Does Chemo compare in any way to really bad morning sickness

Hi I’m due to start chemo on June 7th. With all 3 of my pregnancies I had terrible sickness. I vomited between 1 and 20 times a day for the whole 9 months, plus tiredness etc. I’m wondering if anyone who has been through chemo and hyper emesis could let me know if the experience is in any way comparable? I guess I’m just trying to imagine what its going to be like. I keep saying to people that chemo cant be worse than my pregnancies but maybe I’m deluding myself??

I didn’t get morning sickness, but for me FEC felt like a combination of a bad hangover and the first trimester of pregnancy. I was only sick a couple times on chemo - the anti-emetics worked well for me. TAX on the other hand felt like being hit by a brick wall!

Not sure if that helps - what chemo are you going to be on?

Hi there!

Bad news I’m afraid - I had horrendous morning sickness/nausea with my twins pregnancy and had even worse nausea with FEC. Luckily my oncologist prescribed Emend for 2 & 3 which made a huge difference.

That said it only lasted a few days, you (probably) won’t be ill for three weeks. With successive chemos it gets progressively more difficult to ‘bounce back’ and the unwell feeling lasts longer.

The evidence for a correlation between morning sickness and chemo nausea is not proven but there is lots of anecdotal evidence.

I survived TAX by a really strict diet designed to look after my liver, but wasn’t doing it on FEC, so cn’t tell you if it would have made a difference.

Good luck.

Before I started chemo (FEC + Taxol) my onc asked if I suffered from morning sickness or travel sickness as there was a possibility that if I did I might be more susceptable to chemo induced nausea. I had no morning sickness in either of my pregnancies but do suffer from travel sickness.

I didn’t experience any great degree of nausea and never vomited during chemo but the big difference between chemo sickness, travel sickness and most especially morning sickness is that with chemo you can be given really strong and effective anti-nausea medication.

Like other posters I was given Emend which is said to be about the best available and as I said I had no problems at all. (I also had Kytril and domperidone during chemo and for 3 days after, though I didn’t take the domeperidone once home as I didn’t need it).

If you are concerned about nausea then discuss it with your onc/chemo nurses and definitely ask about Emend if you are not offered it from the start.

I haven’t had any children so no morning sickness but I do suffer from travel sickness which I think is similar.

however with Chemo I have had no sickness at all. Slight nausea for the first day but as everyone has said the anti sickness drugs given are brilliant and work really well - I too have domperidone too but only need to take very occassionaly. Advice is to take all the anti sickness stuff they give you for the couple of days after Chemo(even if you don’t feel sick) and this prevents it - the domperidone is just a back up for the rest of the cycle.

I had morning sickness through 4 pregnancies (though not hyper emesis) and have always suffered with travel sickness- but I was not sick at all with chemotherapy-& did not even feel sick- so it really isn’t inevitable.

I was OK with FEC but with the dreaded Tax, I had a week or so of days each cycle when even though I had no nausea, I did feel really 'orrible- exhaustion, but being unable to sleep and all food and drink tasting vile.
I think my onc 's cocktail of anti-emetics, steroids etc worked really well- but most people seem to be ill with Tax .
However… we ARE all different and some people do escape relatively unscathed: you may be one of the lucky ones- do hope so.

Almost the first question onc asked me was about morning sickness, which I never had (3 kids). She said she therefore wouldn’t expect me to be sick on FEC, & I never was, although I did take the domperione for the prescribed 3 days to be on the safe side. That’s probably not cheered you up at all, but as someone else has mentioned at least you can take something for it, which you couldn’t when pregnant. TAX they told me is not a ‘sicky’ treatment. With FEC I would get ill 2 days after treatment for a couple of days, then be well until the next one. The side effects of TAX kick in quicker & last longer & it does seem to be cumulative, I felt not completely recovered from one when it was time for the next. But here I am, having survived to the end, & you will do the same.
Best of luck with it

Thanks everyone, its amazing to post a question and get so many thoughtful and useful replies. It looks like the drugs are the key! I certainly couldnt have any anti nausea medication when I was pregnant.
I probably ought to stop trying to guess what it is going to be like and enjoy the next couple of weeks!

nowhere near as bad, i am sick at everything, but only threw up once the night of the chemo, and ( sorry to be graphic) but unlike prenancy sickness and travel sickness, throwing up actually helped and stopped me feeling sick for a while. I was nauseus for a week or so but low level not acute.


i had terrible morning sickness with my pregnancy. Was in and out of hospital all the time with severe dehydration. Was always put on a drip.

Anyway, before i started the FEC i told the chemo team how bad my morning sickness had been so they gave me lots of anti sickness meds, which really helped.


I was sick as you could possibly be with my second (twin) pregnancy and I am generally a ‘sicky’ person. I have migraines which always involve vomiting etc. Basically if something is going to affect me it will be in my stomach and I will throw up.

I told this to my Oncologist and she prescribed extra anti-sick meds. I had 12 doses of chemo and I wasn’t sick once. I felt a bit queasy sometimes, but seriously - in all the time I had my chemo (6 months of it) - I wasn’t sick one time.

In fact I’d be more prepared for constipation than sickness. Get yourself a stock of prunes, senokot etc etc because I’d say your anti-sick meds will be so effective constipation is WAY more likely.

However, if you experienced things tasting all wrong during your pregnancy (I did - metallic taste etc) then be prepared for that. I did find that the first week after each dose had me starving hungry because of the steroids and yet everything tasted wrong.

Not great, but it does pass.

Thanks everyone. Its really reassuring that it doesnt sound as bad.

I’ll stock up on those prunes.

My nice nurse said that if you suffered with sickenss with pregnancy it is likley you will with chemo. She also said people with bad travel sickness- me!-also suffer but i was never sick once.

I think chemo feels like a a hangover mixed with early pregnancy.

Good luck
Its doable (just) and it seems to go quite quickly!