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Diazepam in pregnancy to treat insomnia. AIBU to be scared of taking it?

(30 Posts)
WelliesAndPyjamas Thu 18-Sep-08 15:57:18

I'm 17 wks pregnant and am having terrible trouble sleeping - I sleep for 2 or 3 hours then I am wide awake for about 4 hours before I can start to fall asleep again briefly until it is time to wake up. I've tried everything that is normally suggested and nothing. I'm getting quite sick of the taste of chamomille tea now!!

I mentioned this to my ante-natal doctor yesterday and he prescribed 2mg Diazepam, one to be taken when required at bedtime. Now bear in mind this was through a language barrier so whilst I did double check with him that this dose was safe, we were not able to have an in depth discussion about risks and side effects. Sooooo I just googled diazepam in pregnancy and I don't like what I've found: risk of growth retardation, risk of cleft palate, and other effects.

Are there any medically knowledgeable people out there who would kindly give me their thoughts on taking this drug in the 2nd trimester? Or anyone who has been in a similar position and knows something about the drug or other ways of getting around the insomnia? I've asked at a chemist about taking herbal sleep remedies but they said there was nothing available that was safe in pregnancy without prescription.

Many many thanks

emma1977 Thu 18-Sep-08 16:03:57

It's safe to take during pregnancy if only used occasionally. I used zopiclone intermittently during pregnancy for long-standing insomnia. A benzodiazepines run the risk of being habit-forming if used every night.

Alternatively, you can take sedating antihistamines during pregnancy (e.g. Piriton). They have a good safety record.

Is there anything worrying you? Is your mood OK?

Have you tried the old favourites: Bath, milky drink, reading until you can't keep your eyes open, lavendar oil on your pillow?

sarah293 Thu 18-Sep-08 16:08:18

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WelliesAndPyjamas Thu 18-Sep-08 16:10:36

Thank you very much emma1977. So, taking it for a long period is when the potential risks become more likely? sorry if stating the obvious hmmgrin! Say I took it once to try and break the habit, maybe that would work?

Well, yes, there are things worrying me but nothing really horrible like some people have to cope with.

Yes to all the old favourites. If I try them at bedtime they work a treat but I still wake up as usual. If I try them when I wake up again in the night it seems to take aaaaaages before I get sleepy. But I really want to sleep!

WelliesAndPyjamas Thu 18-Sep-08 16:11:41

oh, 2nd mention of antihistamines. Did they help you, riven? Were you taking them for insomnia?

emma1977 Thu 18-Sep-08 16:13:46

Using them occasionally for a catch-up sleep is perfectly justifiable and safe. It won't cause any addiction or health problems for you and your baby that way.

I spent most of my pregnancy up till 4am watching DVDs with the cat.

WelliesAndPyjamas Thu 18-Sep-08 16:18:15

Many thanks for the reassurance, Emma1977. Feel better now.

Did the cat enjoy it? grin

emma1977 Thu 18-Sep-08 16:19:53

Cat particularly enjoyed the Mighty Boosh, but not so keen on Peep Show.

sarah293 Thu 18-Sep-08 16:20:24

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WelliesAndPyjamas Thu 18-Sep-08 16:41:16

ooh, got to disagree with the cat's taste there. Peep Show much funnier.

riven, would you recommend the antihistamines?

Just mentioned the diazepam to DH over the phone and he is totally against them. The word alone scares him because of how addictive it is. He used to be a police officer and lost count of the number of 'clients' he dealt with who used diazepam combined with other drugs. We'll have to talk about it properly when he gets home.

sarah293 Thu 18-Sep-08 18:26:34

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emma1977 Thu 18-Sep-08 22:48:12

One dose of diazepam won't turn you into a jelly-head. You dh hardly sees a representative sample of all those who use benzos, mostly just the addicts and dealers I would guess.

Benzos when used appropriately (low dose, short duration) are good at what they do.

