A woman with hyperemesis gravidarum holds her hand over her mouth as she resists the urge to vomit.

14 things to help you cope with hyperemesis gravidarum 2022

Let me begin by saying that I am so sorry you feel a need to read this article. I sincerely hope that these suggestions will help you or your loved one suffering through Hyperemesis Gravidarum Hell.

As I noted in the title of this article, these suggestions are meant to help alongside medical treatment. I can write about my experience getting medical treatment and my story of HG in other posts, if you feel like that might be helpful.

Some of the things I found that will help you cope with hyperemesis gravidarum are products you can find at your local Walmart or on Amazon such as emesis bags, tissues, dry shampoo, and baby wipes. You’ll have to read on for my full recommendation!

I also want to say that HG is part of a spectrum of pregnancy-related nausea and v******** (That word made me sick when I had HG.). Each woman’s experience with HG is different. In my case, I was able to manage the symptoms with two medications and several months of bed rest.

I was still throwing up the day my daughter was born, but I was also feeling well enough by then to go on an occasional shopping trip with a friend or attend our family reunion.

I realize that this is not the case for all women who suffer from HG, and I hope none of my suggestions come across as insensitive or ignorant.

If you have suggestions to add, please share them in the comments. If we have to suffer through HG, we may as well try to help those who follow us!

1. Get Emesis Bags

This is something I wish I had done and fully intend to do in my next pregnancy. How brilliant, right? These bags are perfect—they won’t leak, you can seal them up after, and you don’t have to look at their contents afterward. 

I know I’m not the only one who threw up into clear zip-top bags during pregnancy. I was always afraid they would leak, and again, I hated seeing the mess inside after. 

Emesis Bags are the first thing you should buy if you have hyperemesis gravidarum. It just makes sense! 

Unfortunately, I used an emesis bag for the first time while I was in the hospital in labor. I was throwing up, as many women do in labor, and my blessed nurse handed me one. 

No splatter back on my face, a ring perfectly designed for your mouth to throw up into at the top of the bag, and a sealing system (which my nurse took care of for me at the time) that prevents further mess and means you can forget cleaning up a puke bowl and focus on cleaning up your face. 

You can grab a pack for those rare excursions where you leave your couch or bed to go to the doctor or a family event, or you can subscribe to them on Amazon and keep them coming for daily use at home.

Your partner will thank you when they no longer have to so lovingly clean your puke bowls. My husband lit up when I told him we were doing this in my next pregnancy.

2. Buy Your Diaper Pail Early

This also made my husband giddy when I explained this idea. Buy your diaper pail a few months early and use it to throw away your emesis bags, tissues, and wrappers from any snacks you manage to eat. (I almost said keep down, but unfortunately, that’s not a given.)

A diaper pail might just be one of the best things to help you cope with hyperemesis gravidarum. Diaper pails are designed to contain odors, which could prove invaluable for your extra-sensitive nose and nausea.

I can’t count the number of times I puked in a bowl, felt too weak to wash it, and laid in bed smelling it until my husband got home from work. (I hope that’s not too triggering!)

So here’s my solution, right? Just throw it up in your handy emesis bag, seal it up, and drop it in the diaper pail. Another perk is that diaper pails usually hold more than a standard bathroom trash can, which is what I used throughout my pregnancy. I kept one next to my bed. 

The diaper pail will be large enough to hold your emesis bags, tissues, and wrappers for at least a day. And then, hopefully, someone who loves you very much can help you change the liner so you can avoid any potential exposure to unpleasant smells. 

We recommend this diaper pail by Munchkin which uses the old standby, Arm & Hammer baking soda, to eliminate odors. This will be great once you have stinky diapers from an adorable baby in the pail, but it will also be great for managing your nausea.

3. Tissues With Lotion

Throwing up turns me into a snot monster, a crying, dripping snot monster. I went through SO MANY tissues during my pregnancy!  

