Midwifery Today Community

A home for friends of birth
Attend the Midwifery Today conference in Australia

Management of excessive vomiting in labor

Last post 09-21-2012 5:32 PM by Aella. 4 replies.
Page 1 of 1 (5 items)
Sort Posts: Previous Next
  • 08-21-2012 6:29 PM

    • Aella
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 08-21-2012
    • Posts 3

    Management of excessive vomiting in labor


    I'm not a midwife, but I'm a mother expecting her second child, and I'm currently trying to explore all my options for a natural birth.

    At my daughter's birth, I started vomiting at the beginning of active labor, and nearly continuously for four or five hours until I ran out of everything - hydration, energy, courage - and begged for an epidural (it was an hospital birth, but at an awesome community hospital with a "midwifery" approach to birthing, and with the help of a doula). I also experienced the same thing with a late miscarriage, a few years ago, and used to vomit during heavy periods as a teenager. So I have good reasons to expect that this will happen again unless I'm better equiped for it.

    This time around, I'd really like to get a better birth experience, and to be able to experience a epidural-free birth. I've been researching different sources, but cannot find much information about that problem (most sources indicate that vomiting is normal in transition, and a sign of good progress, but do not indicate how to mitigate it).

    I've asked medical friends for the official medical point of view, and what I've been told is that anti-emetic medication IS an option, but could cause sedation in the baby. And that the epidural is generally much more effective in dealing with excessive vomiting (which was true in my case, but kind of misses the point of what I'm trying to achieve). The other medical option is to have IV fluids, like I did with my previous birth, and just bear with it.

    So, given that the medical options are not particularly attractive, what else would you suggest?

    Note that I will be delivering at the same hospital, and they are pretty much open to all alternative treatment options, as long as the baby is not in danger. They also encourage eating and drinking during labor and have lots of options available for non-medical pain management (motion balls, therapeutic baths). I will also be assisted by the same doula, who is also researching for solutions on her side.

    Thanks a lot!


    Filed under:
  • 08-31-2012 11:57 PM In reply to

    Re: Management of excessive vomiting in labor

    I have not seen such a sever case a vomiting during labour, but thought I might make some suggestions.  I was thinking about acupuncture, both prenatally and during labour to help.  I think it would be worth looking into as I have seen it help women with nausea during labour.  It sounds like your hospital would be open to another professional being involved.  I love to hear about hospitals like this!  I'm curious about this myself now and may try to research it more.  If I come up with anything I will let you know.  Good luck to you!


  • 09-01-2012 2:20 PM In reply to

    • Aella
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 08-21-2012
    • Posts 3

    Re: Management of excessive vomiting in labor

    Thanks for your feedback. I had thought about accupressure points, but did not think about consulting with an accupuncturist ahead of time. That's a good idea! And if she isn't available at the birth, at least she could teach my husband how to apply pressure to the correct points himself.

    (And yes, my hospital is awesome. The staff is relaxed, and very much into expectant management instead of preemptive treatment, up to date as to modern obstetric research, and very in tune with attachment parenting. The only thing that would make it more awesome would be a partnership with a midwifery practice. But midwives are still rare in my area (Quebec, Canada), and in high demand, so they mostly focus on birth centers and home births.)

  • 09-05-2012 9:25 AM In reply to

    • midwifea
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-12-2009
    • Kailua Kona, HI
    • Posts 475

    Re: Management of excessive vomiting in labor

    Just had a birth with lots of vomiting in labor, Nux Vomica homeopathic, constant coconut water sips and some ginger candy to suck on really helped this mama.  I know one midwife who said her mama with a subsequent birth after a previous one with excessive vomiting, would take tincture of cannabis every hour to prevent emesis in labor and it worked but not sure you could do that in a hospital,  I had a mama who was sick for 9 months and the only thing that helped her to keep eating was vaporizing cannabis, she did that before I arrived in labor but no more after I got there,  I just made her drink constantly and coconut water seems to be very helpful and easy on the tummy. I am not advocating cannabis just reporting that some mamas use it in extreme situations and it works.


    "The Voice

    There is a voice inside of you
    That whispers all day long,
    "I feel this is right for me,
    I know that this is wrong."
    No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
    Or wise man can decide
    What's right for you--just listen to
    The voice that speaks inside."
    — Shel Silverstein
  • 09-21-2012 5:32 PM In reply to

    • Aella
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 08-21-2012
    • Posts 3

    Re: Management of excessive vomiting in labor

    Thanks for the feedback. Here is what I've gathered so far in terms of information:

    - My doctor is (to her credit) not a big fan of anti-emetic drugs in late labor, because she's concerned about sleepiness of the baby, and the potential impact on bonding/establishing breastfeeding. However, we both agreed that if vomitting started in early labor, as it did last time, a small dose of anti-emetic might be a good starting point to control the problem.

    -Aromatherapy is supposed to have good effects. Peppermint is supposed to have good results, so peppermint oil will go in my labor bag.

    - Hypnotherapy has also been shown to have good results in controlling excess vomitting in labor. I've downloaded a track from HypnoBabies for managing nausea, and will give that a try.

    - This blog post seems to indicate that low-ph, protein rich snacks, like soy-based smoothies, might help settle the stomach. Given that I craved silken tofu right after I got my epidural (and it tasted amazing), my hunch is that my body might need easy-to-digest energy, and something to neutralize the acidity. So I'll try to plan for that, and have my doula and husband responsible for prompting me gently to eat throughout labor. If anything, I'll have something to vomit instead of bile and blood.

    I'm due in January, so I'll try to let you know of my experience afterwards.

Page 1 of 1 (5 items)
Subscribe to Midwifery Today magazine
Contact UsTerms of UsePrivacy PolicyAbout Us
© 2014 Midwifery Today, Inc.