Advanced search

Pregnant? See how your baby develops, your body changes, and what you can expect during each week of your pregnancy with the Mumsnet Pregnancy Calendar.

Scared to eat. Anxiety-related

(28 Posts)
Gingerbreadpixie Wed 03-Apr-13 20:39:46

Ok. I've written various posts on my pg anxiety. I'm really struggling with OCD. I have TWO therapists and I'm still having problems. I'm constantly terrified of getting food poisoning or toxo. I can't eat meat without worrying its not reached the proper temperature to kill the germs/parasites and I even struggle with vegetables as I'm terrified there might be soil on them or they weren't washed properly. DH is currently doing all cooking and getting v frustrated with me and my requests to overlook everything to death. I'm at the point where I'm constantly anxious around food. I lost my sister to anorexia a few years back and it's just bringing back all the memories of how fraught mealtimes used to be.

I'm so stressed sad I could really use a hug right now (even a cyber hug)

LadyMedea Wed 03-Apr-13 20:49:47


Just remember to keep eating even if it is just toast!

Are you on any meds to help with your symptoms?

Gingerbreadpixie Wed 03-Apr-13 21:00:55

Thank you for the hug x

I've been resisting the Sertraline and thought a combination of NHS therapist and private counsellor would be better. However my therapist (who's great) is away for two weeks now and the counsellor, although good to talk to and get things off my chest, doesn't feel intensive enough.

I've got a GP appointment for next week as she was happy for me to try the therapy but has always said she'd be happy to prescribe me something if it gets to that point.

I am challenging the OCD more and not always giving in to it but sometimes it's just too strong sad

BabyHMummy Wed 03-Apr-13 21:01:54


My anxiety shows itself with ocd too so i totally understand...mine ia organising everything...hence at 8 weeks pg i had cot, pram, steriliser, orders bottle etc

You do need to find a way to control it though sweetie...maybe start small. By getting in kitchen but away from where dh is preparing dinner and gradually build it from here. Have u thought about a meat thermometer so u can confirm the food is ok?

Have u spoken to ur therapists about this?

Gingerbreadpixie Wed 03-Apr-13 21:14:34

Hi BabyH. Thank you

Yes I have spoken to my therapist. She's going to refer me to a psychiatrist for proper behavioural therapy but that's going to take weeks/a month or so to get a place with her. And while she's a great therapist she's away sometimes so I don't always get to see her every week.

I feel like everyone is getting totally fed up with me and I'm so sad I'm not enjoying my pregnancy like I should be. I'm having a little boy and can feel him kick now. I want to enjoy this special time. (I'm 19weeks btw)

CreatureRetorts Wed 03-Apr-13 21:19:17


Do you feel better cooking yourself?

How are you cooking things that are low risk wrt food poisoning eg beef and lamb which you could technically eat "pink" and be ok?

Where has this come from?

BabyHMummy Wed 03-Apr-13 21:29:49

ginger i know that feeling well...i am hating being pg and am so ready for August so it will all be over. I expected to be over the moon etc as always told i couldn't have kids and i feel so disconnected from it all. I get what you mean about worrying people will get fed up but it really is better to talk about it. Keeping it locked away makes ot all seem so much worse.

Maybe you could speak to mw or hospital consultant. Maybe if they can push from their side you could get a more urgent appt with the psychiatrist.

rrreow Wed 03-Apr-13 21:39:25

That sounds like a really difficult and frustrating experience. Is there anything you can do to help you take back some control? If you're feeling this worried about food, I can imagine that having your DH cook all the meals is actually adding another layer to your anxiety. Can you cook things yourself? I know that doesn't tackle the root of the problem, but it might help you feel more in control and less anxious.

Gingerbreadpixie Wed 03-Apr-13 21:40:28

Thanks Creature - I feel better cooking what I perceive to be "safe" foods. But those foods tend to be limited in variety and not very nutritious. I struggle with washing vegetables (would take a v long time) and going anywhere near raw meat.
The fact I'm a type 1 diabetic and can't go too mad on the carbs in the evening otherwise i risk a night- time sugar spike means I SHOULD be eating more protein and veg. Adding to the frustration.

I've always suffered from anxiety. I had OCD tendencies in adolescence and its gone crazy since I have my baby to protect. My sisters death was a shock and could/should have been prevented (IMO). She was 21 and I've always felt I should have been able to protect her more. Maybe it's related to those feelings.

Gingerbreadpixie Wed 03-Apr-13 21:50:20

Thanks for taking the time to reply ladies. I do appreciate it.

