Believe it or not, I spent a long time thinking about how to title this entry. You wouldn't know it to look at the end result, but I did.
The original title was "How to Prevent Hyperemesis." But, since I really don't know the answer to that conundrum, I didn't want to give anyone that burst of false hope, thinking that I have some wonderful news (which I don't!).
Then I thought that I would call it "Don't Get Excited." But what do we do when someone says "Don't get excited, but...." We get excited, of course! So that title was tossed out.
I finally settled on the most commonplace, boring title that I could come up with, and here it is: "A Really Boring Entry."
Because while the original title "Preventing Hyperemesis" is sensational, the entry itself has nothing much to say.
I have no answers.
But I do have... snippets. Leads. Lines of potential research for HG mamas to look into. And if you find something, for goodness' sake - let me know! I am just going to provide the links and the random ideas. I have no idea if any of them can lead to something concrete, or if they are all rabbit trails.
And, of course, I am talking prevention here. Not mitigation. If you look up "how to prevent morning sickness," almost 100% of the articles that will come up focus on "how to calm down the morning sickness you already have" - and I have blogged tens of articles on this site about everything from breastfeeding to herbs to chiropractic care - things that have helped mamas deal with morning sickness/NVP/HG when it presents. This is about prevention.
And all of these assume that you will be doing something pre-conception, meaning planning ahead.
A couple of years ago, when we were thinking of starting to TTC (try to conceive), I went to a naturopathic doctor to see if she had any recommendations for preventing HG. She recommended a pre-conception detox regimen, which I did (however, we didn't conceive till over a year later, so it wouldn't have done any good).
There are hundreds of detox regimens out there, but they all follow the same basics - a very clean diet, usually with the elimination of sugar and/or grains and/or meat, along with various herbs and supplements for boosting your body's vitamin/mineral levels and overall health.
And I find it fascinating that two of the three "detoxifying herbs" listed in the Jan/Feb 2011 Sprouts Magazine - milk thistle and dandelion - are herbs also listed for treatment and/or prevention of morning sickness. Coincidence?
The magazine (p.8) notes that these herbs specifically support liver function. Pregnancy is said to put a stress on the liver because of all the additional metabolic by-products that are pumped into the mother's system. Perhaps the two go together? Healthy liver, easier time dealing with morning sickness?
This is one of those things that really can't hurt to try. Even if it doesn't do a thing for HG-prevention, it certainly can't hurt to start pregnancy healthier and with a cleaner, more energetic system.
(2) Diet from a Florida Doctor
A couple of months ago, this story broke on my blog... it was big news, at least for me! Bottom line: There is a fertility doctor, currently practicing in Florida, who developed a very-low-carb (VLC) diet that he uses to improve transfer-success rate for his IVF clients. He noticed that the diet had other unintended benefits - women reported that they had many health problems resolve, such as headaches.... and morning sickness. Even severe morning sickness. He told me, via email, that one woman who had aborted seven times for HG was able to successfully carry to term after using this diet.
Head on over to the above link to read both my article and the original article (hosted on another doctor's blog) to get the full scoop.
Only caveat is that the diet is extremely difficult. So far, it's been beyond me. But you are welcome to try it, and if you want the diet sheets, leave me your email and I'll email them over. Please note that you need at least a few months pre-conception to get settled into the diet and let your body stabilize.
And remember, there are no promises. Just because this has helped other women doesn't mean that it's entirely guaranteed to help you. Please don't neglect to make plans or prepare like you would normally.
(3) Alkalinizing Diet
Busca over at Birth Faith wrote a fascinating article on preventing morning sickness, which you can see here.
(This also links into the detox theory.) It is absolutely fascinating stuff, and I am trying to learn more. I have recently gotten through reading the two books she recommended, "The pH Miracle" and "Green for Life", and am learning a lot about alkalinization and the alkaline diet. Much more to learn, but there is a lot of potential. Check out her article, as well as the comments below it.
I find it interesting that one of the most commonly prescribed morning sickness remedies, lemon water, is also something highly prized in the "alkalinizing community" - it is a highly alkalinizing drink. (Am I the only one around here having trouble typing out the word "alkalinizing?) A possible coincidence, maybe not.
(4) Get Your Body Ready
This means make sure nothing's wrong, your vitamin levels are up, etc. Parts of this could include:
a - Blood Work: Quoting from "Island of Grief, Mountain of of Joy": "Get Full blood work done (addisons disease, H.pylori, thyroid, iron count, vitamin deficiency –especially B)"
b - Take vitamins/minerals/supplements: Omegas/Fish Oil, Vitamin D, Vitamin B, whatever!!! Here is a fascinating article about the efficacy of magnesium and B-vitamin injections for treating HG.
c - Take herbs, such as milk thistle
d - Cleanse/Detox per above
e - Clean up your diet. Unfortunately, "a healthy diet" means so many different things to so many different people. For me, it would look like all-organic, non-GMO diet that tried my best to avoid a number of unhealthy items such as sugar. Right now my diet, though relatively healthy and whole/clean-food, doesn't look like that... because I have huge sugar addictions! And I love to bake! And I love carbs! As a matter of fact, I'm thinking of giving up sugary foods for Lent to try to get a handle on that very thing. More later.
f - You can take a look at my protocol, which included a lot of pre-conception to-do items. And while it wasn't horribly successful, please remember that our baby was a "surprise!!!!" baby, so I did not have time to do most of the pre-conception items.
A few years back, I read Shonda Parker's excellent book "The Naturally Healthy Pregnancy." She is a wonderful woman and an amazing midwife, herbalist, author and health professional. She is also both a hyperemesis mother and what may be termed a Quiverfull mother, meaning that her family does not practice any form of birth control - with the end result that she has a large number of beautiful children!
Mrs. Parker experienced HG with her first baby, when she was not an experienced herbalist or health professional of any sort, and she wrote in her book (I think! Don't quote me, this was a couple of years ago) that she learned how to better support her body with diet and herbs and did not experience HG again until something like her seventh baby, and that was the symptom that tipped her off to the fact that her gallbladder was diseased and non-functioning (and her body thus couldn't handle the pregnancy by-products as well). Grab her book to read up on it (unfortunately, she does not give a lot of details).
To be honest, I don't have a lot of faith in any of these.... "Island of Grief, Mountain of Joy" wrote that she feels like her body has an allergy to pregnancy hormones, and I feel the same way. And the thought of getting pregnant again really scares me (more on this later) because it was so much quicker and harder the second time around - like my body is getting progressively more reactive to pregnancy hormones. With #1 I didn't get nauseated till sometime in late week 4 or week 5... with #2 it was somewhere around 3 1/2 weeks. I don't even want to know where it would go next time... unless one of the above worked for me, after which I would happily have twenty more.
But it's late enough, so I will quit for now!
Does anyone else have any other ideas, comments, leads, questions, things to throw? Please do let me know.
In the meantime, Happy Sabbath to you all! Prayers to those of you dealing with HG right now, and good wishes to all of you who are TTC or planning to TTC. May we be blessed with answers! And in the meantime, let the research begin!