Preparation for pregnancy part 2: Practical Considerations
As I'm sure you've picked up from my frequent mentioning of it, I've co-authored a book all about hyperemesis gravidarum. It's called Hyperemesis Gravidarum – The Definitive Guide and in it there is a whole big chapter all about planning for a hyperemesis pregnancy. About 10,000 words on the subject, which is far beyond the scope of a blog post. So, the first practical thing you can do is wait until our book is out (hopefully by September but sign up for updates about it's progress on The Book page) and then buy it!
However, if you can't wait that long or are already embarking on another round of the long nine months then here are a few tips and practical things you can do to prepare for what lays ahead. For medical preparation and pre-emptive treatment see my last post (part 1).
First of all, get fit and healthy. Some women prepare by deliberately putting on a bit of weight so that they have some to lose but I would only recommend that if you are currently under weight or on the lower side of healthy. Ideally for an HG pregnancy you should be starting out at the upper end of a healthy BMI, around 23-24.9. Use this calculator to work out what you currently are. If you are currently a little overweight then I wouldn't worry too much before embarking on HG, but obesity (BMI over 30) is known to reduce fertility so it's a good idea to get down to a healthy weight. The fitter you are going into a tough pregnancy the better and hopefully you'll find it easier to recover from it after.
Secondly, prepare your household. The ideas I have for this are almost endless and could almost fill a whole other book! Look at the main factors you will personally struggle with and try to prepare for them.
If you tend to do the food shopping and preparation for your family then could you set up online shopping delivery and stock you freezer with masses of pre-prepared meals for your partner to warm up?
Are you the only member of the household that knows how to use your old washer dryer that the instructions have worn off from? Could you write out the instructions?
Does your partner know where the vacuum bags and spare light bulbs are? Do you sort out paying bills and if so could they be done by direct debit?
Will the car need an MOT/tax/insurance sorting while you are ill and if so does you partner know where all the details needed for that are?
Stock up with unscented washing powders/soaps and so on.
What help at home can you afford, if any, ie. A cleaner or a laundry service.
Thirdly, if you already have children then you need to address childcare. I know a number of women who simply can't afford childcare at all and therefore have to cope at home. Which is fine if they can, up to a point... what if you get admitted to hospital? Will your partner have to take time off work to look after them and if so will that cause a problem with their employer? So what's you're plan B...
If you have relatives nearby or can afford a nanny then great but if not then how about local nurseries or childminders, do they have long waiting lists or would they be able to accommodate a last minute booking? Do any families nearby have teenage children who can help with some babysitting at the weekends or after school (a cheap option for sure)? The key is to think about what options are available locally for your needs and budget so that you're not trying to come up with solutions whilst on your way to hospital.
As I said a the start, this is just the tip of the preparation pile and I could literally write thousands more words on the subject but these are certainly the main areas to address if you're at the preparing point now.
Next time... preparing emotionally and psychologically for hyperemesis gravidarum!