I have been starting to gather my thoughts on answering the big question - "Did the Very-Low-Carb diet work to prevent hyperemesis gravidarum?", and I realized that I needed to report in to the doctor who gave me the information in the first place!
With that in mind, I have written the letter below, detailing (in brief) my pregnancy experience on the VLC diet. I am posting it here in hopes that my fellow-HGers will read it and let me know if there is anything I ought to add or change. I don't want to waste the doctor's time, and I have no guarantees that he will be able (or willing) to provide any more information or opinion, so I want to write the best and briefest letter I can.
Thanks, all! I'll send this in soon, and then I'll post when I hear back.
Dear Dr. Fox,
Last year I communicated with you regarding using your VLC diet for the prevention of hyperemesis gravidarum, and you were so kind as to send me your diet sheets. I wanted to write to you to let you know how it turned out!
Unfortunately, my results are mixed – mostly due to my own error, as you will see. This was an extremely confusing pregnancy, with a lot of unknowns! If you are able to shine any light on the mysteries of this pregnancy, I would love any input.
I kept quite detailed notes throughout this pregnancy, and I will condense them into the main points:
- I began the diet in April 2011.
- I found out that I was pregnant on Day 40 of being on the diet (during which time I lost 20 pounds). I did Stage 2 the entire time.
Here is how the pregnancy progressed (and you’ll see why it turned so confusing):
- 3w6d – I started to feel nauseated during the evening.
- 4w0d – I continued to feel more and more nauseated, and started Unisom/B6 and Zofran. That night I woke up at midnight dry heaving. I also got a weak positive pregnancy test.
- 4w1d – I woke up nauseated and was getting very, very sick – losing the ability to swallow. However, during the late morning I mysteriously started to feel better. Over the next hours and days, I continued to feel better and better.
- 4w2d – Felt better and better. That evening, I started to experience menstrual-type cramping and blood-tinged cervical fluid, so with that and the weak test and resolving symptoms, I concluded that a miscarriage was on the way.
- 4w3d – Felt well enough to discontinue medications. By the next day I was feeling mostly fine, with just occasional twinges of nausea.
- 5w2d – Still felt fine. And this is where I have to confess – I started cheating on the diet, figuring that I was just waiting for a miscarriage to complete. (I’m sorry!)
- 5w5d – In the evening, I very suddenly started to feel awful again. I immediately repented and reformed (i.e. went back on the diet), as well as starting Unisom and Zofran again, and started slowly to feel better over the next week. However, the pregnancy nausea did give me a bad four months.
- I stayed strictly on the diet through about week 11, and then gradually tapered off. I kept a strict eye on how carbohydrates made me feel, and I noticed that they always made me feel worse – that is, better for a short time and then worse. You are absolutely right about the low-carb diet being helpful for pregnancy nausea.
Here’s the summary: This was the easiest pregnancy that I have ever experienced. My first pregnancy was uncontrolled hyperemesis. My second was controlled with drugs, and was much better. This, my third, was controlled with drugs and the VLC diet, and was much better even than the last. The nausea did put me out of commission for 3-4 months, but nothing like either of the previous times. Had I stayed faithfully on the diet, who knows what could have happened for the better? The main unsolved mysteries are what happened during the beginning weeks, and would I have had an even better experience had I stayed on the diet? Could I have avoided having to use medication?
I would love to hear any thoughts that you have on my experience.
I send you many, many, MANY thanks for your communications last year, and for all of the help. I have shared this experience with many HG mothers, and I hope that the information can get out there to help other women.