When I was pg I was put on antihistamines (cyclizine) for hypermemsis. They made me very drowsy! Safe in pregnancy and not addictive for you.

One of the doctors at work was talking about temazapan and diazapan in pregnancy the other week and was saying if taken up to delivery a baby would get withdrawal symptoms with both - one for longer than the other but can't rememeber which way round. So sounds like something yu don't want to be taking to the end of your pregnancy.

emma1977 Thu 18-Sep-08 23:17:48

Diazepam stays longer in the system than temazepam, SKSS.

expatinscotland Thu 18-Sep-08 23:21:53

i used that dosage to break a VERY bad bout of insomnia whilst pregnant with DD2 and it worked out okay.

have been able to get by with Piriton this time round but the game's not over yet .

empathies - i've suffered from insomnia since i was 13 and am now 37.

WelliesAndPyjamas Fri 19-Sep-08 05:58:27

maaaaan, that's bad, expat. My sympathies. This is a recent thing which I'm hoping won't hang about forever hmm

It's ok, Emma1977. That job makes people over-protective, that's all. He will listen to me reasoned arguements for and against grin

Many thanks SKSS . I really really really hope I won't be needing them later in the pregnancy. This thread has definitely helped me work out that if I do take the diazepam it would be just for a short time now to break a cycle, then try antihistamines if I need them later on.

sarah293 Fri 19-Sep-08 08:15:00

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WowOoo Fri 19-Sep-08 08:20:48

My obstetrician friend strongly told me not to take prescribed sleep meds whilst pregnant. I toughed it out, it was really shit being so sleep deprived , but glad now in retrospect.

Riven - don't know what to say. Do you really think you're to blame? Surely not. Guilt is horrible.

WowOoo Fri 19-Sep-08 08:23:00

By the way, i took anti hitamines too and herbal remedies. Some say high doses of these herbal things can be dodgy. Who knows what they do? Kids are fine though.

sarah293 Fri 19-Sep-08 08:24:44

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WowOoo Fri 19-Sep-08 08:40:06

Yes, there must be a reason. Or not? Has a consultant confirmed it though?
Suppose the OP has her answer maybe...?

rivenhasaparrotonhershoulder Fri 19-Sep-08 08:42:28

got medical lawyers going theourhg the notes. If nothing can be found then its my fault.
But its why I always say never take anything if you can manage it. The guilt is overwheliming.

WowOoo Fri 19-Sep-08 08:54:22

That's what the obstetrician said exactly and disagreed with my GP saying very low dose in an emergency was OK. It is OK, but yeah now I can see why he was so adamant as you'd never know and he has seen alot of babies and mothers.
Hope your parrot cheers you up and stops you worrying.
Wellies, perhaps if you lost the wellies you could sleep betterin just the PJ's?!! Not funny, I know. Good luck, I know it's awful.

WowOoo Fri 19-Sep-08 08:56:43

Wellies, I don't want to make you feel awful but later down the line it sometimes gets even harder to sleep coz of huge lump. Make some plans now for getting comfy..lots of cushions, lavender oil all the usual soft options. Hope you sleep well tonight, bless you.

WelliesAndPyjamas Fri 19-Sep-08 11:32:18

sad sorry to hear of your experiences riven, must be a horrible feeling to carry around with you. Hope you get an answer re the notes.

I won't even take paracetamol or similar for headaches or whatever unless truly desperate when I'm not pregnant hence this difficult decision.

I'll try without the wellies tonight, WowOoo wink and see what happens. It may be all I need to do all along!

The things that have been stressing me so badly lately are being tackled bit by bit now so I'm also hoping that that will help my mind relax at night. I might try a night or two on the sofa bed too, so that I don't get woken up every time DH breathes moves in the night and try and break the cycle a bit that way too. I never used to be so sensitive. I actually used to be a Champion Sleeper, I could fall asleep anywhere and instantly if I needed to [good old days]. Ah well.

Thanks so much everyone.

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