. I told my team I was dealing with food poisoning to explain the ginger ale and crackers at my desk, and actually took time off work when I knew we had dinner events planned with other groups. Thanks to the smell of everyone’s morning coffee, I’d be throwing up in my mouth during our weekly briefings, and running to the washroom right after. Working like this while keeping my pregnancy to myself was one of the most challenging experiences I’ve ever had.
Apart from the Diclectin I mentioned earlier, there were a few other things that helped make my experience a little more manageable:
Foods with high carb/starch content are supposed to help absorb some of that pesky stomach acid, which is why it’s usually recommended to have a few saltine crackers as a midnight snack or as soon as you wake up. This helped me, although I needed more than just a few to stop feeling nauseous – maybe a dozen!
No joke, if I was salivating more than usual, it was usually a sign I would have to throw up soon. And if I was dehydrated enough to keep swallowing saliva, eventually that’s what would come out. It’s disgusting, but sometimes it helped to spit it out and sip on some water or try to nibble on something with high water content instead.
Avoid Greasy food
It makes your stomach produce that much more acid, and honestly just makes the heartburn worse.
Avoid Chugging Liquids
Do. Not. Chug.
As thirsty as I was, chugging would ensure my stomach would feel the sloshing with every following movement. I’d sip – slowly – and only once a good amount of time had passed since I had put solids in my belly. I preferred to eat hydrating fruits and vegetables. Watermelon, cucumbers, and the like curbed both my thirst and my hunger.
Wear Loose Clothes
Anything tight around your stomach or abdomen will probably just increase pressure and provoke your nausea, and the heartburn will only feel worse if you’re constricted around your chest.
Also, I have always kept a spare set of clothes at work just in case too. You don’t want to be stuck if you end up ruining what you came in wearing. This applied even before I got pregnant – I had more than enough coffee spills in the morning to have learned my lesson early on.
Eat Small Meals
Your stomach is constricted as it is due to your body growing and adjusting around the baby, which makes eating big meals harder and only makes the nausea and heartburn worse. Smaller meals have a higher chance of staying in your belly with less discomfort.
Fruits and Vegetables
I never really liked eating healthy food before my pregnancy, but when you’re avoiding foods that smell, it turns out that fruits and vegetables are a safe, hydrating alternative. They smell much more refreshing too – peeling oranges helped curb my nausea a little bit, and as the weeks have gone by I’ve found that cucumbers, watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe have all become staples at home. I’ve had days when I’ve consumed a whole watermelon between breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you’re feeling adventurous enough, you should try it with some salt and/or pepper sprinkled on top. Since one of my pregnancy aversion is sweets, this makes fruits taste much more appetizing to me.
By this, I mean cold foods and I mean cold environments.
While my doctor recommended sipping peppermint tea or broths to deal with the nausea, any kind of soups or teas (and even my favourite coffee) were completely out of the question for me. I avoided hot foods like the plague – they did nothing but stink and push on my gag reflex. Cold foods on the other hand, were much more easy to bare. Salads and sandwiches seemed to sit much longer in my belly, and the more ice or slush I consumed, the better I felt.
Warmth seemed to bother me more too. Sitting by the fireplace agitated my stomach way more than when I was cold. I don’t know if there’s science behind it or not, but it made a real difference for me.
We all know how important Folic Acid is for the baby, but during my first trimester I could not for the life of me swallow PregVit without throwing it up within the next 30 seconds. Any pharmacist I’ve asked has told me that PregVit is the best option out there, but I stuck to gummies so at least there was something going in.
I bought First Response, which meets your daily Folic Acid needs with 2 pills. They were easy to swallow, and not once did I throw them up. They’ve got a tangy flavour, are sprinkled with sugar, and taste like a treat. If you’re having sugar cravings this will probably be an excellent option for you. Since my pregnancy aversion is sweets though, I always made sure to follow up with something salty to clear out my palette.
However I noticed recently that they have Gelatin in them, so I’m on hold until these gelatin-free bad boys arrive.
I always, always, always had a hair tie around my wrist. You never know when you’ll have to run to the washroom, and it would really suck to have to wash your hair out after you puke, especially when you’re at work.
