What Causes Anxiety Attacks In Pregnant Women
Every person is different. What makes pregnancy unique is that there are several different issues that may occur when you go through pregnancy that may bring on anxiety attacks:
- You may have anxiety attacks as a result of hormonal changes during pregnancy.
- You may have anxiety attacks as a result of the stress and worries of pregnancy.
- You may have already suffered from anxiety attacks and they become worse during pregnancy.
- You may simply be at an age when developing anxiety attacks is more common.
Some doctors have found that those that normally have anxiety attacks actually stop having anxiety attacks while pregnant, only to find that they come back once the child is born. Its amazing the way pregnancy can affect the mind and body both in physical and mental ways.
So claiming a cause and effect with pregnancy and anxiety attacks is not that simple, and certainly cannot be done through the Internet. But there are plenty of possible causes of anxiety attacks related to your pregnancy.
How Is Antenatal Anxiety Treated
Anxiety is treated with psychological therapies such as relaxation training, cognitive behavioural therapy or using mindfulness. You might also be encouraged to modify your lifestyle to reduce stress, exercise more and eat healthily.
In more severe cases, your doctor might prescribe medication. They will discuss with you what medicines are safe to take during pregnancy.
Remember, anxiety during pregnancy is common its nothing to be ashamed of but without treatment, it can get worse. You should talk to your doctor or midwife to get on top if it as soon as you can.
What Are Some Treatments For Anxiety During Pregnancy
Fortunately, there are many treatments that can reduce anxiety during pregnancy and help you feel better. For many women, anti-anxiety medication is not an option during pregnancy, as there is little information on the safety of such medication on the fetus. Some women who had previously taken medications for anxiety may wish to discontinue medications during pregnancy for personal reasons.
Therapies such as cognitive behavior therapy demonstrate promise in the peripartum period . CBT focuses on challenging maladaptive thoughts, emotions, and actions, and it uses anxiety management strategies such as diaphragmatic breathing .
If your anxiety is severe, medications may be an option for you. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are commonly prescribed for depression and anxiety during pregnancy and after delivery. It does not appear that SSRIs are associated with an increased risk of major congenital malformations. However, SSRIs may be associated with transient neonatal symptoms such as jitteriness, tremor, crying, and trouble feeding, which resolve on their own in a few days.
The use of benzodiazepines such as lorazepam and alprazolam during pregnancy has long been a controversial topic. Although older studies showed an association between their use and an increased risk for cleft lip and palate, a more recent study looking at benzodiazepine use during pregnancy did not show this link when these medications were used alone .
Don’t Miss: Do You Cry During A Panic Attack
Does Anxiety Affect My Baby
Being concerned about whether anxiety or stress will affect your baby is understandable, but it can also create a vicious circle of thoughts. You may be feeling anxious during your pregnancy, then begin to worry if it this is affecting your baby and so become even more anxious.
It is very unlikely that your baby will be affected by your anxiety, particularly if you get the right treatment and support. So try to focus on asking for help and finding ways to manage your symptoms.
Be confident that you are doing everything you can to take care of your baby.
Find out more about stress and your baby.
Have A Good Support System
There is no denying that family and friends are your true saviours in times of need, and dealing with a panic attack during pregnancy is no exception. Just knowing the fact that you have your partner, parents, siblings, or friends by your side may give you much-needed peace of mind. Also, if you feel that you may require them by your side, you should not shy away from giving them a call. Emotional support is imperative in dealing with any kind of panic-stricken situations during pregnancy.
Panic attacks are a very normal phenomenon during pregnancy, and with proper medical guidance and care, you may be able to handle this situation better, and have a healthy and hassle-free pregnancy.
Read Also: Pristiq Definition
Can You Have A Panic Attack For No Reason
At first look, it might appear that theres no reason for a panic attack. They seem to come out of nowhere suddenly.
However, we know that the body holds onto stress even when the mind isnt thinking about it. A great book on this is The Body Keeps The Score! I highly recommend it. We might not know the reason for our panic attack, but there always is one. Our body knows the reason.
What Are The Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders During Pregnancy
Although its normal to be worried about the health of your baby, in some cases this worry becomes debilitating and may require further attention. Thoughts about the health of the baby may become obsessive, even when doctors are reassuring. Worries may also appear as physical symptoms, such as a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, or panic attacks. If this is the first time you experience a high level of anxiety, this may be frightening in itself. When anxiety starts to interfere with your day-to-day functioning, relationships, or job performance, it may be classified as an anxiety disorder if your doctor picks up on it.
Anxiety can occur at any time during pregnancy, or it may first appear after delivery . The rates of generalized anxiety disorder appear to be highest in the first trimester, likely due to hormonal changes. The most common symptoms of anxiety include constant worrying, restlessness, muscle tension, irritability, feeling dread, an inability to concentrate, and difficulties falling asleep due to worries. Some women also experience symptoms as a result of other anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Also Check: Does Pristiq Help With Anxiety
Whats The Treatment For Anxiety In Pregnancy
Your midwife or GP will talk to you about all your options and the pros and cons of each treatment. Whats best for you will depend on things like:
- how bad your symptoms are
- what has help you in the past
- what services are available locally.
