Thursday, July 6, 2017

Hyperemesis Prevention Plan: Annual Updated Version! (2017)

(Latest Update: September 2017)

Introductory Comments

It's time for my annual HG-prevention update! The last time I updated was February 2016, just four months before our newest little one (now five months old) joined our family. If we are blessed with another baby it will most likely be sometime in late 2018 or early 2019, so I am now in full-time preparation mode for that possibility.

This year I am starting with a clean slate. Instead of updating my existing protocol, I am erasing everything and starting from scratch. It's time for a change, time to clear my head and re-prioritize, rather than going from the past.

I also have a bad habit of cluttering up my protocols with items that I never get around to, and I want to avoid that. I want to write down what I actually will do, and stick with that, rather than guilting myself over the things that I ought to do but don't. (Exercise comes to mind.)

A couple of notes:

(1) My three focus points are:

  • (a) diet

  • (b) probiotics and probiotic foods 

  • (c) supplements

(2) This year I am intentionally de-emphasizing superfoods - it just didn't yield any real positive results.

(3) I am simplifying and clearing out. Last year's plan just had too. much. stuff.

(3) I am fine-tuning my supplement schedule.

(4) I removed my overly bulky sourcing section and have just provided links within the text.

(5) GIVING CREDIT - I owe a huge debt of gratitude to lots of you HG mamas out there for your wonderful ideas that I have incorporated here! Here are just a couple of thank-yous:

  • Amy from Five Kinds of Happy. Her HG protocol was so stinking good that I literally copied and pasted it into this document. (That's why mine looks like hers. Perhaps an obvious statement.) Thank you, Amy, for all of your hard work! Unfortunately most of the supplements available to her in New Zealand were not, strangely, available from Amazon or Vitacost, so I had to find my own brands. (Bummer.) I am no good at this, so please don't take my brand suggestions seriously. Find your own, because mine are a shot in the dark.

  • Zsuzsanna from Are They All Yours?!?! - Her probiotic method (part 1 and part 2) is one of my foundations. (See also part 3 and part 4! So exciting!)

  • And lots more of you wonderful ladies out there with whom I have had the honor to correspond, and whose blogs have blessed me! Check out links on my left sidebar!
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You ladies are all wonderful. THANK YOU for all you are doing.

Thoughts on the Very Low Carb (VLC) Diet

I have come to the following conclusions regarding very-low-carb diets:

(1) The VLC diet, done pre-conception and during early pregnancy, worked well for me in preventing hyperemesis gravidarum. From uncontrollable vomiting down to "feeling crummy around the clock but never throwing up" - big improvement. I have also, through experimentation, found that I am extremely carb-intolerant during the first half of pregnancy. Even gentle amounts of carbs like cottage cheese with a few blueberries can send me down the NVP spiral in a bad way.

(2) However: While most Americans do need to tone down the carbs, due to years of low-fat indoctrination (i.e. "Let's eat all these corn-syrup-filled cookies that are SO healthy because they're LOW-FAT!!") and subsequent high-sugar diets (and subsequent chronic health problems), I do not believe that carbohydrates in themselves are unhealthy. Nor do I believe that a VLC diet is healthy in the long-term. (It is also extremely difficult to pull off, quite unpleasant, and completely unsustainable on a long-term basis, unless you have the willpower of Attila the Hun.)

(3) Thus, if I am successful in using this diet for HG prevention, I will use it only for that purpose, and I will return to eating reasonable carb levels during the latter part of pregnancy and the postpartum (i.e. before I start preparing for a next pregnancy).

(4) To make the VLC diet a wee bit more livable, I have decided to allow small amounts of the following (all are forbidden foods): berries, raw carrots, cooked carrots or peas in a casserole, beans (tiny amounts in a soup or casserole) and cottage cheese in a smoothie.

Feel free to shoot me questions about this.


Please remember that although I do my best, even I cannot keep up with my best intentions. I do not do everything on this plan perfectly (or at all). I'd say a really-really good day is achieving 25-50% of the below. It's just too much to keep up with on a daily basis with perfect consistency. I simply do my best.

My two main conclusions from past years remain unchanged:

(1) Diet and supplements can have a hugely positive effect on morning sickness and other pregnancy issues, and...

(2) It is extremely important for women to pay careful attention to their health during their childbearing years. (It's always important, of course, but during the childbearing years the negative consequences of neglecting one's health can be particularly dire.)

I'd love to hear any input - and also to see your supplement and diet plans, so do let me know what you're doing!


Before Conception
Starting by the time our last baby is 9 months old

I utilize what would probably be called a modified lacto-Paleo approach. Usually Trim Healthy Mama, and sometimes VLC (very low carb, also known as LCHF, or low-carb high-fat).
  • No processed (junk) food.

  • No sugar.

  • No modern wheat.

  • Minimal refined grains (occasional white rice or white einkorn), but mainly grain-free.

  • Very Low Carb (VLC) if I can manage it after baby's six-month birthday.

  • Focus foods: bone broth, cruciferous vegetables, vegetables in general, coconut oil, greens.

  • One bite (or drink) of lactofermented food/drink before each meal: raw sauerkraut, raw pickles, kefir, kombucha, yogurt

  • Plenty of pink or grey salt, no white salt


1. Basics
  • Multi - Starting out by covering the bases.
  • Coconut oil - goal is two tablespoons daily. (Skinny Chocolate helps with that.)