If you have hyperemesis gravidarum, tissues with lotion will definitely save your nose.

Every time my husband would hear me throwing up, that saint of a man would rush to my side with a box of tissues and make sure I could reach the trash can to throw them away after cleaning myself up. The tissues with the lotion are a necessity. Trust me.  

You will wipe your nose raw with regular tissues. The lotion will help you feel just a little less miserable. Why add to the pain if you don’t have to?

4. Wear Loose Clothing

I spent the majority of my pregnancy wearing my dad’s oversized T-shirts and this nursing/maternity dress from Bearsland. Anything tight made my nausea worse. Anything too hot made my nausea worse.  

If you have HG, you’re just going to want a nice, loose-fitting, cool, and breathable dress to wear.

This dress. Mm—mmm, let me tell you, it became my best friend. I ordered it in multiple colors. I still wear it. It’s super easy to nurse in.  

While I was pregnant, it felt amazing to occasionally put something on that made me feel pretty. At the beginning of my battle with HG, I was too weak to shower regularly.

After a while, my husband started helping me. He would even blow my hair dry for me afterward. (He’s amazing, I know.)  

So later on, especially when I felt well enough to leave the house, having something loose and as comfy as pajamas to wear that also made me feel human and pretty was amazing. Plus you can easily dress this piece up or down.

5. Listen To Books

AUDIBLE.COM

Hyperemesis is horribly lonely and boring. And to add to the horror of it all, sometimes looking at a phone screen or TV triggers worse nausea or throwing up. It did for me.  

Light and sound were out. So I lay in a dark room by myself all day long. 

That’s why listening to audiobooks while I had HG was the best activity! If I turned on some music or an audiobook, set my phone volume to the lowest setting, and placed my phone several feet away from me, my nausea didn’t get worse.

And hallelujah! I could distract myself for a little while! 

So my recommendation here is to make a book list. It definitely doesn’t have to include any pregnancy or parenting books, but it could if you’re up for that. If not, think of some classics you’ve always wanted to read or look at a best-sellers list for inspiration.  

You will have hours and hours in which to listen to these books! 

Many libraries offer access to free audiobooks in apps or online. You won’t even have to send a loved one to pick up the CD version at the library.  

It might be worth it to consider starting an Audible membership. You will get two credits each month to use toward free audiobooks and discounted prices on other books. You’ll have access to member-only content. This investment might just keep you sane during your HG pregnancy.

6. Use Dry Shampoo and Leave-in Conditioner

As I mentioned earlier, during the early days of my fight with HG, I felt too weak to shower regularly.

So if you’re wondering how you will shower if you have hyperemesis gravidarum, don’t. Just use dry shampoo and leave-in conditioner at first.

Dry shampoo and leave-in conditioner helped my hair—and mostly me—feel a little less disgusting. 

And I was disgusting. But when I couldn’t actually wash my hair, these products helped me feel a little more normal.

This might be a difficult suggestion to implement because dry shampoo and leave-in conditioner can have such strong scents. I found that the products I had used pre-pregnancy didn’t trigger my nausea. I was lucky there.

If you are feeling up to it, you could sniff some of the products you have on hand or ask friends to drop by with some of theirs. This way you won’t have to buy out the haircare section at the store just to find a scent you can stand.

This might seem like a strange combination to some, but here are the products that worked for me when I was pregnant:

I used Not Your Mother’s Plump for Joy Dry Shampoo. It has a mango scent that can be a little strong at first, but I hardly noticed it after it was all brushed into my hair.

I also used Garnea Fructise Leave-in Conditioner. This smells like apricots. It has a very strong smell, and ai could smell it for hours after. Thankfully it didn’t make me nauseous, but the lasting smell is something to be aware of when looking for a product like this to use during HG.

I hope you can find products to help your hair feel a little more you during this time. And if you do, please share in the comments. I know this one will be super different for everyone, but maybe what works for you will work for someone else too.

