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So Far, So Good: No Debilitating Pregnancy Nausea and Exhaustion

By Katie Allison Granju |

In my last pregnancy, I lived on saltines and ginger ale

My last pregnancy was a physical nightmare.  There’s no other way to describe it. Starting pretty early in the first trimester, I began feeling so nauseated and exhausted that it was like having a bad case of the flu 24/7.  Even though it was my fifth pregnancy, I was completely unprepared for how this one would kick my ass. In previous pregnancies, I’d had nausea now and again, and I’d certainly been much sleepier than usual during the first trimester. But this was something completely different. My pregnancy symptoms this last time were completely debilitating, and they lasted for almost five months. Jon and I had to pretty much completely reorganize our lives around making sure I had enough strength to go to work and do my job each day. Everything else became his responsibility during those awful first months of pregnancy (with a lot of help from his mom and my sister).During the first 18 weeks or so of my last pregnancy, I would collapse into bed for the night as soon as I got home from work each da, lying in a dark room in misery, only getting up to go throw up again, before settling back in the bed. At work, I had to level with one or two coworkers who were also good friends about just how terrible I was feeling, asking them to help me make it through each day without completely screwing something up. Eventually, the horrible “morning” sickness (HA!) passed, and I felt physically fine most of the time for the second half of the pregnancy, but I will never, ever forget how awful it was to feel that bad around the clock for several months. It was a truly horrible experience.

When I found out I was pregnant again a few weeks ago, the first thing that entered my mind was, “please God, please don’t let me be sick like that again.” I found myself going back through old blog posts and emails, trying to figure out when the symptoms started last time, and I already told my OB at my first visit at 6 weeks that if the nausea starts up again, I want to go straight to the zofran (which didn’t completely solve the problem, but helped more than anything else we tried first, including compazine and reglan, both of which gave me a terrible sense of dread and anxiety, on top of the nausea. I will NEVER take reglan or compazine again, for any reason.) He agreed. I have a zofran prescription ready to deploy if the nausea begins.

But here’s the good news: I am now 8 weeks pregnant, and so far, so good. I have had a few isolated incidents where I felt sick for an hour at a time, but it wasn’t that bad and it passed quickly. I’ve only thrown up once so far. I am tired, but it’s a normal kind of early pregnancy tired, not the pathological exhaustion I had last time, where I would sometimes lock the door to my office and lie down on the floor for 20 minutes because I was honestly too tired to sit upright any longer. I know that I am not out of the woods yet, by any means, but the bad nausea had definitely set in by this time in my last pregnancy, so I consider that a good sign. And since I had never experienced pregnancy symptoms even CLOSE to that severe before my last pregnancy, I am hoping against hope that this current pregnancy will be relatively easy, like my others.

The only unpleasant symptom I have so far is one that’s pretty bizarre, but very familiar to me because I’ve had it every time. It’scalled ptyalism gravidarum, and basically, it means that I, well, umm, I drool while I am pregnant. I produce copious amounts of saliva, the likes of which my doctor says he’s never seen before. He told me last time that my pregnancy-related ptyalism is the most severe case of it that he’s ever seen. Last time, it was at its worst during the months that I was so sick, and it got a lot better after the nausea went away. In earlier pregnancies, it seemed to be totally unrelated to any nausea, and it stayed with me until the day after delivery, when it disappeared each time. In this pregnancy, the drooliness was the first hint I had that I might be pregnant. It started before I even took a pregnancy test, and it continues. Happily, however, it’s not too bad yet, and it doesn’t seem to really kick into high gear until evening. Let’s hope that this is how the situation continues, ’cause it’s a lot less embarrassing to be drooly at home than at work, you know?

So how about y’all? Did you have different experiences with nausea and exhaustion in different pregnancies? If you ever dealt with extreme symptoms, when did they start and when did they let up? Tell me in the comments below. (And please keep your fingers crossed for me!)


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About Katie Allison Granju


Katie Allison Granju

Katie Allison Granju is the married mother of five children, ranging in age from toddler to teenager. In addition to blogging for Babble Voices, she also publishes her own blog, Big Good Thing. Katie also enjoys working in her flower garden, riding her bike, and feeding the chickens she keeps in the backyard of her family's large Victorian house. Read bio and latest posts → Read Katie Allison's latest posts →

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14 thoughts on “So Far, So Good: No Debilitating Pregnancy Nausea and Exhaustion

  1. Jul says:

    For my only successful pregnancy, I was around the clock sick from about week 4 straight through labor and delivery. I was given a shot during early labor to help me stop vomiting. I finished my pregnancy 18 pounds lighter than I started. But thankfully I finally had my healthy 7lb 6 ounce baby nearly two weeks after her due date. My two pregnancies before and two after my daughter started out with violent around the clock sickness as well. I was never offered any medication to help alleviate the symptoms nor was I aware any had even existed.

    I wish you the best of luck with this pregnancy. I think the fact you are not as sick this time as you were with Georgia is a very promising sign. As for the drooling, I had that same issue. It’s nice to finally know it wasn’t unique to me.

  2. AK says:

    Well, with both babies, I was 24 hours sick and tired. It was really rough. With my first, I drank Spirulina protein smoothies, and that seemed to solve it. Cheez-its worked pretty well too, when I didn’t want a smoothie or was not in a place to make one. With baby #2, I ate small bits of good, organic dark chocolate — wow! The difference was amazing there.

