Shouldn’t be complaining about m/s

Because the last time I did I had unexplained bleeding.  So I’m not going to complain about it, per se, I’m just going to discuss it.  In reality I am delighted for this constant reminder that the baby is probably still there.

It’s just that my morning sickness is a bit perplexing.

I’m fairly sure it’s caused by a combination of metformin and prenatals and should let up some at the end of first trimester when I can wean off the metformin.  (Well, a combination of metformin, prenatals, and being pregnant… prior to pregnancy there wasn’t so much of the actual throwing up.)

First off, because of the PCOS and insulin resistance, I cannot have sweets.  (DC often reminds me it’s because of the medicine that I can’t have sweets.  That’s not technically correct, but it’s close enough.)  I cannot have refined carbs.  Metformin takes care of a lot of the insulin problem, but I don’t always remember to take it on time (and twice so far I’ve woken up feeling AWESOME… only to realize I forgot to take the previous night’s pill), and I’m fairly sure there’s a two hour window where the extended release is no longer releasing quite so much.  Since it is *probably* (but they don’t know for sure) the insulin spikes that cause the higher increased risk of miscarriage in women with PCOS, it is safest to control that both through diet and through medication.  So no saltines for me.

Of course, saltines wouldn’t work anyway because baked goods with wheat continue to be anathema to me, even the ones I’m allowed to eat. DH made a wonderful banana bread studded with dried apricots and nuts from the New Laurel’s and managed to remove all the refined carbs and I had two big slices and it was delicious (though not as delicious as with sugar would have been)… and then I couldn’t keep it down and that was unpleasant.  So no more banana bread.  I don’t understand why I can’t keep wheat down.  Other people can eat wheat… I’m not normally gluten intolerant and I’m definitely not celiac.  *Sigh*

My body also HATES iron.  I’m often anemic, and have had deficiencies in vit D (taking extra vitamins for this!), vit B12 (though I don’t have that now) and iron (though I don’t have that now).  Prenatals with iron are the most horrible awful things ever.  (Side note:  On the internet people say:  Take the gummy prenatals!  They’re sooo easy to digest!  They’re easy to digest because they have no iron and actually have less of the needed prenatal nutrients than a Centrum.)  This means I recently divested myself of a spinach salad with steak from the most expensive restaurant in town.  For some reason I also don’t like chicken or turkey.  I don’t know why.  I’m still occasionally eating pork, but the problem with pork is that the tastiest kinds disagree with metformin in the other direction (this is something true even without pregnancy), which is painful.  Note to self:  do not eat half a package of bacon or kielbasa when on metformin.

In terms of vitamins, I alternate:  Whole Foods’ only prenatal that doesn’t always get thrown right back up, then Centrum the next day.  On days when I can’t face the Whole Foods prenatal, I take one of DC’s children’s chewables.  A previous doctor told me two children’s chewables would be fine, but ze currently has enough iron in hirs that I can’t keep two down.  Maybe the next batch I will make sure it doesn’t say “with iron” on the package and I’ll do the two children’s chewables.  (There are some important heuristics with prenatals– they need to have more than 100% folic acid, less than 100% vitamin A and so on.)  The evil super-expensive non-formulary prescription prenatals that were supposed to be magical on the stomach sit unused next to the sink.  They did not behave as advertised.

So what do I eat?  I always eat fruit.  Fruit is my best friend in the whole world, and smoothies are my extra special bestest friends.  Oats are also still getting along with me.  My bowl of oatmeal keeps me fortified every morning until 9:30 at least.  I drink a lot of ginger tea.  And fizzy water.  I’m hooked on Knudson Farm “Sparkling Essence”, even though they’re expensive and we have to drive to the city to get them.  Trail mix provides me with substance.  So far sweet potato products seem to get along with me.  Most of the time, but not always, I can do brown rice.  Despite the iron, I occasionally crave beef.  Other times I avoid it like the plague.  I’ve been using beans on occasion in place of say, spaghetti noodles.  Actually not so bad.