7. Take Baby Wipe Baths

When I was too weak, dizzy, and nauseous to shower regularly, I felt so disgusting! As if I wasn’t dealing with enough during my HG pregnancy, I was heaping guilt on myself for not taking care of myself.  

Don’t feel bad about this! If you have HG, one of the best ways to clean up can literally be to just use baby wipes. 

It sounds crazy now, but I was so mad at myself for not being able to do something as simple as taking a daily shower. 

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this at the time, but when I went to “girl’s camp” as a teenager, we didn’t always have access to warm showers during the four days we were there.  

So I always packed a package of baby wipes (Thanks, Mom!), and I used them to wipe down every day.

It’s not the perfect alternative to showering during HG, but when you feel like you can’t even get up to fill up your own water bottle, a shower is out of the question.  

So get a head start on finding the brand of baby wipes you like the best and help yourself feel a little cleaner and more human as well!

8. Get A Shower Chair

I know, I know, aren’t those for old people? Not necessarily.

Lots of people use shower chairs. People with certain disabilities or injuries use them regularly. My little sister used one for a while after her knee surgery.

The best way to shower when you have hyperemesis gravidarum is to get yourself a shower chair. It’s the best way to keep from falling over in the shower, I promise.

You may not have just had surgery, but, my friend, you will love this chair!

Once you graduate from laying in bed or on the couch all day (I usually switched back and forth so I could get a change of scenery.), you might just be ready for a real shower!

During the first shower, I took without help during my HG pregnancy, I almost passed out. I mean, everything went black. Everything sounded like I was under water or wrapped in cotton. 

I started to fall, but thankfully I was still aware enough to grab onto the faucet and lower myself down. Then I crawled out onto the bathroom floor, laid on my back, and put my legs in the air until I could see and hear again.

We all want to avoid terrifying experiences like this, especially during pregnancy, so do yourself a favor and order a shower chair!

My doctor told me it was a combination of standing for so long and the heat of the shower that got to me. So let’s eliminate the standing.

This will also help you conserve energy.

I was always wiped out for an entire day after I took a shower when I had hyperemesis gravidarum I would literally lie in bed for the next day except when I had to use the restroom.

9. Use Flouride Mouthwash

Hyperemesis gravidarum destroyed my teeth.

The best way to protect your teeth when you have HG is to use an American Dental Association-approved fluoride mouthwash. Stomach acid can destroy your teeth quickly, so it’s important to do something about it immediately.

I know many women have it even worse than I did, but I had more than ten fillings in the first year and a half after I had my little girl. I asked my dentist what I could do differently if I have a second HG pregnancy, and this is what he told me:

  • Never brush your teeth right after throwing up. Rinse really well with water and then use a fluoride mouthwash. I really like this kids’ ACT fluoride rinse. I think the mint flavor is just tame enough that I could have handled it.

  • Brush your teeth at least once a day. I’ll admit, I definitely skipped this a few times when I was in the thick of hyperemesis gravidarum. I never even brushed right after throwing up, which it turns out was a good thing. You don’t want to rub that stomach acid all over your teeth.

My mom also suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, and she recommends brushing your teeth with a little bit of baking soda and water instead of toothpaste if you can’t handle the toothpaste flavor. Some toothpastes for sensitive teeth also have flavors that are a little less strong and easier to handle.

The main idea here is to do everything you can to take care of your teeth during HG.

It’s going to be tough to find the right products and the right time of day when sticking a toothbrush in your mouth isn’t automatically triggering, but it will be so worth it!

10. Chew Gum With Xylitol

When I had hyperemesis gravidarum, at least in the beginning, the motion of chewing made me nauseous, so very, very nauseous. So this suggestion definitely would have had to wait a few months. But hopefully chewing doesn’t trigger nausea for you!

