Friday, October 26, 2012

Diet & Postpartum Nausea: Your Local Information Bulletin

One surprising thing that I have learned in my studies of pregnancy and birth is that there are some areas of medicine that are unknown to modern doctors. With regard to nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, one area of which modern doctors do not seem to be aware is the phenomenon of postpartum nausea. I am not referring to the extremely rare phenomenon of HG that continues past the birth (though that seems to be similarly unknown), but rather to the phenomenon of residual nausea - minor nausea that persists for sometime (weeks, months, years) past the birth of the child.

The common perception seems to be that NVP vanishes completely at birth, but that was not my experience. With my first full-term pregnancy (also my one experience with true HG), I experienced bouts of nausea that lasted for various amounts of time (usually a couple of minutes or hours), and this continued - in diminishing amounts - for the first two years postpartum. At one point the nausea was strong enough to make me dry-heave, but the rest of the time the bouts were merely unpleasant. Because I was new to the experience, though, I was in a continual state of panic during that time, thinking that I was pregnant and that this was the start of HG.

With my subsequent two (non-HG) pregnancies, I also experienced postpartum nausea episodes. This past time, they were quite unpleasant, and quite frequent (multiple times per day).

Since writing about residual postpartum nausea, I have heard from numerous women telling me that I am not alone - that they too have experienced this phenomenon (whew, I'm not crazy!). However, when I have mentioned this subject to several different doctors, the only response has been a "You're crazy, lady" look and a quick change of subject. No doctor to whom I have spoken seems to have heard of residual nausea. 

This leads to two points:

- Whatever NVP/HG does to our bodies, the effects do not disappear instantaneously, especially in some women.

- This leads me to wonder what would happen to a woman should she start another pregnancy before the residual nausea was gone from the last pregnancy. Actually, I'm not sure I want to know, because it scares me too much.

HOWEVER, there is good news!

Being that my cycle has (supposedly) returned, I am now back on the VLC diet - I am now on day 68, with no cheating!! (Except for one day when I took a big drink of my son's lemonade, thinking that it was my water. And then did it again two hours later. Nice!) And....

My postpartum nausea has evaporated, pretty much completely! Hurray!!!

Score one for the VLC diet! For whatever the cause, it really works with nausea. I am thrilled about this, because the residual nausea was very unpleasant, and it's nice to be finally rid of it.

Thoughts, everyone?

And now... Have a great day, everyone! I'm off to go shopping, make cauliflower pizza, and organize family movie night. If all that gets done, it'll be a miracle.

Happy weekend!


  1. Hi Diana -

    I was so happy to come across this blog. I am 6 months postpartum and started experiencing the same thing about 4 months pp. It is crippling some days (I was also very ill during my pregnancy). I have been to countless drs and it wasn't until I went to a general surgeon that he mentioned this phenomenon of postpartum/residual nausea. It is a daily struggle for me and has interfered so much with my life. I'm a college professor and it is nearly impossible to make it through my classes some days...I've stopped planning social events with my friends...or volunteering for anything extra because I never know when it's going to hit me. It's depressing and I've felt so alone for so long, but I'm glad to know others are in the same boat. Thanks for sharing your story. :)

    1. Erin, thank you for visiting! I'm always excited to connect with other severe-NVP mamas. Congratulations on your baby's arrival! I am so sorry to hear that you are struggling with postpartum nausea. It can be a real bear.

      Firstly, the woman who really knows about this is Anna - she is the mum who experienced HG that continues past birth. I don't know if she's still active on the blog she started, but she might have some good information for you:

      Secondly, here is an updated post that I wrote last year, mainly concerning postpartum nausea and the things I found that helped me - primarily, a high-fat low-carb diet, and lacto-fermented foods:

      I hope and pray that you feel better soon.

      Thanks again for stopping by!

    2. Hi Diana -

      Thank you so much! I did come across Anna's blog while researching my condition and sent her an email. I appreciate you sharing your story and resources.

      I hope you and your family are well!

      Thanks again!

    3. Thanks, Erin! I hope to hear that you're feeling better soon! Please do stop by and let me know how it goes for you, and what you find that helps. Thanks for your kind words!


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