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Anxiety/depression during pregnancy

(13 Posts)
maryann970 Sun 14-Oct-12 11:13:13

Hello all

I have suffered from depression and anxiety in the past but was well and happy before I became pregnant. I feel a low at the moment but its the anxiety and its symptoms which are crippling me. I have been signed off work for two weeks as the GP is of the opinion I need the 'adjust' (unplanned pregnancy). I am scared that when I go back to work I wont be able to function and will be signed off again.

I called the midwife and they didn't know what to do with me! They said they usually only deal with women who are on anti-depressants before they are pregnant. I cannot believe I am the first woman to become depressed or suffer from anxiety during pregnancy.

Has anyone come across any online support groups for pregnant women with depression or anxiety?

Any advice on how to deal with the anxiety would be welcome too.


AppleCrumples Sun 14-Oct-12 11:25:16

Hi Mary ann

Am sorry your dealing with this. I have suffered anxiety on and off for years. Was fine in my other 3 pregnancies but this 1 was a massive shock and I found once the morning sickness was over I was suddenly really anxious. I haven't seen the midwife for ages though I should contact her as the anxiety is very up and down. I have been using e-couch on mood gym to update CBT which I have had in the past.

I'm sorry your midwife wasn't much use, from reading things on here am sure they must have had to deal with ante natal depression anxiety before, have you tried your GP?

Sorry I can't give much help but wanted you to know you are not alone and help is out there. Hopefully someone better informed will be along soon x

Rockchick1984 Sun 14-Oct-12 11:43:45

I suffered from antenatal depression, and in all honesty your GP is far better equipped to help you than your midwife. Go back to the GP and and to be referred to the perinatal mental health team. I was referred to them and was seeing a CBT counsellor within 6 weeks and it really helped me. Personally I ended up signed off sick for most of my pregnancy, however a lot of my anxiety and depression was influenced by work (bullying manager, combined with unplanned pregnancy and all the hormones which accompany it). If it hadn't been for the issues at work I would have felt strong enough to return.

Also, have a look locally for pregnancy yoga. It really helped me (I normally hate any sort of exercise, but it's very gentle) and it really helped me to relax and accept things.

Clarella Sun 14-Oct-12 11:52:04

No you're not the first and won't be the last!

Firstly try whilst it looks like its more geared towards post n depression, they know a lot about pre too. Help line or you can easily write via email.

I'm so sorry you've been feeling anxious, I too have suffered crippling anxiety this pregnancy but am a lot better now.

In my experience the mws at the hospital are more used to dealing with those suffering from anxiety than the community midwives, as are doctors. I was eventually referred to the perinatal team for counselling which helped a lot, and they discussed trying sertraline (ive successfully used beta blockers before but had difficulties with ads - my anxiety/depression is always linked to a wobbling thyroid) but it was (and I) decided that once my thyroid was stabilised I'd be fine, as always happens. I was reluctant to take more time off work but in the end realised there was no way I could get better or continue to work - I teach very autistic children, they need continuity and its a very demanding job. I think anxiety is extremely common in pregnancy (almost natural in that it makes us more cautious) but it's recognising when it tips out of control, and interferes with life which you may well be able to recognise if you've experienced it before. Anxiety also can easily morph into depression.

I think the early days are the hardest - joining some antenatal classes eg yoga,etc were very hard at first (i sometimes missed them when really bad) but have helped me both meet other women and begin to reconnect with the world, and nct classes, whilst I was sceptical, have helped in a similar way. Other women have had a crap time too and I don't feel such a failure. For me, the last trimester is the time I've begun to enjoy.

It's very alienating as you feel you should be enjoying it and people who have a) never experienced anxiety and depression and b) have never experienced pregnancy, cannot fathom how you might feel. Keep seeing your doctor and being honest about your feelings. If you feel able to, try building routines in that make you do something eg swimming, aquanatal, walks, yoga etc. I'm not finding antenatal yoga as good as my normal yoga but its nice to be around other pregnant women smile

Also, please remember (incase some numpty says this) that just because you've had anxiety/depression in the past, and are experiencing some now, does not mean you will get pnd - in fact this assumption by others and your self increases the chance. I've been told there's research to support not assuming there will be a problem based on history (by medical/ mw staff) results in far less pnd.