2. Magnesium

3.  B vitamins

The most important ones are:

  • B1 also known as thiamine.
  • B6 in the form of "P-5-P" is best.
  • B12 in the form of methylcobalamin NOT the synthetic form cyanocobalamin
  • Methyl-folate, NOT folic acid

To get my these I will take:

  • B complex 
  • Possibly: An extra B1 supplement
  • Possibly: An extra B6 P-5-P supplement

4. For gut health - important
  • A strong probiotic
  • Fermented Cod Liver Oil - "Blue Ice" from Green Pastures brand - OR a regular cod liver oil supplement
  • Eating fermented foods. I eat one bite (or a couple of bites) or a few sips with each meal: raw pickles, raw sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, kombucha
  • L-Glutamine occasionally for gut health
  • Yearly: Ten days of 1 tsp. colloidal silver plus 1 turmeric cap, three times daily. 

5. For the liver - also important.

Take these from the time my cycle (period) starts until ovulation, then discontinue until next cycle starts. This is to avoid taking these during pregnancy.

1. Strength exercises when and if I have time. (Ha.)
2. Bible study, Bible verse memorization, prayer - Prayer for strength and guidance, and the ability to trust and step forward in faith. There is no fear like the fear of being open to pregnancy after an HG experience! Also, Bible verses so that I have Scriptures in my head to cling to in those early (and panicky) days.
3. Word HARD on character with the children - obedience, respect, sibling issues (oh, my goodness, the over here), responsibility with chores and schoolwork

My Pre-Conception To-Do List
I'm working through this list of things that I'd like to get done before our next baby arrives on the scene. Most of this will NOT apply to readers - but I thought you might like to see it, just as an example!

  • Clean out both of my freezers - so that I can clear my head and make space for the HG-prevention-plan foods that I want in our life (homemade bone broth, etc.)
  • Try einkorn wheat.
  • Start making homemade yogurt again. (DONE, July 2017)
  • Update my HG prevention protocol, publish. (DONE, September 2017)
  • September 2017 - Begin to order supplements mentioned above.
    • My husband and I have decided on a per-month amount that I can spend, and I will gradually accumulate what I need over the last part of 2017. Since we are in an extremely must-be-careful-with-money time, I will be attempting to lower our grocery bill by the same amount every month. (Hello, beans and potatoes!)
  • Use up old supplements. (Waste not, want not.)
  • Find a good source for cured meats - pepperoni, sausage, etc.
  • Find a good source for organic dairy products.
  • Move our Azure Standard drop closer to home. (DONE, July 2017)
  • Find a functional medical practitioner. 
  • Extra credit if I actually go to see said practitioner. (Can I get points just for finding one, without seeing her?)
  • Find a new bookcase. 
  • Get children's books organized.
  • Complete "easy cook" meal list for family to use while I am unable to cook. (DONE, June 2017)
  • Find 5-10 crockpot freezer meals that are family-friendly and relatively low-carb.
  • July 2018 - Make crockpot freezer meals. Goal is 20 frozen meals.  

After Conception
As soon as I suspect pregnancy, or from a positive test:

 1. Drop all liver cleanse supplements over ovulation and then once I am pregnant. Most of them are not known to be safe for pregnancy.

2. Magnesium - continue taking in all forms possible (supplement, oil, baths). Move Epsom salts baths from weekly to daily.

3. B vitamins - continue taking. Make sure I have enough B6 (in form P-5-P) and even take this separately if I can.

4. Fermented food, probiotics - continue taking for as long as I can stomach them.

5. Unisom - (known under brand names 'Diclegis'. 'Unisom', 'Restavit' and 'Diclectin' depending where you live.) Two options: Take from first nausea, or take from positive test onward. This takes a while to build up in your system, so mamas expecting repeat HG would be advised to take as early as possible. I would love to be able to get through without this medication, so I will have to judge at the time whether I need it or if I can get along without it.

6. Eat often, always high protein. For me this is often cheese or some form of eggs, or lunchmeat. (All forms of protein that I can get out without having to cook meat.) No carbs until I am past the danger point - usually after week 15 or thereabouts.

7. Start protein shakes - Minimum once before bed, once before getting out of bed, and one during the day. (I am currently investigating whether or not I could do collagen instead, since protein shakes taste so incredibly horrible/disgusting when pregnant. Opinions, anyone?) Also take cheese/nuts to bed in a cooler for middle-of-the-night and early morning snacking. This is crucial.

7. Add raw apple cider vinegar to water. Or lemon. (Lemon tastes better, but I think ACV works better. Too bad, because it's super-gross.)

8. Stop all coffee and chocolate. (This doesn't take any work - these are the first things that I naturally drop.)

8. Baking soda, in caps, 1 tsp. three times daily. Colloidal silver, 1 tsp. three times daily. Do both on a relatively empty stomach.

7. If necessary, try:

  • CBD hemp oil
  • Protandim - I'm always meaning to try this, and never get around to it. 
  • Zofran - Hoping to avoid, as this means getting an OB involved in my care, which is a nuisance. (Unfortunately, homebirth midwives can't prescribe Zofran.)
  • Magnesium/Vitamin B shots at naturopathic college
  • Acupuncture
  • Bentonite clay

9. Clear our schedule.

10. Schedule a house cleaner to come 2-4 times during the weeks when I am unable to clean.

Readers, I'd love to hear your ideas, see your own HG-prevention plans, and answer any questions that I can! Please do chime in!


  1. My goodness that's a ton of work. I hate hate hate HG and am only 4-5 weeks along in this pregnancy (4th). Ugh. Even Zofran doesn't work well but I tried it with B6 this morning and I haven't thrown up today (win?).

    1. Thank you for visiting, and congratulations on your newest little one! I'm so sorry you're feeling so terribly, and I hope that it passes soon (easy for me to say, I know). HG is an awful beast, and you are amazing for giving it another go!!

  2. I'm so impressed! This is a great plan for HG.

    1. Shannon, thank you for your kind words, and for visiting!! I really appreciate it!



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