Most of the time I can have frozen mixed veggies (microwaved with a pat of butter).  I can eat most kinds of vegetable pickles, including multicultural cabbage pickles (at least of German or South Korean varieties).  Whenever I have to go out with people I order a salad (but no more spinach ever ever again).  I seem to be able to eat a lot of seafood too, though that has to be limited to 2x/week because we’re poisoning our seafood with heavy metals.  I mostly stick to things lower on the food chain for that reason as well.  I ate really well at a sushi place the other week… lots of eel and other cooked seafood.

Also:  thank goodness for ice cream.  If I keep it below a certain level of sugar (and get full-fat), I can eat that.  Occasionally I’ll have a yogurt parfait for breakfast rather than my regular oatmeal.

We’ve completely given up menu planning at our house.  Our eating out expenses have gone way up– if I think of something I can eat and crave, DH rushes out to get it.  And I’m incredibly grateful.  There’s also no Trader Joe’s, so the frozen fruit for my smoothies is a lot more expensive.  Food is my number 1 thought every moment of the day.  Except the brief but frequent moments when I really have to use the restroom.

And the sad thing is…. this was all much worse with DC.  At this point in my last pregnancy, I was eating fruit all day because that was all I could eat and it takes a lot of fruit to fill up a hungry pregnant lady.

Re:  morning sickness medications:  There are none that have been proven both safe and effective.  There is a kind that is available in Canada (but banned in the US) that is supposed to be both.  The first part of my DC pregnancy was in a part of the country that is very leery about giving medications in which the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence isn’t there yet, and I kind of agree with them.  I also know that a lot of these problems are caused by medication and I don’t like taking medication to fix problems caused by medication.  I kind of prefer listening to my body, even though it is sure it does not want as much iron as the doctors think I need.  When it gets really bad I will stop the damn prenatals and do children’s chewables.  And in a few very short weeks I will be able to completely get off Metformin and loosen up on a lot of the carb restrictions (since they’re only contraindications for first and third trimesters, so long as I don’t go crazy).  In the mean time, lots and lots of ginger tea and fizzy water.

update:  It wasn’t iron– it was that the vitamins weren’t gluten-free.

33 Responses to “Shouldn’t be complaining about m/s”

  1. Cloud Says:

    Oh, I’m sorry your morning sickness is so bad! Mine was just like being constantly car sick, and I never threw up. I did have some crazy aversions, though.

    I hope yours gets better soon!

  2. bogart Says:

    Yuck. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this though, as you note, hopefully within a few weeks it will improve. I guess the one thing I have heard can be helpful and that I don’t see you mentioning is those acupressure bands … I haven’t used them and can’t recommend them (or not) but they seem like one of those might-help-can’t-hurt sort of things?

  3. Linda Says:

    It seems everyone I know who takes metformin (a friend with PCOS and my diabetic mom) has a problem with it causing a lot of nausea. Sounds like horrible, horrible stuff and I hope to avoid taking it myself. (Both my maternal grandmother and mother became diabetic late in life, so my motivation for trying to keep my weight down through exercise and diet is driven by a desire to not have this happen to me!)

    The afore-mentioned friend with PCOS has turned to a vegan diet with no grains in order to address her health issues (which also included elevated blood pressure and cholesterol). She consulted with a dietician (or was it a nutritionist…I get those two confused all the time) who advised her to eat collard greens every day to increase her calcium level; they are also a fairly good source of iron if consumed with Vitamin C. Can you tolerate collards instead of spinach?

    One more thing you may try to add to your diet is quinoa. It is mild tasting and full of protein. I don’t think it’s metabolized the same way as grains and refined carbs, so it should hopefully not lead to blood sugar spikes.

    Nuts are great for adding protein and keeping your blood sugar level. It’s wonderful that you’re eating them regularly. Hang in there!