    So, give those a try. Your body needs something. Also — I would look for liquid pre-natal vitamins OR crush your pills into powder. My vitamins made me VERY SICK, but I knew I needed to take them. So, I made them as easily digestible as possible.

  3. Steph says:

    Lots of good luck to you! I sincerely hope you don’t develop the sickness you had with your last pregnancy. I’m currently 19 weeks pregnant with number two and I was similarly sick with both up until about 16 weeks but I think it’s been a little worse this time. Even though I was not as intensely sick as you were, it is such a miserable experience to be so ill all day every day… I have to say this time is was insanely difficult to deal with (even with Zofran, which I didn’t take last time – I was taking something milder), I think mainly because of the responsibilities I have to look after my toddler. The first time I was pregnant I was teaching and on summer break for three months during the worst of the ’round-the-clock nausea and vomiting… This time I have felt so guilty for being so absent for my daughter… Luckily it’s mostly passed now and am able to get off the couch and take her out of the house. I am really thankful I am at home with my daughter and not working outside the home as well – I just can’t see how I would have managed… As for tiredness, luckily my daughter started napping for 3 hours right when I fell pregnant as I was NEEDING those naps more than she was!

  4. Nelson's Mama says:

    I was sick during both of my pregnancies and it was miserable, I think the dry heaves are worse than the throwing up. Zofran was not available during my first pregnancy so I had to make do with phenergan and drinking Mylanta straight from the bottle. With my second pregnacy, I took phenergan at night and Zofran during the day – that seemed to make the nausea a little more manageable. Those weren’t good days! Thought I’d be a cute, happy, bouncy pregnant girl that first time around and I looked like walking death…lived in Nashville in those days and I puked in more garbage cans, parking garages, restaurant bathrooms and roadsides than you can even imagine.

  5. Marsha says:

    So glad to hear that this pregnancy is going better than the last one. I was sick from week 8 until the day after delivery. I couldn’t keep anything down and lost 20 pounds. Zofran worked for me, it was my life saver and finally allowed me to eat again.

  6. Melinda says:

    I am 24 weeks into my fourth pregnancy and I have had round the clock nausea for the first eighteen weeks of all four pregnancies. I have never taken any prescription medicine for the nausea. I have puked in a lot of bushes. Two things help a lot: sleep (tough to come by in pregnancy no. 4!) and eating protein very frequently. At some points I have to eat a small protein-rich snack every hour and a half or I puke. It is counter-intuitive, but it works. I am still nauseated, but don’t throw up more than once a day or so and I gain weight normally. Read books by Dr. Bradley, who says the rules are: never let your stomach be empty, never let your stomach be full. I also have your problem with the excess saliva. When I was working, I used to keep an empty coke can on my desk and quietly spit into it all day. One of my co-workers, a single guy, caught me and was horrified! Now I am home, so I can spit with abandon, but I have a tough time explaining to my kids why they can’t spit all the time, too!

    Hang in there, Katie. I hope you continue feeling well during this pregnancy!

  7. suburbancorrespondent says:

    Nausea generally starts up at the 5 1/2 to 6-week mark (as I am sure you know); sounds to me as though you may have gotten a “Get Out of Morning Sickness Free” card this time around. Enjoy! And try not to drool around strangers too much – it freaks them out.

  8. Melissa says:

    Very happy to hear this! I could relate as you were experiencing G’s pregnancy. I’ve often joked that if my most recent pregnancy was my first, I am not sure I would’ve done it 4 times…. It was terrible! Here is hoping Mother Nature gives you a breezy pregnancy this time around, you deserve it : )

  9. Moi says:

    For what it’s worth, I was (relatively) tired, queasy and averse to certain foods much more with my daughter than my sons.

    Maybe this one’s a boy? :)

  10. Tennessee Cassie says:

    My first pregnacy was very similar to yours with Baby G. I concur with the phrase “pathological exhaustion.” I’d do the same thing, slip away for 20 min to just lay down, and I was nauseous the entire time, except for twenty min after I ate, hence alot of weight gain because it brought moments of relief. My second pregnancy was way more typical, and I started to feel relief from regular morning sickness by 14 weeks. I was normal tired. But I drooled alot! Ha, I even sprayed a co-worker while introducing myself once. It was a winner moment. Hang in there, Katie! I am praying that this pregnancy goes spectacularly for you!

  11. Elizabeth says:

    I had hyperemesis gravidarum with my first pregnancy. It is truly awful. People with the same condition have told me that when they had pregnancies close together their nausea was dramatically lower in the second pregnancy.


  12. Angel Funk says:

    Great news Katie! My last pregnancy was the same, almost five months of barely being able to function. The first pregnancy was three months of hell. Maybe I should try for a third and test my luck, this gives me hope!

  13. Anna says:

    I’m a whopping 8 weeks pregnant and (knock on wood) I haven’t puked yet. I think it might be because I’ve been getting weekly massages for the last year and that helps detox the body, which is part of the reason for “morning” sickness. Also I have IBS or something stupid with my stomach and have always had to eat a million small meals through out the day. I didn’t really have to change many habits, and I think that helped a ton. The only thing I have is the ever annoying constipation, which seems to get better when I skip my prenatals. Ha. Cell power has been my secret trick. If I need a quick boost of energy, it sure helps.

  14. MAK says:

    In my first (and only, thus far) pregnancy, I was miserably sick the first three months and also produced ridiculous amounts of saliva, so much so that I had to have a “spit cup” with me at all times. And when I didn’t have a cup handy and had to keep swallowing all that spit, it would make me even sicker. Ugh. Not fun.

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