So Your Misses Got Hyperemesis (Gravidarum)

Chapter 4: Eating With Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Part 4: What to Eat with hyperemesis Gravidarum?

Here are some of the foods that worked for us during the hyperemesis period, along with recommendations I received from other women who went through a similar HG pregnancy:

Our MVP

Without a doubt, the big winner that gave life to my wife during the hyperemesis period was very dry toast made from the simplest bread. What did we put on it? We had a few limited but effective options:

  • Well-Cooked Scrambled Egg Without Oil: This was our big winner. We used a Teflon pan, so we didn’t need any oil. I would just crack the egg over the pan, scramble it, and that was it. There were many days when my wife would eat just this. It was almost her sole source of protein and also certain vitamins (mainly from the B group). By the way, we are sure that this dish is what allowed our son to be born healthy and at a normal weight, despite being born prematurely (more on that later).
  • Hard Boiled Egg: Sometimes, when my wife got tired of scrambled eggs, we would make her a hard-boiled egg, slice it, and place it on the toast. I should mention that even though she wanted it, she couldn’t always eat it.
  • Cream Cheese: A very (very!) thin layer of cream cheese
  • Peanut Butter: A very (very!) thin layer of peanut butter

 

As for the cheese and peanut butter, my wife would eat one of these about once a day, mainly cheese, but not as much as she had the scrambled egg. Cheese and peanut butter increased the heartburn and reflux she experienced, which were unbearable even without these foods. 

Additional Foods to Try:

Here are some additional foods we tried during our hyperemesis pregnancy, which had some success:

  • Mashed Potatoes: without butter or milk, just a bit of salt.
  • Baked Potato Wrapped in Aluminum Foil: Wrap the potato in aluminum foil, bake it for about 90 minutes in the oven at around 200°C / 390°F. Again, no butter or sauces, just a bit of salt.
  • Couscous: A very easy-to-prepare carbohydrate. Just add water and salt, and that’s it. If you can’t find couscous in your local supermarket, look for it in a health food store or buy it online.
  • White Rice or Pasta: These didn’t work for my wife, but we spoke with other women with hyperemesis who were able to eat them. The most important thing is to keep the food simple. No complex sauces or oil.
  • Meat and Chicken: The only thing my wife could occasionally eat was dry chicken breast baked in the oven with a bit of salt, but these were rare occasions.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: My wife is not a big fan of fruits and vegetables, and this only got worse during the pregnancy. Other women we met who were dealing with hyperemesis shared with us that the only vegetables and fruits they could eat were cucumber, carrot, and apple. I assume these foods worked for them because they are hard foods (unlike tomatoes, for example), and a firm texture can help many women with hyperemesis. Apples and carrots are relatively dry, which probably also helped. If your wife can eat any fruit or vegetable, I highly recommend it. They will provide her and the baby vitamins that are important for their health.
  • Salty Snacks: Dry snacks with mild flavors were the ones that worked best for us. For example: dry crackers, pretzels, dry breadsticks, and more.
  • Sweet Snacks: My wife managed to eat some ice cream from McDonald’s. For a few days she could have lemon-flavored popsicles. Both made her nauseous after several tries. 
  • Spices and Flavor Enhancers: The only spice my wife could tolerate was cinnamon. It should be noted that she couldn’t eat cinnamon, but sometimes smelling it helped alleviate the nausea to some extent.

Most Important: Keep Trying!

Throughout our pregnancy with hyperemesis gravidarum, we tried many different foods. Most of our attempts caused my wife nausea, vomiting, and heartburn, so they are not included in this guide. The few that were somewhat successful are listed above.

Despite everything, we didn’t give up. My wife (the hero!) kept trying, and we eventually found a food she could eat for an extended period, with minimal side effects and relatively high nutritional value (toast with scrambled eggs).

Our recommendation is to treat the food suggestions above as a starting point for your search, not as absolute truth. What worked for my wife or the women we met might be right for your wife, but it might also not be right for her.

So pay attention to the effect of each food. If the effect is positive, continue with it. If not, keep searching. Eventually, you will find foods that your wife can eat during the hyperemesis period, at least for a certain period.

By the way, soon we will share a very convenient and simple method that will help you understand what works for your wife and what doesn’t.

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