  4. Dr. O Says:

    Ick – morning sickness is awful, not just because of the sicky feeling, but also the fact that I had such mixed feelings about it. Like you, it made me happy to know things were still going well, but I am not a good puker, at all. Once I start, I don’t stop.

    I LOVED fruit when I was pregnant, especially berries. Anything pungent – kale and related veggies especially – was absolutely repulsive. Most of my vitamins came from my prenatals or berries. I also found lemon to be decent at warding off some of the nausea at its worst.

  5. PQA Says:

    Something that helped with my nausea was jolly ranchers, the sourness and sugar combo, worked wonders on my stomach. I know you can’t have candy if you are insulin resistant. But perhaps there is a sugar-free substitute that would help. It was the only thing that could get me out of bed in the morning. Good luck, eating sounds like it has become a minefield for you.

  6. julier Says:

    I practically lived on ice cream with strawberries when I was pregnant. I had weird aversions to vegetables and fruits – green peppers, apples, carrots. Plus, I was on a low sodium diet to manage the preeclampsia and blood pressure. It was not fun.

    B-vitamins can help with nausea. Can you drink sugar-free power aid? Or a sugar-free vitamin water if you don’t want all the sodium?

    Hope you feel better soon.

    • julier Says:

      Would this banana bread recipe work for you?

      2 supadupa ripe bananas (The riper the better as they are sweeter and easier to mix)
      2 cups almond butter
      2 tsp. baking soda
      2 tsp. vanilla
      2 eggs
      1/2 c. honey
      1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

      What you do:

      Put all in a blender, except walnuts, until smooth and well mixed.
      Pour in greased 13×9 pan, top with the walnuts, and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until passes toothpick test.

      It’s from

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I drink a lot of fizzy water and ginger tea.

  7. chacha1 Says:

    Ugh. Hang in there!

  8. becky Says:

    Yikes! I totally sympathize as I had extrmely bad m/s for 5 months. I am in Canada so I did take diclectin, which had been in use here for about 30 years now. However, I think Bendectin was banned drug in the U.S., which was a slightly different formulation? But yes, if you can make it through without it, it is much better to listen to the body and avoid drugs to fix drug reactions.

  9. Dame Eleanor Hull Says:

    This sounds so miserable. I am sorry you feel bad, and echo all the hopes that you do indeed feel better soon.

  10. Ink Says:

    Hope you feel much better, stat!

    My weird aversions included any kind of soup and Thomas the Tank Engine videos. I could not be around either one without gagging. (Now I think: Thomas? What was that about? But it was a Real Thing.)

  11. Ink Says:

    Oh, and I found cinnamon gum sort of helpful re: morning sickness. Also the sour lollies you can buy at Babies R Us for MS.

  12. ABDMama Says:

    Sorry to hear your m/s has been bad. How much longer until you are in the clear do you think?

  13. femmefrugality Says:

    Geez and I thought my pregnancy was bad! Didn’t have any dietary restrictions although my morning sickness was bad. And I got wicked heartburn. Hang in there! Sounds like 2nd trimester’s right around the corner!

  14. anandi Says:

    Even before I got pg and was taking metformin, I’d get bouts of nausea which were super-intensified if I drank wine or ate something sweet. It was the best incentive to stop eating things that were bad for me ;)

    But ugh, no fun. The Yogi brand ginger tea was good for me, as was not getting too hungry, ever. So I ate a lot of oatmeal and bananas. Good luck!

  15. First Gen American Says:

    Ugh..I never liked being a pregnant woman. The fact that people were extra polite to me didn’t make up for all the icky downsides that you just described, but yeah..things seem to be progressing.

  16. oilandgarlic Says:

    I had to take meds all during the first trimester for morning sickness. I forget the name but it just barely made my life tolerable. I think I ate very little except a sweet and sour tofu soup from a fast food chinese restaurant. Luckily I didn’t have trouble with pre-natal vitamins. Hang in there!

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