BabyH - although I'm sad to hear you're going through it too, it's comforting to know I'm not the only one <hug>. I spoke to my diabetic consultant today as I had a meltdown over having blood taken. The nurse who dealt with me was superb and treated with me with a lot of care and understanding. They are very supportive. In fact my GP and MW were trying to organise therapy for me and it was taking ages but my diabetes team swooped in and set me up with one of their therapists almost immediately. So I can ask them to chase the psychiatrist appt for me.

BabyHMummy Wed 03-Apr-13 21:51:16

Huni i know its hard.but you need to try and change how you think about your sisters death. Anorexia is a horrific illness and similar to things like heroin addiction it can only be dealt with and cured if the sufferer wants to make themselves better. No one could have saved your sister if the wasn't ready to save herself.

Your ocd is starting to manifest in a similar way to Anorexia imo from what your are talking about. You are using control over the food you eat to control how you feel...

It is a very dangerous slope to be on hun...have you thought about trying to focus on the fact your baby needs these foods and nutrients? Maybe if you try looking at it from a different angle it might give you a hook to take back some proper control over your anxiety?

Sorry if sounds harsh...but ur posts have worried me

CreatureRetorts Wed 03-Apr-13 22:00:19

What about decent veggie food with some meat - you're doing this for your baby remember? So lentils, pulses etc etc? Obviously the veg washing is an issue for you but if you peel the veg then that eliminates any dirt. Obviously I can tell you that the risk is so very minimal but that doesn't help you.
I was mildly anxious in pregnancy (drove DH mad) but not to a debilitating extent. I rationalised it and coped that way.

Gingerbreadpixie Wed 03-Apr-13 22:08:14

BabyH don't worry, it doesn't sound harsh. There ARE parallels between OCD and anorexia. It's been upsetting to experience. But there are some pretty big differences too, thankfully. I think the main thing is that I'm very aware of it. And also I'm trying really hard to get help, read self-help books, talking to people about it etc.

I let DH do the cooking most if the time because he cooks really nutritious healthy food (he hates processed food!) and although I have anxiety during the cooking/preparation I am eating it. I'm also taking prenatals vits and I'm not too bad with fruit. I'm a good weight too.

I just want the OCD to leave me in peace so I can enjoy the next half of my pregnancy

NeverFullyDressedWithoutAScarf Wed 03-Apr-13 22:10:18

I was like this. And I have a deeply anorexic sister (had never
Connected the two before). I ended up sobbing at the doctor's demanding a test for toxoplasmosis at about 16 weeks with dd1 (whose pregnancy followed a miscarriage I was convinced I had caused by eating blue cheese before I knew I was pregnant). The whole thing was just a horrible time. I went for well cooked vegetables, loads of crackers and cheese, toast, soup (as the heat would kill any bacteria in the veg) and lots of pre prepared crap.

It did get better when the baby arrived. I was never so anxious again as I was at the point you are at in my first pregnancy, if that helps at all?

And don't worry about not enjoying pregnancy, I have since discovered that lots if people don't enjoy it, and it is soon forgotten once the baby is here. HTH

BabyHMummy Wed 03-Apr-13 22:25:06

The differences are what you need to focus on. The fact you are getting brilliant hun...i tried therapy but it was rubbish for me...i got the stereotypical one who decided everything was related to my dad and wasn't prepared to discuss anything else...

Have you tried hypnotherapy to try and control the ocd?

Gingerbreadpixie Wed 03-Apr-13 23:27:03

Neverfullydressed - yes, that helps immensely to know that it got better when baby arrived. Thank you. Your food list is pretty much spot on for me too. The fact you also have an anorexic sister is probably more than a coincidence. I'd be surprised if there wasn't a link.

BabyH - yes I really am trying to focus on getting help. I have a hypnotherapy relaxation CD which helps with general anxiety. I'm going to ask my doctor if I could get hypnotherapy through referral. Otherwise I am going to keep chasing the psychiatrist appointment. I'm close to accepting antidepressants from my GP too. I just really want to try and beat it another way if there is one!


BabyHMummy Thu 04-Apr-13 00:22:16

Felt same when i hit rock bottom hun. I don't like being on meds but they do help.i am resisting my Gp prescribing them again now ao i do understand hun. But if ur as bad as this then maybe it might help til the psychiatrist is available

LadyMedea Thu 04-Apr-13 08:44:11

I'm a vegetarian so I was thinking of ways you could get your protein without meat:

- Hard boiled eggs (UK eggs are salmonella free anyway and hard boiling is 100% safe)
- meat replacements like quorn. These will be very hygienic and good for you.
- tinned cans of pulses. Remember these will be sterile when canned.