If you have HG, one of the best ways to reduce nausea is xylitol chewing gum. Not to mention, it will also help give you fresh breath. If you can, try chewing gum with xylitol throughout the day. Some women find that mint helps calm their nausea. Try a few different flavors of mint.

Peppermint Altoids really helped me in the beginning. While breath mints might help tame your nausea or at least make your mouth taste better, xylitol gum can help protect your teeth from decay. Something we all need help with during hyperemesis gravidarum.

11. Keep Hair Ties Handy

This might seem obvious, but keep hair ties close by at all times!

I was always reaching for one when I was about to throw up. In the beginning, I almost always had one in my hair. It’s just a little more bearable when you don’t have to worry about getting your hair dirty.

Another option here might be to braid or have someone else braid your hair back away from your face. Braids are a little more comfortable to sleep on than ponytails, and you won’t have to reach for a new hair tie every single time you throw up.

12. Use a 360 No-Spill Cup

The Munchkin 360 sippy cups are amazing for my toddler! And guess what! They make a big kid/grown-up version as well.

These cups have a silicone stopper at the top that allows you to tip the cup upside down without spilling. If you drop it on the floor, it will leak a little, but the mess is nothing compared to a regular cup.

If you have HG, it can be hard to avoid spilling on yourself. The best way to not spill your drink when you have hyperemesis gravidarum is to get one of these munchkin miracle 360 cups for adults.

The really great thing about 360 cups though is that you can drink directly from the cup without removing the silicone stopper or the lid. You can drink at any part of the rim, just like a normal cup. 

When I was really sick with HG, it was a huge ordeal for me to sit up to take a drink. I tried drinking while laying down, but I usually ended up spilling. 

With a 360 cup, you can sip your flat ginger ale, or whatever you can stomach, without getting up and without spilling. I’m totally doing this in my next pregnancy!

And if you feel like the bigger size of 360 cup is too heavy or too big for you, you could totally get the toddler size and pull them out again when your little is big enough for a sippy cup.

13. Use a Plush Bed Rest or Extra Pillows

I was always stacking pillows behind me to make it easier to sit up a little in bed. A plush bed rest like this or just lots of extra fluffy pillows can help with this.

The best way to stay comfortable in bed with HG is to use a plush bed rest and as many pillows as it takes. You might have to be in bed, but you don’t have to be uncomfortable.

Being able to sit up was one of those things that made me feel like I was starting to get better or at least making progress. I wasn’t ready to sit straight up on the couch yet, but reclining in bed was perfect! 

You’ll also want lots of extra pillows to put between your knees, under your growing belly, and behind your back as your pregnancy progresses. I tried the big pregnancy pillows and didn’t love them. 

It was so much easier to get comfortable with lots of individual pillows that I could adjust exactly how I wanted them. Plus it was easier to move a couple of small pillows when I needed to throw up than to move the huge pregnancy pillow.

14. Use a Waterproof Mattress Cover

Who knew you could throw up so hard you’d pee? I didn’t — until I did.

I hope you don’t experience this, but if you do, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

The best way to protect your bed when you have hyperemesis gravidarum is to get a waterproof mattress cover. It may not be the first thought in your mind, but you’ll be happy when you don’t get bodily fluids on your mattress. Avoid the mess, just get this.

Using a waterproof mattress cover will make cleanup so much easier and faster. Plus, when you get closer to the end of your pregnancy, you won’t have to worry so much about your water breaking in bed.

It’s great for after baby comes too since he or she will probably pee or spit up on your bed at some point!

Thanks For Reading!

I sincerely hope something in this list helps you or your loved one suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum! It can truly be a traumatic experience, but I hope some of these suggestions help add a feeling of support and humanity to this difficult time. And I hope you come out of this experience with a healthy mama and a healthy baby!

If you have any other suggestions that you think might help someone struggling with hyperemesis gravidarum, please share in the comments! We will all be so grateful! And please don’t say “saltines” or “ginger”!

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