I've been meaning to post this for months! So here goes:
But first, a quick personal comment based on Anna's wise counsel in her last comment: The reason I was considering doing the doula training despite not being up to it is that this training is, remarkably, free - and the cost is generally $150-300 - so a chance to do it for free is quite a chance! But I have decided to be sensible and not do it. For one thing, I'm not dying to be a doula - I was just going to do it for fun and information. For another thing, Anna, you're quite right - I've noticed that a day of overexertion generally results in a few miserable days of going backwards, NVP-wise. For example, I spent most of the day after our move (when I really overdid it) throwing up. So farewell, doula training! Hopefully some other time.
Bendectin is an anti-nausea drug that was on the market in the U.S. from nineteen fifty-something until 1983, when it was voluntarily removed from the market by its manufacturers. The reason? Allegations that it was causing birth defects. That sounds quite alarming, but the evidence of history has not shown any correllation between its use and an increase in birth defects, and most OB's approve of its use. If you look at the graphs over time, you will see that upon Bendectin's removal from the market, the rate of birth defects remained steady while the rate of hospitalizations for NVP doubled. It has been thought that Bendectin was used by lawyers eager for financial gain as a reason to start suing, and so it was removed from the market.
So, is it safe? I don't know. I'm inclined to think so (after all, I'm using it!), but I have been a student of the medical/scientific world long enough to know that scientists can (and do) manipulate results to produce desired conclusions (i.e. "let's do a study to show that this drug is safe" instead of "let's do a study to see if this drug is safe"). So I'll leave the possibility up in the air, while the majority of my belief is that it is safe.
THEREFORE, YOU NEED TO DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH AND MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION. Some people believe this medicine is safe; some believe it is hazardous to your child's health. If you decide to use this drug, make sure that you have done your research and come to your own conclusions. If you are unsure, err on the side of safety.
Bendectin is still on the market in Canada under the name Diclectin (and also, I believe, in the UK under yet another name), and there is at least one pharmacy that will mail-order to the US with a prescription. However, it's not really worth the cost and bother, since one can make it at home so easily. The only benefits of the real stuff are (1) convenience, and (2) time-release formula, which can't be duplicated at home.
And so, the recipe:
One Bendectin is:
10 mg Vitamin B6
10 mg Doxylamine Succinate, or Unisom - this is roughly half of one 25 mg tablet
* I always take the B6 in complex form (as B complex) rather than just B6. I also take more than 10 mg.
* There are two types of Unisom, so make sure you get the doxylamine succinate, and not the phenylhydrine gel caps
* Yes, Unisom is a sleeping aid, so you'll probably notice some drowsiness. It wears off in about 2 weeks, and I don't feel anything of it now (except for the normal exhaustion of pregnancy)
According to Motherisk (you can call them up and talk to them), here's how to start:
1 dose in the morning
1 dose midday
2 doses at bed time
That is for a total of 2 unisom, or 4 doses (each Unisom tab is 2 doses). You can move up to 6 doses (3 Unisom) if needed, and up to 8 under the guidance of a caregiver (and some people have gone higher).
Here are max dosages:
Vitamin B6 - 200 mg/day (don't forget to add your multi/prenatal in the sum)
Unisom - 75 mg/day (3 tabs, or 6 doses) - this can be variable
Here's what I'm doing right now:
1/2 tab Unisom, 50 mg B-complex, 8 mg Zofran morning
1/2 tab Unisom, 8 mg Zofran midday
1/2 tab Unisom, early evening
1 tab Unisom, 50 mg B-complex, 8 mg Zofran evening
That brings me up to 5 doses Unisom per day (2 1/2 tabs), and I'm hoping to be able to drop one soon.
Note: When you're ready to drop doses, do it GRADUALLY or you can quickly regress. Make sure you can handle dropping one dose before dropping another.
Bendectin is safe to take together with Zofran. That's what most people, myself included, do.
One OB I saw claimed that the max safe dose of Unisom is one tab (two doses) a day. That scared me, but after reviewing my notes from Motherisk and going onto helpher.org, I consistently found that 3 tabs/day is considered completely safe.
Does it work? Yes. It did fine for me on its own for about a week and a half (4 weeks-5 weeks). After that it just wasn't good enough on its own and I had to break out the Zofran. Supposedly, Bendectin suppresses nausea and Zofran the vomitting. Well, I can tell you that there's some cross-over there, but they're a good combination. They've made my life livable, at least!
So.... Make your own decision!