The Royal Family just announced that they’re about to become a family a five! Along with the announcement of Kate Middleton’s third pregnancy, they also shared that the Duchess of Cambridge was suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum for the third time. Affecting less than two percent of pregnant women, hyperemesis gravidarum is basically having severe morning sickness around the clock that doesn’t let up when the first trimester draws to a close. In some cases, women end up hospitalized because they’re unable to keep down food or fluids.
When we read the announcement that Middleton was too sick to attend an obligation on Monday, we wondered how women work when they’re so sick they can’t eat or drink? So, we did some asking around, gathering some of the best tips from moms who have been there before. Here’s how to keep working when killer morning sickness is making you miserable.
Outsource Everything Else
Mom of one, Jeanne Eschenberg Sager, told us that hyperemesis gravidarum kept her in bed basically around the clock. She rallied for work and then made her way to the couch the second she got home, since lying still was the only way to keep the nausea bearable.
Many pregnant women can keep up with their typical pace, managing work and home responsibilities, but some can’t and that’s OK. If you’re struggling to survive the work day, prioritize rest when you are off the clock. Everything else, from cooking to housework, should be outsourced so you can take care of yourself. This could mean your partner picks up the slack or you have to actually hire help at home for a few months.
Make Adjustments to Your Work
Thankfully, if you just have bad morning sickness it will likely let up by the end of your first trimester. In the meantime, you can make adjustments to your work if your employer allows it. For instance, working remotely is more realistic than it has ever been in the past. If your work can be done from a laptop, talk to your boss about working remotely at least part of the time. Explain that you don’t want to call in and that being able to work from bed on an as-needed basis just might be what makes it possible to keep on working throughout your pregnancy.
Of course, hyperemesis gravidarum is a different beast and may require much bigger adjustments. Sunny Schaffer, mom of three, told us she actually lost her job because of how sick she was and ended up taking a new job that allowed her to have more downtime during her first pregnancy after being diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum. During her third pregnancy, she cut back on work completely until her symptoms let up enough to allow her to work part-time.
If keeping down meals or liquids is nearly impossible, eating and drinking small amounts just might help. Stick with sips of water all day long and eat nutritious snacks several times a day. If possible, keep a wide variety of snacks on hand so that you have plenty of options to choose from when you are feeling hungry. Help Her, an organization specifically created for supporting mothers dealing with hyperemesis gravidarum, suggests going as far as keeping a cooler of drinks and snacks next to your bed, so you can eat as soon as you begin to feel hungry without risking making yourself feel worse with a trip to the kitchen.
The truth about hyperemesis gravidarum is that it is not just morning sickness. This is a rare pregnancy condition that can be incredibly dangerous for both mom and baby if they don’t receive the proper care.
If you suspect you have hyperemesis gravidarum, you should talk with your doctor about your symptoms. They may be able to find a prescription medication that will ease your symptoms and can make suggestions for lifestyle changes that will ease your sickness. Beyond that, they can also monitor you and your baby for signs of dehydration, having you hospitalized if necessary.