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Surviving childbirth with emetophobia!

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Emetophobia is an extreme fear of vomiting. I've had this phobia ever since I was in grade 4, and possibly sooner than that! Someone with emetophobia will do everything in their power to not throw up, ever! And can go YEARS without actually throwing up. If the phobia is severe, like in my case here, they will even avoid any and all situations that could make them nauseous/sick. Forget going to the fair, riding at the back of a bus, going to crowded places (sometimes if the phobia is severe enough you can develop agoraphobia and social anxiety), taking an elevator, eating in public, eating in general, never going near sick people or hospitals, going to the dentist and PREGNANCY!

Forget pregnancy you say? Well...I did have a huge fear of becoming pregnant all my life, until one day in my early twenties I was hit with the most intense urge to have a baby. It wasn't something I could ignore, and it took over my life. So in that case it was easy for me to get pregnant because I wanted it so bad! But as everybody knows - pregnancy comes with "morning sickness", which you cannot avoid no matter what. I went into my first pregnancy knowing this, but I would do everything in my power to not throw up. I did it! And during labor I had a great epidural that worked wonderfully.

I am documenting my second labor/childbirth here, as it did not go as well as my first. The pregnancy for my second child was unplanned but I was still overjoyed to know I'd be having another baby! I knew what to expect and the nausea that was about to come. I got past it...somehow! But when full blown labor hit, it hit hard and fast. I got admitted to the hospital at 5 centimeters! So I was already halfway there. Fortunately it slowed down a bit and I was able to breath and get some sleep that night at the hospital, till 4 in the morning when it hit again, and this time it didn't stop.

My anxiety was OK until I realized how fast my labor was progressing. I had planned to have another epidural and every 30 minutes that passed by and no one came to give it to me, I panicked even more. I had not planned at all to do this naturally, and I was getting so scared that I was going to have to.

You get to a certain point in your labor where the contractions get so strong, everything just wants to come out of everywhere, at the same time. At one point I had staggered off to the bathroom, alone, and locked the door behind me. In complete and utter panic mode i fall to the floor having the most intense contraction ever, with a bowl under my face just knowing I would throw up..SOMEHOW, and really I have no idea how I can possibly have this much control lol, I didn't throw up..but it decided to come out the other end. It only got harder from there, I had lost control and was not able to stop panicking no matter what. I spent a lot of time in the bathroom, alone, when I should have been in my bed getting the help from the nurses and my family that I needed. But when panic mode hits me, I just try to run away.

Finally I get my epidural although I am in transition at this time! And all is well for a little while until I realize I can still feel every contraction and only my left leg is frozen. And with every contraction, my stomach would heave along with it. Which made pushing nearly impossible.


I had my spray bottle with me the entire time.. I often would use that thing when I had a bad panic attack, I'd just spray myself silly trying to shock myself out of panic mode.. It never really worked but I used it as a slight distraction. During this labor though, it did not work lol But I tried anyway, I just wanted to feel anything other than my stomach lurching with every contraction!!

I had a huge metal bowl in case I had to barf, and with every contraction I'd stick my head in it, and tell everyone to leave the room lol. As if that would happen hahah. But really I could not concentrate AT ALL on pushing the baby out because of how scared I was of being sick.

When it was time to push I couldn't do it. The doctors and nurses were very frustrated with me, they were getting angry, and I just wanted to get the heck out of there.

Eventually the doctor says they're going to have to use a vacuum to help get my baby out and I let them. It still took forever because I just couldn't push because of my heaving stomach and my panicking.


IS THAT A BABY!? Somehow, she came out! The vacuum sure left it's mark on her head though :( And she was pretty bruised from that for days afterwards.. I felt awful.

She was fine though, and I ended up being fine too. But because of my embarrassment over my phobia, I had kept that a secret from everyone, when I should have just told them. So the doctors thought there was seriously something wrong with me and had me 'checked' out. All I told everyone was I had anxiety problems. It's a big regret to this day, that I never just told the truth.

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If you have emetophobia and are trying to get pregnant, or already are, please keep a few things in mind. Do not expect things to go exactly as planned, and prepare yourself for anything. If you are planning on having an epidural please also prepare yourself in case you cannot get it for whatever reason, and always know that you may have to give birth naturally. Please do what I didn't, and TELL YOUR DOCTORS and all the nurses that you have emetophobia! And see if you can take anything for your panic attacks during labor. That is the one thing I regret most, I didn't tell anyone, and I know it would have gone a lot smoother if I had!

You should tell your doctor as well about your phobia and panic attacks while your pregnant, or attempting to get pregnant. You do not need the stress during this time and panicking for 9 months isn't good, for anyone!

Know that in the end, your going to have a beautiful baby! No matter what, you are going to get through it!

Thanks for readin!


lelliottxx on October 11, 2010:

yeah i found it really hard in school, and through my GCSE's i was a mess and im sure ive got abit of agraphobia now because i just lock myself away.

im more afraid of myself being sick, its insane how scared i am that i'll be sick, but im also afraid of others being sick, everything about sick really.

that's good to know that as you got older you learnt to deal with it better, i hope im that way, it sounds like we had similar situations when you were my age and you probably felt like it would never get better like i do.

oh im sorry to hear you have had near death experiences, i hope your ok now!

im trying a form of treatment called EMDR for my phobia which ive only just started doing and im hopeing it will work, but like you im on medication as well at the moment for my anxiety but it's not working so well for me, i just hope this gets better one day! and your right you don't want to live everyday panicking and im hoping this will make me stronger.

thank you :)

lelliottxx on October 11, 2010:


im not sure if you read my story on emetophobia but everything you described in the beginning is excacily what i go through, ive had this phobia since i was 2 and im so scared of being sick to the point where i would rather die then actually be sick.

i have thought a lot about what my life will be like in the future with this, espeshially when it comes the time i want to start a family and your story helped me feel a bit better about it, i hope i can put it before my phobia one day, i think about it a lot.

i just want to say that your so brave going through that with your phobia and then telling your story on here, it just shows how brave you were, you made it through the labor and now you have 2 wounderful children! well done! and i hope the phobia gets easier for you, i know how horrible it can be to live with sometimes!

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