Hide the nausea

Until your twelve week scan you really don’t want to tell anyone that you are pregnant, just in case. Which for many women means spending time feeling, and being, sick and having to hide that fact from others.

Morning sickness is another pregnancy myth. If only it was just the morning, ah, how much easier it would be. I suppose ‘all-day sickness’, or ‘constant energy sapping sickness’ weren’t quite as catchy. This is one of those open secrets that you apparently only learn about once you are pregnant. Contrary to how it can feel, this is not a sinister plot to hide the reality of pregnancy from women until they get there (well, apart from movie and TV depictions, but more on that another time). Rather, I think when not pregnant you have a special selective hearing when pregnancy is discussed. This must be a biological safety mechanism – well that’s my theory anyway.

The toilet is your friend

The toilet is your friend

So yes, nausea. I have tales from other ladies of “hobo sickness”. Running out of a public library because the toilets were occupied to be sick in the bin outside the front of the building. Only after retching into the bin, wiping sick from hair and face, was the disgusted homeless person hitherto enjoying a drink on the park bench, spotted. As she said “ah the indignity of it all. And I had to walk around for the rest of the day quite positive that I smelt of vomit.”

I’m not sure if I was lucky or unlucky that my nausea manifested itself as a constant sense of impending need to be sick, yet never was I sick. I realised quite early on that eating potato helped. I ate a lot of potato. I like potato, but even by my potato liking standards this was excessive. If I ate potato, at least once every four hours or so, the nausea was beaten back. The potato legacy lives on – as my present figure can attest. Still, at least I got control of the nausea.

The other myth here of course is that nausea is for the first trimester only. For most women yes, but not all. Some very unlucky ladies find themselves suffering this way for the entirety of their pregnancy. If this suffering is acute enough they may be offered drugs to help ease the sickness. This was not offered freely and quickly to the women that I know. So if this is you, demand it.

Want to know why you feel sick? Well no-one really knows. Theory is that it is thanks to pesky old hormones – human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) and oestrogen – with the thyroid hormone thyroxine possibly also playing a part. Feel better knowing that? No. Well hopefully you won’t be unlucky and the nausea will fade. Until then, you have my every sympathy.


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