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Pregnancy and coping with panic attacks - pls help

(7 Posts)
pregnantsally Fri 16-Sep-11 14:55:30

I have never posted on mumsnet but I am feeling so overwhelmed I don't know what else to do. I am nearly 37 weeks pregnant with my first baby and I have a history of panic attacks. I have been managing to cope without medication (I weened myself off of citalopram back in January) but I am starting to feel swamped. I can't seem to switch my brain off and added to the insomnia, pregnancy symptoms etc I feel like I am losing control.

I am anxious about everything - the babies health, the birth, not bonding with the baby - I am trying to talk myself out of the panic and ride it out but I think I am on the verge of a meltdown. I just want it all to stop for a while. It would be nice to be sedated for the next 4 weeks.

I feel like I am battling with the health people - my midwifes are unhelpful and when I was due to see an obstetrician I was palmed off to a junior doctor - who didn't listen and took the view that I wanted an elective caesaerean because it is fashionable (my reasons are medical - history of strep b- but she was not interested in this or my history of anxiety).

I am tired of this and cannot fight everyone and the panic all the time.

I listened to a hypnotherapy CD this morning and it helped a bit but even doing that took a lot of effort and I stuggled to breathe - i don't know what to do anymore.

Please can someone advise how I can get through this - positive stories and coping tips would be good.

munkiii Fri 16-Sep-11 16:01:02

Sorry to 'post and run' but couldn't see you unanswered.

I really want you to get the help you need so am bumping for you and also wondering if you would consider putting your post in 'chat' as well as you may get more replies?

I hope you get the help you need.

pinkypig Fri 16-Sep-11 20:47:39

Hi, sorry you are going through this.
Are you registered/being treated by a psychiatrist? If not, I would go to your GP asap and get a referral.
Consider re-starting some medication if you and your psych agree.
I took anti-d's for anxiety/insomnia in 2 of my pregnancies and without it I would have been a total mess.
Good Luck. x

ToPeeOrNotToPee Wed 21-Sep-11 10:08:06

So sorry you're going through this while pregnant. I have suffered from panic attacks since aged 6. Only when I got to 22 did I realise I couldn't live like this anymore.

A wonderful Gp referred me to a CBT therapist. CBT changes how you think about things which then changes your behaviour.

Please see your Gp and ask about CBT

Good luck, you're not alone x

paranoidandroidwreckmyownlife Wed 21-Sep-11 11:14:19

Hopefully I can answer all your questions in one go. Firstly have a very unMN type (((HUG))) The fact that you are worrying about bonding with your baby means you care, you will be fine, you will have a bond and be a great

You need to call your midwife today or doctor and ask for an urgent referal to your local perinatal mental health team. They specialise in helping us worriers through pregnancy and beyond. I took AD's when pregnant with 2 of my DC's, then changed back to my regular ones when DC's were about 6wks old. If you plan to BF, Kellymom website has a good list of medication that is ok to use when BF. I'm still feeding DD at 17m on Lofepramine and also Propranalol for anxiety-panic attacks.

You won't need a CSection for Strep B, (and you wouldn't want the hellish recovery if you don't have to), I've tested positive for it and have had IV antibiotics during labour.
Try calling or emailing the head of midwifery at the hospital and ask them what their policy is for Strep B. Explain you have a history and are suffering from anxiety as well and just want to know that some safeguards will be put in place for your baby. It may be worth asking for a new Strep B swab test a few weeks before due date, as it is entirely possible to be negative after being previously positive.
Happy to chat again if it helps, you WILL get through this, and have a beautiful baby to hold soon.x

SteveBrad Mon 26-Sep-11 19:47:02


I saw your post and some of the replies and thought I would offer some advice. I am a Psychiatric Nurse working for a Perinatal Mental Health Team. I have read through the post on Kellymom and much of the info is ok, but this is an American Website so the drug names are different and the licensing for medication in America is also different (FDA).

There are number of issues with breast feeding and medication of any kind.

The first issue is the balancing of risk. What do I mean by this, well there are risks to breastfeeding whilst on a medication and there are risks to not breastfeeding. Let me try and be clearer?

Most medications including Antidepressants are passed in breast milk. The amount depends on you, your diet, the dose of medication, other medications you might be taking (these can affect the level of other drugs in your body). Then there is the issue of if you are established on a medication and breastfeeding or just starting and breastfeeding. Yes its quite complex.

The other issue is if you don't take medication but need it and breastfeed, because stress hormones such as Cortisol can also be passed in breast milk and some studies have shown some detriment to the infant also.

The important rule I think and what I would be considering with a new mum is a/. have i tried everything else? Ask your GP for counselling or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Have I had my bloods tested for Thyroid and Anaemia, the World Health Organisation estimate the rate of Nutritional Anaemia in new mums to be almost 60%. Both of these issues can affect mood and Thyroid can cause Anxiety.

In terms of medication when breastfeeding, if you take 20mg of a medication, much of this will be passed through, most of the anti depressants show in breast milk between 4% and 8% of the mothers dose. Many of them are hardly detectable in the babies blood serum (Show in blood testing).

In the UK we use ToxBase as professionals which is the UK Territology database and uses the latest research findings. We also use the Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines (2010).

Certainly the NICE Guidelines (2007) state that Sertraline is an effective and safe Antidepressant for pregnancy and Breastfeeding. In pregnancy Paroxetine should be avoided but it is safe in breastfeeding as far as the literature suggests.

No one drug is licensed for use in pregnancy and breastfeeding in terms of Anti Depressants. This is because we cannot ethically or legally do a study where with give pregnant and breastfeeding mums medication to see what effect it has on the baby. But it is estimated that of all the defects and malformations in new born babies (about 1 in 40 pregnancies) only 5% are linked to medications.

I would disagree with the point on Kellymom about the time frames for SSRI's to work. We would suggest that any Antidepressant (SSRI) will take between 4-8 weeks to be effective and the first 2 weeks can make you feel worse.

I hope this helps and hasn't confused you further, but there is help available. Please talk to your Midwife, GP and/or Health Visitor.

stella1w Mon 26-Sep-11 22:59:35

I had panic attacks and anxiety in my first pg and was absolutely fine as soon as the baby arrived and bonded fine.
However, I had a very stressful delivery with my second child due to an unbelievably aggressive and bullying midwife and believe this triggered the PND I now struggle with.
Which is to say I think you should get your GP onside NOW to get more sympathetic treatment from the midwives etc. If necessary change hospitals and if you have enough money, go private if you can. I really wish I had done that.

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