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Newly pregnant, emetophobic and feeling desperately scared and trapped

(36 Posts)
sw25 Sat 09-Feb-13 18:29:08

I'm now 7 weeks pregnant with my first child and the nausea well and truly kicked in this week. The problems is, I am severely emetophobic, to the point where I haven't thrown up for over 20 years. I put off pregnancy until now because of this life-controlling phobia (I'm 35) but knew it was now or never if I ever wanted to give my DH a child. It happened on our first attempt, which I know I should feel grateful for, but it was a massive shock.

Felt great for the first two weeks after finding out, and ate healthily. But now I just feel sick to my stomach, all day, every day. There is literally no respite from this hideous on-the-brink-of-vomiting feeling and it's terrifying for someone who suffers such a crippling phobia. I'm forcing myself to eat small snacks every few hours (crackers, dry cereal, toast, white rice etc) and I'm even taking anti-emetic medicines prescribed by my doc, but nothing is working. I haven't actually been sick yet but fear it is inevitable.

My biggest fear is that this is the start of HG - if I got that, it would kill me. I have so much respect for women who survive an HG pregnancy.

My long-suffering husband is getting the brunt of it all. I can't leave the house or even sofa as I feel so rotten. And the worst thing of all is this is only the start - it could go on for weeks, or even the entire pregnancy.

I suffer from extreme anxiety/panic attacks and have been crying hysterically most nights this week. I feel trapped by the pregnancy, and don't feel any bond or feelings for the baby. It sounds terrible but I feel almost like I've been infected with a stomach virus that's going to last for months. I feel I need some kind of psychiatric help, but doctor hasn't been much help on that front. The last few nights I've considered abortion, which makes me feel terrible. But that is how scared I am. Really don't know what to do.

SoYo Tue 12-Feb-13 19:38:22

I am now 37 weeks pregnant and have never had emetophobia but was very sick until 16 weeks. I felt the same as you in terms of no positive feelings towards the baby/pregnancy (to the point that I thought of it, semi-jokingly only, as a parasite and often referred to it as such). It's difficult when you're so ill to convince yourself to have positive feelings towards something that seems so far off and unreal but is currently making you feel like you have the world's worst hangover every day. I am now well in pregnancy and have been since then but still don't feel massive rushes of excitement. I definitely now feel very protective towards the Bubba and have done since it started moving and got past the 24 week mark but I don't feel overwhelming love and I don't think I will until after delivery. I was really worried about this but thanks to honest friends, mumsnet and various other things I now know this is totally normal and not something to feel guilty about!

The really positive thing about you is that you recognise that you need some extra help with this, which is very reassuring! Your best bet is a referral to your local perinatal mental health team which either your midwife or GP can sort (I would advise asking to see a different GP as they will form part of your support network).

sw25 Sun 17-Mar-13 11:43:03

Hi - OP here. Just wanted to say a massive thanks to all if the lovely ladies who responded. I have re-read your posts over and over again in the last 6 weeks, as I have been really struggling. I'm now nearly 13 weeks and still feeling sick every day. However, I am managing to eat more. Fish fingers, mash and beans last night, which I actually enjoyed eating! Hoping I might be turning a corner although feeling pretty grim again this morning. It seems to come and go. Seeing mental health team this week and doctor is coming to see me at home tomorrow to assess me. Just keep fantasizing about pottering around the garden in a few months with my bump and feeling the sunshine on my grey, gaunt face. Anyway, thanks SO much to you all. You've given me the strength to think maybe I can do this...

lucybrad Sun 17-Mar-13 14:06:09

Emetophobic with three pregnancies (one twin preg) and so far touch wood - chronic nausea from 6.5 till 9 weeks each time then ok, but feeling offish. Not been sick yet. I think an emetophobic spends so much time not trying to get sick they may (hopefully) have a bit more control. Its shit that your feeling crap but it doesnt have to last till 12 weeks or longer it may be like mine and stop at 9. Hang on in there. You'll beat this. You will.

lucybrad Sun 17-Mar-13 14:06:53

bugger - just read your last post. oh well my advice may help other emets lol

Saundy Sun 17-Mar-13 16:38:29

See if your local NHS trust has an IAPTS department, if they do you should be able to self refer & bypass your Dr if you feel they aren't being helpful.