Anxiety, phobias and panic attacks are usually treated using self-help treatments based on cognitive behavioural therapy .
“I didn’t think CBT would work but I found it so helpful. I had a little guide book so if I was feeling anxious at work or at home, I could refer to it for tips and pointers to get me through certain situations.
If you need more help you may be referred to a specialist mental health team for pregnant women. You may also be offered therapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness and applied relaxation with a professional therapist. You may also be offered medication, such as antidepressants.
Find out more about treatment and support for mental health.
How To Prevent Future Anxiety Attacks
When anxiety attacks are caused by hormonal changes, controlling them is possible but a bit more difficult. You cannot and should not stop these hormonal changes from happening, and that means that when your brain creates these panic attacks as a result of your hormones, its going to continue to do so until your hormones return to normal.
But that doesnt mean that you need to live with anxiety attacks throughout your pregnancy. There are several important things to note:
- Preventing Recurrence Post-Pregnancy Its important to realize that some people that develop anxiety attacks never lose them, even when they are the result of pregnancy hormonal changes. That is because the fear of an anxiety attack and the experience of an anxiety attack can be severe enough that you increase your risk for triggering them in the future. Dealing with anxiety attacks should always be a priority.
- Reducing Severity There are strategies that reduce the severity of an anxiety attack even if they do not cure it altogether. The less severe your anxiety attacks, the less theyll affect the quality of your life and the comfort of your pregnancy, and in some cases they may be easier to control.
- Stress Control Even though anxiety attacks may feel as though they come from nowhere and that your hormonal issues may be solely to blame, the truth is that stress does play a role in triggering your anxiety attacks. Control your stress and anxiety, and your likelihood of experiencing an attack is reduced.
You May Like: Does Pristiq Help With Anxiety
How Common Is Anxiety In Pregnancy
Anxiety in pregnancy is very common. More than 1 in 10 pregnant women have it. Don’t feel like you are a failure because you’re not coping.
Pregnancy can be a very emotional experience and it can sometimes be difficult to know whether your feelings are manageable or a sign of something more serious. Trust yourself. You’re the best judge of whether your feelings are normal for you. If you feel anxious a lot or have panic attacks during pregnancy its important to ask for help.
The Truth About Panic Attacks During Pregnancy
The truth is panic attacks arent your fault.
Mama guilt starts before birth, and its a hard thing to cope with. But heightened anxiety and the experience of panic attacks arent something for you to feel guilty about.
Mood disorders happen.
However, treating the symptoms and creating a support team can make all the difference.
Also Check: How To Cure Schizophrenia Permanently
Whats The Difference Between Antenatal Anxiety And Antenatal Depression
Up to half of people with antenatal anxiety also have antenatal depression.
Antenatal depression involves feeling low, numb and hopeless, losing confidence, being emotional or angry, not being able to sleep or eat properly, losing concentration and not being interested in people or activities they normally like.
There are safe ways to treat both anxiety and depression at the same time during pregnancy.
Help For Panic Attacks During Pregnancy
What are the best treatments for panic attacks in a pregnant woman? In most cases, a combination of cognitive and behavioral therapies will help. Cognitive therapy can help people replace negative or frightening thoughts with more realistic, positive ones. Behavioral therapies, such as mindfulness exercises, also may help. Mindfulness teaches you to focus on whats happening right now in the present, rather than worry about the future or dwell on the past. It can help reduce stress during pregnancy, Hassan says.
Amy says cognitive-behavioral therapy helped her to exert more control over her thoughts it attempts to stop the anxiety before it escalates into a panic attack and to control anxiety in general.
Pregnant women who know what might trigger a panic attack such as drinking coffee or stepping into an overheated room should avoid those situations whenever possible.
Relaxation techniques, including deep breathing, can help calm someone who is having a panic attack. Amy says breathing is an important part of her therapy. Anti-anxiety medications can also be used, under the supervision of a physician. Medications may be necessary because women who have panic attacks during pregnancy are more likely to struggle with them postpartum, Hassan says.
If you are pregnant and are having panic attacks or feel overwhelmed by stress, you should talk to your doctor and get appropriate treatment.
Also Check: Schizophreniform Vs Brief Psychotic Disorder
Why Is My Anxiety So Bad Pregnant
Causes of anxiety during pregnancy Some women experience a decrease in their symptoms during pregnancy, but your anxiety may get worse. After all, not everything that makes you feel anxious is under your control. Hormonal changes during pregnancy may affect the chemicals in your brain. This can cause anxiety.