On the veggie front how about frozen veg? Then you'll know its been super duper washed and frozen so definitely no soil bacteria, and still very nutritious. Also veg which you peel very well like butternut squash might help you feel comfortable?

More < hugs > anyway.

Push for the psychiatric referral and don't be afraid to take the drugs. Most modern drugs are generally thought to be ok in pregnancy, and the benefits to you might really mean its worth it.

Netguru Thu 04-Apr-13 08:49:26

I couldn't face any hot food when pregnant.
Protein shakes made with milk and a multivitamin.
Anything you eat after that is a bonus so you needn't push yourself. I often think forcing yourself to eat makes you feel less inclined to do so.

gertrudestein Thu 04-Apr-13 09:02:03

Hi gingerbread, that sounds really tough. Have you tried cognitive behaviour therapy to treat the OCD? I know how hard it can be when your therapist is on a break (damn easter holidays!), and I find books useful for keeping up some kind of routine and to keep 'doing something about it.'

This 'overcoming' series has been very useful for me. They are CBT manuals, basically, so they don't deal with the underlying causes of what's going on, but can help you handle the symptoms and get some control back of your mind. The books start with a description of the condition, which is reassuring when you're in the midst of it because it makes you realise that you haven't lost your mind - you have a real, identifiable, predictable illness. Then they contain a series of CBT exercises that you can start using to combat your symptoms immediately.

SavoyCabbage Thu 04-Apr-13 09:08:07

My best friend could not eat when she was pregnant. She has suffered from anxiety and panic attacks for a long time. She could only eat sealed yogurts as she felt these were safe. She said that she knew it was irrational but she could not help it. She has wanted a baby for such a long, long time and knew on some level that it was not good for the baby to eat in this way, but on the other hand she could not help it.

The baby was fine when she was born and she is two now and is a perfect little girl. She took all of the nutrition she needed from her mother I think. My friend got back to ordinary eating after the baby was born as it was a (irrational) fear of somehow contaminating her that was the problem in the first place.

onceipopicantstop Thu 04-Apr-13 09:10:24

Hi ginger I had severe OCD when I was pregnant. Started before pg with anxiety about catching something myself but extended into anxiety about my baby once I was pregnant. Just like you I was terrified of contracting toxo and became obsessed about washing everything and cooking meat properly. I had a normal pregnancy though and have a completely healthy DC so the anxiety had no effect (which I also worried about!).

What I was going to ask is whether you have a perinatal psychiatry team involved? Also in my area there was a specialist mental health midwife who saw me regularly during my pregnancy, in addition to the usual midwife. And if you have anxieties about the delivery (I had severe anxiety about hygiene and cleanliness) there may be a midwife at the hospital that you can see beforehand to discuss your worries and how best to manage them when you go in to have the baby.

Please try and stay positive and focus on the beautiful baby you will have at the end of all this smile.

onceipopicantstop Thu 04-Apr-13 09:15:20

Also I think if you are pregnant you are prioritised for mental health services such as referral to a psychiatrist. I was on the waiting list for CBT with the NHS and had started seeing someone privately in the meantime (waiting list was more than 6 months here) but once they realised I was pregnant I saw someone in a matter of weeks.

Gingerbreadpixie Thu 04-Apr-13 11:20:01

I'm really touched by all replies and suggestions. Thank you all. After I posted last night I had a good, though tearful, chat with DH and felt much better. He is trying really hard to be supportive and has assured me that when he's preparing food there is nothing he would do to put baby at risk, all veggies are washed and usually cooked thoroughly, he's even devised a "heated" type of salad! He will overcook my meat if needs be. I will include well-cooked eggs more to my diet. (I'm not actually too bad with eggs at all, strangely!)

I have spoken to my midwife about it. I was referred to a mental health team who phoned me up and basically said the problems I had weren't severe enough! Or at least, that's the impression I got from them. It was a slightly confusing conversation.

When my therapist is back in a couple of weeks I will stress how urgently I want the psychiatrist referral. In the meantime I'm seeing my private counsellor at the weekend and I will tell her I want to re-try the CBT. I tried it before but found it didn't really "stick" with me. But maybe I wasn't ready to commit to it then? I'm also seeing my GP on Monday.

gertrudestein - thank you for the book recommendation. I will get that on order today.

I feel stronger today and I feel like at least if I take these steps I have a "plan"

LadyMedea Thu 04-Apr-13 14:31:29

Well done for having a plan thanks and for really being upfront with your DH... Best way to help diffuse anxieties is to share them.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: