Sick with Fear About Morning Sickness? Tips for Minimising Symptoms When You Have Emetophobia

Posted on: 6 July 2016

Morning sickness is no walk in the park for most expectant mothers but for those with Emetophobia, the prospect can be cripplingly terrifying. Those who suffer from Emetophobia have an intense fear of vomiting, seeing others be sick or of feeling nauseous themselves.

Understandably, this can cause a great deal of anxiety for pregnant emetophobes and can even discourage some women from having children because of it. It's helpful to remember that while morning sickness is a common symptom of pregnancy, it is in no way guaranteed and some women never experience it at all.

To help those with Emetophobia feel less fearful about their pregnancy, there are a few ways you can lessen the chance of feeling nauseous and minimise symptoms as best you can. Try the following steps to reduce your morning sickness.

Side-step strong odours

Some women become better at detecting smells during pregnancy and since nausea has been linked to odours, steering clear of incredibly strong stenches can only be a good thing for morning sickness. Odour rather than taste is known to trigger nausea during morning sickness, so you shouldn't be fearful about foods or herbal remedies that smell pleasant to you. (In fact, regular snacking is a good thing for morning sickness, as you'll see below!)

When possible, it's wise to avoid overly-strong, pungent odours such as perfumes, spoiled foods, spices, cigarette smoke etc. Cooking certain foods may also be a trigger for your nausea. If this is the case, stay outside in the fresh air whilst a homemade meal is being prepared. Every pregnant woman has different odour triggers, so once you identify what yours are, do your best to avoid them to see your nausea symptoms reduce.

Snack regularly

This tip may sound counterproductive to reducing nausea, but having an empty stomach can actually make morning sickness worse. This is because the acids in your stomach have nothing to work on, except for the stomach lining itself. And this can worsen the effects of nausea.

In light of this, it's important to never skip meals and ensure you always have some healthy snacks to hand. Opt for something fairly basic and not too fattening like salt crackers or small fruit portions to munch on throughout the day as well as first thing in the morning or before bed. Always having something on your stomach will help you feel less nauseous.

Avoid PC monitor glare

There's a reason why people are discouraged from an over exposure to computer and TV screens. It can leas to eye strain and cause melatonin levels to drop which disrupts your body clock. It's possible that these effects can also aggravate morning sickness in pregnant women, since eye strain can trigger headaches and migraines (both of which go hand in hand with nausea). Also, a disrupted body clock and poor quality sleep can cause intestinal discomfort and cause you to feel more irritable, which in turn may cause stress-induced nausea.

While you're limiting your exposure to technology, try to stay occupied with more tactile activities to keep your mind off feelings of nausea. Reading a book, going for short walks, doing a puzzle or painting can all help. Gentle exercise has also been shown to help with morning sickness. Engaging in fun activities may help to silence your anxieties about feeling sick and may help to reduce the severity of nausea when it comes. Do whatever most relaxes you and helps you stay mindful and in the present.

Extra tips:

  • Get up slowly after eating or getting out of bed. Take your time.
  • Stay hydrated or suck on ice cubes made from water or fruit juice when a full drink doesn't appeal.
  • Try to get at least 8 hours shut eye and take naps throughout the day. Also, try sleeping with a maternity body pillow that can properly support your back and stomach.

While these tips can help to minimise nausea and the chance of vomiting during morning sickness, they may not work for everyone. As of yet, there is unfortunately no solid cure for morning sickness. However, sufferers of Emetophobia do not have to deal with this aspect of their pregnancy alone.

In addition to the daily tips mentioned above, treatment is always available to you in the form of counselling and behavioural therapy, so be sure to visit your local medical clinic. There, a healthcare professional can refer you to a specialist who will help you to cope with your phobia throughout your pregnancy-- allowing you to come out on the other side braver and focused on the positives of motherhood.