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SURVIVING LIFE ON ZOFRAN

Surviving life on Zofran

I am now surviving my third pregnancy on zofran and I thought it would be helpful to share some of the things that I’ve learned while living on zofran.  Unfortunately hyperemesis lasts the entire pregnancy for me, so taking zofran daily is the only way I make it to the end.

If you’re one of my regular readers, you may not want to know about the side effects of zofran because not everyone is interested in the infrequency of my bowel movements.  But if you’re a prego that’s come over from pinterest-this article is for you.  I’m hoping to write something that would have been useful to me 2 pregnancies ago!

I am not a doctor or midwife!  Please conference with your medical professional about what will be best for your care!!

First and foremost, attempt to avoid constipation:

1.Stay Hydrated.

Drinking became very difficult for me very quickly and I ended up needing a PICC line and IV fluids twice a day to stay hydrated.  Even with the IV fluids I wasn’t getting quite enough liquid.  I found that sucking on ice was a good way to slowly get fluid and sipping on the coldest, iciest water I could.  I liked gatorade but because I was on lactated ringers (an IV solution similar to gatorade) I was advised against drinking it too much to avoid messing more with my electrolyte imbalance.  Now that I’m halfway through and doing better (because of the zofran) I’m able to drink more and carrying around a “Mama Sippy” (as my friend calls them) has been a big help to remind me to drink.  Unlike a water bottle, it’s easier to fill with ice and I drink so much more when there’s a straw.

Surviving life on Zofran

2. Eat Fruit

With hyperemesis gravidarum, many things don’t taste very good and rarely successfully stay down.  Watermelon and peaches were what saved me and also helped prevent more severe constipation.  The high water content of watermelon is incredibly helpful, it didn’t hurt coming back up and almost always stayed down.  Even now being over the worst of it, I try to eat fruit with every meal since I like it better than most vegetables right now.  I can tell when I’m not getting enough fruit in my diet because I start to get worse.

3. Drink Juice

I have a hard time stomaching juice while sick and pregnant BUT it really does help if you can keep it down.  I’ve found that apple juice and prune juice seem to help me the most.

Surviving life on Zofran

If you do end up constipated, these are a few things that have worked for me:

1.Buy a Squatty Potty.

Your colon will thank me.  Even if you aren’t suffering from zofran-induced constipation, pregnancy induces constipation and having a squatty potty has been a life-saver.  I did not have this with my first 2 pregnancies and we owned one for 2 years before this one and I can’t imagine going back to not having one!  This one tool alone has saved me from much misery.

2. Learn how to dis-impact your own bowels

The safest way to do this at home is to scrub up really well, glove up, and assist evacuating your bowels by inserting your fingers in your vagina and helping massage things down.  You can also lube up really, really well (I suggest coconut oil) and very gently lubricate your anus and colon to help things move through.  If you’re completely impacted, don’t delay seeing a doctor-it’s miserable having someone else dis-impact your bowels, but completely worth no longer being impacted.

Surviving life on Zofran

3. Miralax or Magnesium Citrate

Obviously you need to ok both of these with your care provider before you start taking them.  I was given magnesium citrate liquid in the Emergency Room after my bowel dis-impaction and it works well BUT it’s a little violent (and super gross to try and keep down).  My midwife suggested the miralax and I’ve found it to be more gentle.  Both are class C for pregnancy, so definitely take with caution.  I have also tried doing a saline enema but it makes me nervous every time because of the contractions it causes, and both of my midwives weren’t in love with the idea.

4. Witch Hazel

Witch hazel on a cotton ball has been the best form of relief I’ve had from the pain and hemorrhoids that the constipation has caused.  I’ve used tucks pads as well in the past, but I like the size of normal cotton balls up against my anus.  And the Thayer’s brand that I linked to is just lovely.

Along with all of the fun bowel problems, I have migraines and dizziness too.  Some things that have helped:

1. Head Ice Pack

Instead of using wet towels, or chunky ice from my freezer, having a pre-made gel soft ice pack ready to go anytime has been amazing.  A friend of mine that had HG actually got one for me and I’m in love with the immediate relief it provides.  It won’t always take all of the pain away…but it sure helps.  I’ve found icing my head/neck and then dipping my hands and feet in a hot bath helps a lot with the nasty headaches zofran (and pregnancy) cause.

Surviving life on Zofran

2. Past Tense

Past Tense is a doTerra essential oil blend specially formulated for headaches.  Almost all brands of essential oils have a headache blend.  It has always helped.  It’s never been enough with a full-fledged zofran migraine, but it cuts it down quite a bit and I worry a lot less about using it over using medicine.

3. Acetaminophen + Caffeine

I hate the taste of soda when I’m pregnant, but the way it eases that zofran headache that always seems to be there is dreamy.  When my headaches escalate to unbearable and past tense and the ice pack just aren’t taking it down to manageable, I’ve found that tylenol with some caffeine (followed by a nap) seem to usually do the trick.  I wake up feeling completely beat up and in recovery mode the next day BUT at least I was able to sleep!

I hope these tips help some other poor victims of zofran side-effects out there.  I’m so grateful to have a medication that is keeping food in me…but sometimes the side effects really get me and it’s pretty miserable.

If you’ve been on zofran for an extended period of time, what has helped you?  What can I add to my list?  Comment below!

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Amber Whitworth
    June 10, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Hi April!
    SO happy I found your blog. I’m on my third pregnancy, and miraculously DON’T have HG this time. I do a skippy dance every day just comparing this pregnancy to my previous two. I didn’t take Zofran with my first, because I didn’t have insurance that would cover it and it is priceyyyy. With my second, I felt like I was constantly oscillating between the extreme nausea and debilitating constipation, both of which make eating pure misery. I remember my husband would blend orange juice, prunes, and fiber drink mix together into a thick sludge that I would eat with a spoon. It was surprisingly delicious but consuming the whole thing was miserable. I had impacted bowels and had no idea what to do about it.
    Unfortunately, we lost that little boy a little over halfway into the pregnancy. His stillbirth was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. His story is on my blog if you’re interested: https://www.amberwhitworth.com/blog/2017/5/19/jonathans-story
    I’m extremely happy I found your blog because we have a lot in common! I, too, hail from Idaho, and I’m LDS (I guessed you were from the mention of a priesthood blessing and ward help in your homebirth story ;)). I’m planning a homebirth for this baby due in October and have found an amazing midwife in Texas (we’re moving in a few weeks!) who will help me make that dream a reality. It was your blog that helped ease some of my husband’s fears about it.
    Congratulations on being such an awesome woman, and thank you for writing!
    Best Wishes!

    • Reply
      APRIL DAVIS
      June 24, 2017 at 10:06 pm

      I’m so happy for you, thank you for your kind words!! Good luck and Congratulations!!

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