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Taking Propranolol whilst pregnant

(12 Posts)
Flippingebay Tue 26-Jul-11 13:41:58

Myself and DH are thinking of starting to try for #2 in the next few months.

I take Propranolol 40 mg for anxiety attacks. I take it 'as and when' needed during my working week, usually about 2 or 3 tablets a week. I've read on 'tinternet that some people carry on taking it but it does make it through to the fetus. I'm going to go to the doctors to have a chat about it but was wondering if anyone else was taking this before or during a pregnancy?

Scheherezadea Tue 26-Jul-11 13:52:56

I was told not to take it whilst pregnant.

Flippingebay Tue 26-Jul-11 13:53:42

Did they give you anything else to take Scheherezadea?

Scheherezadea Tue 26-Jul-11 14:03:40

oops, pressed send too early - of course some people do take it through pregnancy, but it depends how bad/debilitating the anxiety makes you, it's a matter of weighing up the risks.

I was also taking lithium and lamotrigine for bipolar I disorder, and stopped taking it when found out I was pregnant because lithium can be especially. I am under the care of an ante natal psychiatrist, who has said that if my condition suddenly escalated, then I could start taking the medication again - it depended on the risks for me weighed up against the risks for baby. I decided to just go cold turkey and stay off for as long as possible, and have got good support from my mental health team (also see an ante natal CPN and a midwife who specialises in mental health problems). However they are keen for me to go back on the lithium and another anti-psychotic, especially now that I am at a late stage in the pregnancy.

I hope this makes sense, am waffling a bit. Basically if you & your doctors feel your need for the medication is so strong that it is worth risking adverse effects on the fetus, then you can carry on taking it. The first 12 weeks are the most important, if you can at least stay off it for that period whilst everything is still developing, then you can always start later on, when the critical period has passed. however, I was taking my medication up until about week11 (I couldn't stop suddenly, had to reduce the dosage slowly), I have regular scans because of the risk to the fetus (every 4 weeks) and so far everything is showing as normal, so it seems the 'gamble' paid off (though I was only taking the medication as didn't realise I was pregnant, if it was planned I would have stopped before trying to conceive.

As I mentioned above, for women with serious MH conditions who are pregnant, there seems to be a lot of support (in my area at least) - so if you see your GP they can refer you to the peri natal psychiatry service. I see my psych once a month (who specialises in pregnancy), my CPN once a week-every two weeks, and the midwife is on the phone, and anytime I go into hospital for a scan.

I hope that wasn't too waffly, and made some sense!

Scheherezadea Tue 26-Jul-11 14:09:31

My peri natal psych wanted me to start taking quetiapine, an anti psychotic, but obviously no medeication is better than something which has eless risks, so for me I decided to just come off the meds completely. This is with the full support of my team and DP, and they're keeping a good eye on me, if anything does kick off, then there is always the option to start taking meds again, but I wanted to give it a go without. TBH I haven;'t missed the propanolol at all, it used to really help with my racing heart, but I am fortunate enough to be in a position where we do not need me to work to be stable financially, so I stopped working in April, and have just spent the summer reading about babies and trying to keep myself relaxed and calm!

Each medication carries different types of risks to the baby, with various 'chances' of occuring, and to different degrees of 'harm' - I can't remember the issue with propanolol, but if you do a search of the medication leaflet there may be information there, or if you look at the NICE guidelines, that's where I got most of my info from. The best thing to do is probably discuss it with a specialist, but I found they generally left it to me to make the decision, apart from the lithium, which they were very wary about me taking (and almost forced me into an abortion early on)

Scheherezadea Tue 26-Jul-11 14:10:19

*because lithium can be especially harmful for the baby

Flippingebay Tue 26-Jul-11 14:11:44

Thanks that was very helpful grin

Scheherezadea Tue 26-Jul-11 14:19:35

Found this for you;

http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/live/13098/50475/50475.pdf

Flippingebay Tue 26-Jul-11 14:22:34

Brilliant thank you... Suffering from anxiety its much easier for me to understand what the Dr is likely to say rather than it coming as a shock and setting me off blush

Forwarned and all that!

Scheherezadea Tue 26-Jul-11 14:31:56

Just to add (sorry!) I wasn't under secondary services/psychiatry care before I got pregnant - my GP referred me and I got the psych/CPN/specialist midwife after becoming pregnant, so there is a lot of support there.

Renaissance227 Thu 28-Jul-11 15:43:23

Scheherezadea I thought there was another reason for you stopping work in April, not that you were financially stable enough so you just gave it up to chill out and keep calm?!

Oeisha Thu 28-Jul-11 22:05:45

I took 120mg of propranolol (migraines, along with citalopram) a day when I started talking to GP about TTC. Obv. that amount was a no-no, so we weined me off them. I was told however that I could maintain a low dose if needed - thankfully not. Maybe a lower dose could be tollerated?

Definatly talk to your GP. They will have a better idea of what will work for you than us, having said that:

Have they explored CBT with you for anxiety? If not, get them to refer you. It's 'hard work' to begin with, but has good results for most. They should teach you about physical and emotional responses to anxiety to help you keep control. I also have Bach's Rescue Remedy to hand, placebo or not, it helps me a lot!

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