The important thing is that you are aware of the problem & willing to seek help so that's a huge problem already overcome.

It must be terrible but hang in there, you'll get through this.

Congratulations with the pregnancy & good luck.

Saundy Sun 17-Mar-13 16:40:05

Haha lucyb me too!

Glad to see you've turned a corner smile

Smitten1981 Sun 17-Mar-13 16:44:30

I've had counselling for years for a huge fear of being sick and others being sick. I suffered from terrible panic attacks every time I went out in public in case I or someone else was sick.

The only thing that has helped me is hypnotherapy. It hasn't gone completely, but it's about 90% better and totally manageable. I'm 9 weeks pregnant now and although I feel very sick most days I haven't been sick yet. I still get a bit panicky about it, but I think feeling sick is a lot worse than actually vomiting.

Anyway, I'd totally recommend hypnotherapy. Works a treat! Good luck with your pregnancy x

sw25 Sun 05-Oct-14 04:03:07

I know this is an old post but wanted to bookend it with what happened to me, in case anyone else is pregnant, emetophobic and freaking out like I was.

The bad news is that the nausea never went away, it lasted all day, every day for 37 weeks when my son was born. I struggled massively during this time but had good support from my GP and CMHT. I was put on sedatives and strong anti emetic medicines to get me through. And despite being bed bound most of the time, and having several very close calls, I was never actually sick.

My advice would be to tell everyone caring for you about your fear and how serious it is. That means your midwife, GP, health visitor and the team looking after you when giving birth. I had a fantastic consultant looking after me when I gave birth, she made sure I was pumped full of anti sickness medicine and was so kind and patient with me. My beautiful son would not be here if it wasn't for her.

So if you're going through this, you CAN do it. Bringing my son home from hospital was the most emotional and wonderful moment of my life, after 9 months of hell, he was finally here. Please feel free to PM me if tout want any encouragement or support. I truly believe I have the most severe firm of this phobia, so if I can get through pregnancy and giving birth, then any emetophobe can! Now just trying to get to grips with HIM getting ill, awaiting his first sickness bug, which I'm sure is on its way!

ladyflower23 Sun 05-Oct-14 09:48:10

Another emetophobe!! Have been lucky as only had moderate nausea. Only felt in danger of being sick once in Sainsburys but it passed. I had CBT many years ago and it was useful and I would go back to your gp and ask him to put you on a list for this. Please make it clear to him how this is effecting you. Just giving you anti emetics is not going to help the problem which is your fear of being sick. CBT taught me to think that if I felt sick I might be sick but then it would be over and I would feel better and I wouldn't die! It is a very difficult way to think when you have just spent your whole life avoiding the feeling and anxiety. But the whole avoidance thing feeds the phobia. I reached a point a few years ago when I thought about how much time I had spent worrying about being sick every day and the number of times I have actually been sick (which is currently 0 in 20 years) and realized how much of my life and happiness I had wasted. Since then everytime I start to worry I think about this and it stops me taking it any further. I am in no way 'cured' but it does not rule my life in the way it did. Some people in my office had norovirus recently and I still managed to go to work and not have any panic attacks. Ten years ago I would not have been able to do that. Being sick is not the problem. Emetephobia is the problem. i know that's hard to hear. Please try and get some treatment for your condition so you can enjoy your pregnancy and your baby. Good luck to you I really feel for you and know how utterly life controlling this horrible condition is but it CAN improve with the right help I promise. Don't give up xxxx

ladyflower23 Sun 05-Oct-14 10:10:13

I've just read your update post op and realized you now turned a corner so maybe my advice no longer useful but really glad to hear things are on the up and you're getting some help ��

thatthingonyournose Sun 05-Oct-14 12:24:29

As a fellow emetophobe may I advise you that there are some over the counter and some prescription anti-emetics that can help, if you think 'it' is about to happen. And you can take them in pregnancy. In the first trimester I had Dramamine (travel sickness pill) for my morning sickness (took it maybe three times in the first 12 weeks, so not a lot) and it stopped it. Now in third trimester I am on stemetil (prochlorperazine maleate) given to me by my obstetrician for late pregnancy nausea. Both work and are very reassuring and allow me to enjoy the pregnancy.

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