Who Is At Risk Of Suffering Panic Attacks While Pregnant
Wondering if you are at a risk of having a panic attack? Well, as discussed above, panic attacks are very common and extremely normal during pregnancy. It may affect any woman, irrespective of the fact that she may have experienced it before or not. However, it is seen that women who are natural worriers, and have a tendency to worry, are more prone to panic attacks developing from normal anxiety.
Consult With Your Doctor First
When it comes to pregnancy, it seems that everyone has his or her own personal anecdotes and steadfast opinions. For example, you may have a sister who shares her pregnancy experiences and advises you on what foods to avoid or perhaps you have an aunt who likes to tell you old wives’ tales and pregnancy myths. Regardless of any advice you receive from others, always consult with your doctor first.
Let your doctor know what concerns you have about your panic disorder during pregnancy. Your doctor will be able to help you sort out fact from fiction. She will also be there to thoroughly discuss treatment options while pregnant, including potential risks and benefits of medications for panic disorder.
What Anxiety Medication Is Safe For Pregnancy
Most drugs that treat anxiety fall into the same class of pharmaceuticals as antidepressants, which means that some can be tricky to prescribe during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists cautions that prescribing these types of medications during pregnancy should always include a careful risk-benefit analysis.
Though some anxiety meds are considered relatively safe during pregnancy, you’ll need to work closely with your practitioner to determine which ones are right for you if medications are necessary to ensure your well-being and/or your babys.
Your doctor and a qualified therapist can work with you to decide which drug offers the most benefits for the fewest risks . If youve been on a medication for panic attacks, anxiety or depression pre-pregnancy, you may need to change or adjust your dose, too.
Read Also: What Is The Meaning Of Phobia
Reach Out To A Medical Professional
You might be shocked to find out that your pregnancy journey is not all smiles. It definitely wasnt for me!
And for some mommas, you may feel plagued with uh oh what if x, y, z goes wrong?! more often than you expected. If thats the case, then you could be experiencing gestational anxiety .
Read more to learn about gestational anxiety, how it affects your baby, and how you can manage it.
What Does A Panic Attack Feel Like While Pregnant
You might be surprised that panic attacks are not that different when youre pregnant.
The loss of breath that comes with pregnancy is common. Although, when the loss of breath is combined with extreme worry or a feeling like you are about to die, it is a panic attack.
They might be even more intense while youre pregnant because you fear the babys safety, adding to the fear and worry that initiated the panic attack.
Also Check: Does Pristiq Help With Anxiety
Panic Attacks And Trimesters Of Pregnancy
Panic attacks during the first trimester of pregnancy can be accompanied with the following symptoms:
- Morning sickness during pregnancy. Due to psychological tension the pregnant woman can feel nausea, that can become constant. She also feels permanent fatigue and drowsiness.
- Hormonal imbalance. It can be the reason for miscarriage during the first week of pregnancy, when the woman doesnt even understand that shes pregnant.
Panic attacks in early pregnancy can be followed with uterine hypertonus. This symptom is quite dangerous, because its connected with the following factors:
Uterine hypertonus is one of the reasons for missed miscarriage, when the perfectly healthy fetus stops growing and developing and dies without any clear reasons. When it happens during the first trimester of pregnancy, the womans body temperature gets low and she stops feeling any symptoms of morning sickness. When it happens during the second trimester of pregnancy, the woman gets fever and shivering attacks.
Note!Another consequence of panic attacks during the second or third trimester of pregnancy is placental insufficiency, when the fetus doesnt get enough nutrients and oxygen. Thats the reason why the baby is born with low weight.
Symptoms Of Panic Attacks When Pregnant
Here we shall be discussing some pregnancy panic attack symptoms, which may help you understand whether you may be suffering from this condition:
- You may experience increased or rapid heartbeat.
- You may feel all shaky, or you may tremble.
- You may experience heartburns or chest pains.
- You may feel dizzy and may experience headaches.
- You may feel that you are not able to breathe.
Also Check: Does Pristiq Help With Anxiety
What Causes Anxiety During Pregnancy
Anxiety during pregnancy is a complicated condition one even researchers dont fully understand that can have more than one cause.
It can be caused by an underlying health issue, such as diabetes, thyroid problems or chronic pain, or it may be a hereditary disorder, since anxiety can run in the family.
Or it may stem from a fear of giving birth , or a stressful situation at home or work . It may even be triggered by the pregnancy itself, especially if it was unplanned.
Regardless of whats behind these feelings or thoughts, know that anxiety during pregnancy is a medical condition it isnt the result of anything you did.
How Can I Prevent Or Manage Anxiety In Pregnancy
- Talk to someone you trust, such as your partner, family or a friend about how you are feeling.
- Try not to feel guilty or embarrassed. These feelings are not your fault.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. This can harm you and your baby.
- Try learning about simple relaxation techniques and practise them regularly.
Read Also: Pristiq Irritability