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How to Stop Throwing Up During Labor | Mother Rising

Throwing up is awful. And it’s even more miserable at the end of pregnancy while in labor. However, there are many ways to stop throwing up during labor, or at least minimize it. Before we jump in, let’s learn a little bit about why a woman may begin throwing up in labor, what it means and when it can happen. Let’s get started!

There are many ways to stop throwing up during labor, or at least minimize it. Here are the best tried and true remedies to stop throwing up during labor.

When Can Throwing Up During Labor Happen?

Vomiting during labor may come with little or no warning. Other women, however, may start out with a little nausea or gagging and then blossom into full blown vomiting. Some women are blessed to experience dry heaving as well.

Throwing up during labor can happen during any part of the experience – early, active, transition or even pushing!

In my experience, throwing up during labor happens most often right before or during transition, and less often as an early sign of labor. It’s a sign post of transition – which means things are progressing and pushing may happen sooner rather than later!

Throwing up during labor can be caused by hormonal fluctuations or even because of a vaginal exam.

Throwing up discriminates to no one and happens during any kind of childbirth – vaginal or cesarean.

Some women experience vomiting throughout their entire natural labor. And some women throw up for one labor, but not for their next.

And thankfully, many women don’t throw up at all! (Feeling queasy yet?)

Is Throwing Up During Labor Helpful?

As a doula, when I see a woman throw up in labor I get excited. No, I am not a mean, crazy doula, but an excited doula because I know vomiting can mean that TRANSITION is coming (is here?) which means PUSHING is coming which means MAMA IS ALMOST DONE! The body is doing what it’s supposed to do! Can I get an amen?!

Ladies, throwing up during labor can help things to progress. It can help speed dilation. It can even cause mom’s water to break!

If anything positive comes from feeling sick during labor, let it be encouragement that labor is progressing, you’re getting closer to the finish line and you get to meet your baby soon. This change of mindset can be that boost of morale that will fuel you through the finish line!

PRO TIP:  The puke bags  in the hospital rooms are far superior to any bowl, trashcan or toilet. These puke bags make vomiting a breeze and cleaning up vomit never looked so easy! If you feel like throwing up, find one of these bad boys – it’s your new best friend!

Remedies for Throwing Up During Labor

Here are the best remedies to minimize or stop throwing up during labor.

Stay Hydrated

Throwing up during labor can lead to dehydration, which is not helpful for mom or baby.

According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists “Without adequate nutrition, women’s bodies will begin to use fat as an energy source, increasing acidity of the blood in the mother and infant, potentially reducing uterine contractions and leading to longer labor and lower health scores in newborns. Additionally, the studies suggest that fasting can cause emotional stress, potentially moving blood away from the uterus and placenta, lengthening labor and contributing to distress of the fetus.”

Stay hydrated! When in labor you should continue to meet your daily intake of water requirements, if not even more. I like to stick to the 8 ounces of fluids per hour in labor rule.

Chew on ice if drinking isn’t working. DIY electrolyte cubes are the perfect remedy to prevent dehydration during times of nausea and vomiting.

If it comes down to it, don’t be afraid of getting a bag of IV fluids. It’s a simple fix to a potentially big problem.

Eat and Drink Bland Food and Beverages

Sometimes certain foods and beverages may be the culprit behind vomiting during labor. If this is the case, focus on drinking water instead of juices and bland foods such as crackers, broth, banana, etc. When packing a hospital bag for birth make sure to pack a variety of snacks for labor. You never know what will be most helpful!

Essential Oils

The three essential oils for labor I take to every birth are lavender, lemon and peppermint. Lemon and peppermint, but especially lemon, are perfect to help prevent, stop or ease vomiting during labor.

The easiest way to use an essential oil during labor is to sniff it straight out of the bottle or put a few drops on the cap and sniff the cap. A cotton ball works well too.

PRO TIP:  Put a drop of your most helpful essential oil on the rim of a hospital puke bag. It will help to vomit less but will also help to not smell your own vomit. Ew.

Ginger Tincture

Another remedy to alleviate throwing up during labor is to take a few drops of a ginger tincture.

You know how when you were little your mom gave you ginger ale to calm a queasy tummy? Mother knows best! Ginger has been shown to effectively help with mild vomiting and nausea.

However, conventional ginger ale likely has no ginger in it. For the full effect, you’ll want to use real ginger. A ginger tincture is easy, portable, shelf-stable and effective.

To use, put a few drops in a small amount of tea, water or juice. It’s quite strong!

Alcohol Prep Wipes

Another easy way to ease vomiting during labor is to grab one of those alcohol prep wipes, open it up and sniff it. Nurses and other care providers swear by this remedy – it works and best of all these things are always around.


I’ve heard mixed reviews on this, but for what it’s worth some women have found relief from vomiting during labor by getting in the tub or shower. Hey, it doesn’t hurt to try! One of the biggest helps during all of labor is that if something isn’t working, try something new.

I threw up during my second birth… but not while I was in the birth pool!

Cold Washcloth or Ice

For many women, a cool wash cloth on the neck or face is extremely helpful when dealing with vomiting during labor. For an added effect, add ONE drop of peppermint essential oil for a pleasant cooling sensation. (Caution:  Be sure to fold the wash cloth so that the essential oil doesn’t touch the laboring mother’s skin.)

Another way to alleviate vomiting is to place ice on the back of the neck. Of course, use a bag and/or washcloth so that the ice isn’t directly on mom’s skin. Unless she likes it! If she likes it, keep doing whatever she says.


Sometimes, it is wise and compassionate to use medicine to alleviate nausea and vomiting during labor. Talk with your care provider to determine the best course of action for you and your family.

Sometimes an antacid like Zantac can be very helpful to minimize nausea and vomiting.

However, sometimes Zantac isn’t enough and medicines like Zofran or Phenergan are needed. To read more about Zofran head on over here. From what I’ve heard, the biggest complaint with Phenergan is constipation.


Unfortunately, some women find relief from vomiting during labor only after giving birth. For those that will experience this, my heart goes to you. Stay the course, keep hydrated and know that you can do anything for a day. You’ve got this, mama!

Throwing Up During Labor

Did you throw up during labor? Did anything help? Leave me a comment and let me know your experience.


Wednesday 5th of February 2020

I vomited/dry heaved the entire 23 1/2 hours of my labor- honestly, that was the worst part of the entire pregnancy/labor/delivery experience. The doctor told me that if I got an epidural, my body would relax and I would more than likely not vomit anymore, so I got an epidural placed at 6 centimeters. The vomiting/dry heaving was not stopped, unfortunately. I don't think I would've gotten epidural if I knew it wouldn't help the vomiting. BUT that is my ONLY complaint about my entire experience.


Thursday 3rd of October 2019

Throwing up did NOT mean transition was anywhere near for me. After I first started throwing up I got to experience 23 hours of agonizing back labor as well before baby finally was born. I threw up so violently during one episode that I tore a muscle in my side.

Lindsey VanAlstyne

Tuesday 8th of October 2019

Ugh, I'm so sorry. That sounds like an extremely challenging situation in an already challenging situation. Was there anything you found to be helpful, even if only slightly?


Sunday 15th of September 2019

Thank you for the tips! I'm almost 12 weeks pregnant with my 4th child and trying to be even more prepared this time around. My first 2, both boys, I vomited when the contractions got stronger, but as soon as I got the epidural with both, no more vomiting! With my second son I was so dehydrated coming into the hospital they hooked me up to iv fluids, and before the epidural with him, I vomited one last time and my water broke! With my 3rd, a girl, I didn't vomit and breathed through the contractions alot easier, but only labored 5 hrs before I had to have a c section due to marginal cord insertion. I do wonder if there is a difference in having a boy or girl whether you vomit more? I know that every birth experience is different for every mom of course so this might have been a coincidence in my experiences.

Lindsey VanAlstyne

Monday 16th of September 2019

I hope you have a better experience for your 4th!!


Monday 18th of March 2019

I vomited from early stage, no dialation but heavy vomiting and strong contractions . Thought I was dialated and further along so went to hospital and was admitted. Anti-nausea meds’ made me worse although after about 20 hrs in hospital and still no dialation, I was well for a wee while and got water and a banana down. IV fluids started to get me hydrated too. Around 24 hrs after admittance I was 1 cm. About 8 hrs later I was at 5 cm. I was sick throughout. The oral anti-sick meds made me very sick again otherwise I think it would have subsided during transition. I didn’t have any pain meds as I knew I couldn’t keep them down and was struggling with my breathing and pain as was new to being being a VBAC. They only gave me about 45 min to push and then baby was born in theatre with forceps assistance. Epidural took away pain & sickness immediately.


Tuesday 8th of January 2019

When I entered the hospital the doctor did a vaginal exam and probably intentionally or inadvertently ruptured my membranes. I immediately came up off of that table attempting to get to the bathroom and vomited. That was 11:30pm. I vomited with every single contraction, including the 1 hour of pushing, until she was born at 3:05 AM. My sister was the labor and delivery nurse who took care of me, and she grinned when I started vomiting, and said, "Yeah. I like that." She was right. 3 hours and 35 minutes. She told my parents that I puked my baby out. Indeed.