Tooth Brush, Tooth Paste, and/or Mouth Wash
I kept a set of these in each of my washrooms at home, and a travel sized set in my bag for during work as well. You don’t want to smell like death, even if you feel like it.
My jahez included everything that I thought feels good on the lips from Anastasia Beverly Hills to Kat Von D and Huda Beauty. However after my umpteenth time reapplying lipstick, I got sick of wasting the product and the effort and decided to stick to ColourPop’s ultra matte liquid lipsticks. Pictured below (excuse the messy hair) is Avenue from their ‘The Good Times’ travel sized kit that I bought around Christmas 2016.
They’re not moisturizing at all, which is probably why they’re so cheap, but on the plus side that means they’re extremely stubborn and never come off (which makes for a happy hubby because there’s 0 transfer, tried and tested). This is my survival mode liquid lipstick. Around hallmark holidays, I’ve noticed that they always come out with some very cheap holiday themed travel sized sets, which I think are a steal. I think my referral link might still work – it gets new customers $5 off.
Speaking of travel sizes, it’s nice to carry a small perfume with you too. I like to spray a little bit on my scarf so I can smell it on the ride to work instead of the melting pot of scents on the Go Train that range from coffee to sweat to smoke.
On the worst days, I was glad I had a bunch of these in my bag for easy access.
It’s not until I got pregnant that it fully sunk in how strong the smell of desi food is. Living with a guy didn’t help too much either, because hubz was not at all concerned about fruits, vegetables, and all our other leftovers staying in the fridge too long, and boy that smell is rancid.
I would regularly throw up at least 2 times a day – once when leaving home for work, and once when coming back, because our entrance to the garage is through the kitchen. It was so predictable that I always made sure my hair was tied before I walked through the kitchen, and timed my medication to be consumed only after throwing up.
It’s not until hubby cleared out the fridge one fateful day that it finally became bearable to walk through the premises.
As you can probably guess, I did absolutely no cooking for a few months.
I know most people probably won’t have the flexibility to do this, but I booked work from home days or vacation time specifically around company lunch or dinner events so I wouldn’t be throwing up around the team. Now that I’m feeling better and they know about my pregnancy, I’m not concerned and I attend the events. But I can’t even imagine what it would’ve been like if I’d gone during my first trimester just to smell my colleagues’ steak meals and their drinks.
I also made any and every excuse I could to get out of dawats so I wouldn’t smell people’s handis and throw up on their carpets. For the ones I couldn’t get out of, I’d go late and leave early, and probably earned myself a terrible reputation in the process, but I’m glad I made it easier on myself.
Lying down right after eating makes the heartburn worse and I feel it makes for a much easier pathway out for the food. Sitting upright for an hour or two after a meal seems to always help me improve my chances of keeping it down.
Sometimes it helps to get out of the house or the office and breathe in some fresh air.
When all else fails, the only thing that helped was getting some beauty sleep.
Friends, family, as well as my doctor recommended a bunch of other ideas that help most people manage their symptoms, but the ones I mention below are the ones that didn’t work out for me.
Every doctor I’ve spoken to so far told me to take TUMs for the heartburn. Honestly it made things better for me for 15 minutes, and after that I was guaranteed to be bent over the toilet.
The refreshing smell of mint is supposed to help with overcoming the nausea, but chewing gum was a hit or a miss for me. Most of the time it made me salivate more, and as I mentioned earlier, that was usually a sign that a big wave was coming.
Since Diclectin is a mix of Vitamin B6 and antihistamine, a lot of people recommended that I try the B6 on its own. The daily max for a pregnant woman is 100mg, and since I didn’t want it coinciding with my prenatals I didn’t take more than one of these a day. This worked wonders for my cousin but it didn’t make a difference for me.
They say that ginger helps out with curbing nausea, so ginger ale is high on the list of things to try when you’re dealing with morning sickness. Personally it did nothing for me, except making me burp.
Despite the severe morning sickness during my first trimester, my weight fluctuated considerably, and I’d look chubby on some days and frail on others – which I blame on the water retention and bloating. After my fourth month, my morning sickness became a lot more manageable, which is when I really started gaining weight. I know every pregnancy is unique, and with some people being blessed with no symptoms to others being slammed in the face with everything in the books, it would be nice to know how different people coped. Feel free to discuss your experience if you miraculously made it to the end of this post!