Take care and best wishes - and congratulations! Xx

Clarella Sun 14-Oct-12 12:00:02

- as with rockchick, attitudes and problems at work were also in the mix affecting me as well as terrible guilt about letting my collegues and class down.

You're much better at being concise than me rockchick!

maryann970 Sun 14-Oct-12 12:09:06

I think will go back to the GP and ask for a CBT counselor. Yoga also sounds like a great idea to meet other pregnant women as at the moment I don't know any.

Thank you all for your help! It means a lot to me xxx

Rockchick1984 Sun 14-Oct-12 12:39:25

Lol Clarella I think between us we covered pretty much everything smile

Would second the point about PND not being inevitable - I felt a lot better in my third trimester, and literally once DS was born it was like a fog had been lifted and I had no further issues.

AppleCrumples Sun 14-Oct-12 13:19:31

Rockchick this is what I thought as all through this preg I have felt certain that the cloud over me will be lifted as soon as I am no longer preg. Only got to get through the next 14 weeks! smile

elizaregina Sun 14-Oct-12 15:24:12

glad you posted May, in last two weeks my whole perception of this pregnancy has been turned on its head, where I felt so over the moon and confident and happy, i now see long dark nights - no sleep and a hard grind!!!
I have been wondering who can help or if doctors can indeed help.

with the counselling though - isnt that REALLY expensive?

I would def also recomend NCT groups and anything where you can meet pregnant mums, i didnt do anything first time round and was v isolated!

Clarella Sun 14-Oct-12 17:23:04

If its decided that a referral to perinatal team would help its much quicker than normal cbt referrals and on the nhs as its recognised that early intervention is the most effective way to deal with depression/anxiety, lessening need for more long term help and support further down the line xx

LimeLeafLizard Sun 14-Oct-12 17:39:30

I had antenatal depression during 3 pregnancies. 3rd time I was referred for counselling with an obstetrics specialist counsellor (on the NHS) by my MW (though you can also be referred by your GP).

I read that up to 10% of women suffer from this so you are not alone. Don't hesitate to ask for help.

How many weeks are you now? Do you already have children? Meeting other pregnant women might help, and MN of course, and I think the yoga is a great idea!

maryann970 Sun 14-Oct-12 17:59:20

It's my first pregnancy. I'm only 11 weeks so a long way to go yet! I'm 24 and it wasn't planned so I'm guessing this is where a lot of the anxiety is coming from. Having said that, I have a great fiance, friends and family supporting me.

From what you have all said it seems I should meet other mum's to be. I think it would help having people to talk to who know what I'm going through!

Clarella- I think you are right about the quicker referral so will try the mw again.

Again, thank you all for your help x

Clarella Sun 14-Oct-12 22:47:54

You could try a two pronged attack Mary, see both gp and mw ;) I'm finding communication between mw, gp and hospital consultants/registrar patchy so its worth checking in with gp anyway to make sure they know what's going on.

Although, to me, it never felt like the anxiety / depression was any different to when I've had it outside pregnancy (though usually thyroid linked) and when I was well earlier in pregnancy I never felt especially 'hormonal,' there are a lot of hormones flying around and adjusting in the first trimester (which is not a clear cut '12 weeks and you're better now' thing, everyone is different) and they affect everyone very differently eg horrendous morning sickness or pelvic pain. even when planned its still a lot to get your head round! Also, it can be a bit lonely before you're 'out' to the world as visibly pregnant. However, as I said, what's important is that you don't feel right and you know you need help, and though it will still take a few weeks, good to get it asap.

Some yoga classes won't take people before 16 wks, but do check about. I was lucky in that my usual teacher was happy to do adjustments for me from early on. I think aquanatal is ok though.

As someone posted above, if you've had some cbt before it can be helpful to revisit some of the bits you may have found helpful. I found the books they 'prescribe' on the nhs in my local library - called 'overcoming....' eg overcoming anxiety, overcoming low self esteem etc. Id found the anxiety one good in the past via cbt sessions and found it helpful to remind me of some of the basics and distraction techniques. Still felt rubbish but not so loopy!

All the best smile xx

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