Panic Attacks During Pregnancy

Updated on September 07, 2011
M.G. asks from Somerville, MA
12 answers

Dear Moms,

I get panic attacks during pregnancy. This is clearly the result of some hormonal problem because I had it from the second trimester onwards during my first pregnancy but not after that. Now that I am pregnant a second time the panic attacks have kicked in again. I am hardly able to sleep at night and awake startled and then instantly freaked out. When this happens I can't keep still, my breathing quickens, I am scared and try to escape but to what or from what I have no clue. Sometimes this goes away after a few minutes, sometimes it remains with me like a continuous feeling of disquiet. It makes me claustrophobic, hydrophobic and sometimes pretty much any random thought can trigger these episodes. It has made me dread this last trimester that I still have to go through. The psychiatrist recommended Lorazepam but it doesn't really seem a good idea to use it in the third trimester. I try alternate treatments like breathing, meditation and just keeping busy and sometimes it helps but it doesn't make the panic attacks go away.
I was wondering if anyone else ever experienced this and what they did that helped. Also did anyone use any medication and did they find that it affected their newborn child?
I would really appreciate hearing about any experiences out there. Thanks.

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answers from Fort Wayne on

I was have really bad PA when I was preggers to the point I was throwing up from the hyper ventilating. My OB had me take a benadryl to help calm me and sleep. Just one at night what a differance, the origanal pink ones nothing else combined. gl it will pass.

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answers from Naples on

I am a certified Homeopath and there are wonderful homeopathic remedies for panic attacks. Google homeopathy and panic attacks or call a good certified Homeopathy to help you, it will work.



answers from Oklahoma City on

My psychiatrist friend said panic attacks do not happen when you are asleep. It just can't happen. It could be sleep apnea, bad dreams, etc...if your doc says to take a pill to help then you should talk to a pharmacist you absolutely trust. They know more about drug interactions and side effects than any other person. If it's safe for the baby then please take it and get some rest.

Not sleeping is putting your baby at risk for any number of issues.



answers from Providence on

In addition to trying accupuncture & homeopathy, I would try hypnosis. John Koenig is great if you're in RI or MA. Good luck



answers from Bloomington on

i second the homeopathy and accupuncture. also lavendar essential oil is very calming. get a bottle of the oil from a health food store and just take a whiff or rub some on your wrists when you feel panicky. it's very gentle and good for you and baby. Trader Joes makes a great lavendar oil spray. i love it.

one other alternative thing that has helped give me something to do to help calm down and redirect my brain is EFT-- Emotional Freedom Technique. It's a series of accupuncture meridians that you tap while saying a positive statement like "even though I'm freaking out I love myself fully and completely" It's corny, and seems a little rediculous... but very simple and has helped me. You might find it on youtube or there is probably a website or something about it.

i have had panic attacks, and i remember how scary they were. hang in there, i hope you learn how you can cope with them!



answers from Boston on

I am not pregnant but am 50 and in peri-menopause and can attest to the fact that you can wake up at 3 AM in a complete panic for no reason what-so-ever except hormonal changes. I have never had this before in my life. My mom takes Valerian when she cannot sleep, I can usually fall asleep again or else I take 1 Benadryl (or cuddle up to my husband for comfort). Just knowing that it is a hormonal effect and I am NOT having a heart attack or some other imagined illness does help me. The first time I really freaked out thinking there was something really wrong with me, but since I lived until the next morning and felt fine again, I figured it out. Valerian does not make my mom groggy in the morning while Benadryl (or the CVS equivalent diphenhydramine, much cheaper) does leave me feeling sort of tired and out of it the next day. Check with your doc before taking herbs or meds though. I have heard Valerian can lower blood pressure which could be dangerous if your pressure is already low. Hopefully it will all go away once you give birth again. Congratulations on the new baby.



answers from Burlington on

Me to!!! I actually have always battled w/ mild anxiety - usual situational.. but during my second pergnancy- It was bad- esp. during the second and third trimester.. My sleeping was TERRIBLE..i woke up every hour- tired all the time-
So I just pushed through it #1 because I didnt think it was even OK to take something while pregnant- (this WAS 4 years ago) and also- when I mentioned it to my Dr. she suggested Yoga and meditation
So- I did yoga once a week which was nice when i was there- But i just remember being very anxious
and after my son was born- ALL HELL broke Loose- i couldnt sleep at all- for days- cried all the time- it got very bad- got put on some mild anti depressant that was safe for breast feeding (that was VERY important to me) and felt like that made it WORSE.. keep takin it for about 4 weeks- STILL NO SLEEP- felt like my anxiety was worse with it...
Finally had one night when i didnt even sleep one second- i was very scared. I had my love 2 year old to care for - how could I??
So my mother found a Psychiatrist and got me in to see her IMMEDIATLY and she put me to sleep and switched my meds and I was good..
So, I dont know what to say- i dont know, if you wait and don't take something know- you will be hit with all these feelings- even harder once baby is born, or if you can just wait - stick it out and go on- as soon as you give birth?
Is Lorazepam safe to take? i dont know anything about it
If your doctor says its safe- and your ok with it- I would say GO FOR IT
because- everyone knows- MOM has to be healthy in order to care for anyone

I wish you lots of luck.. its so hard..



answers from Charlotte on




answers from New York on

i found that just knowing that it was temporary helped the most... i had it bad after my first pregnancy, then not after that because i mainly realized that i was normal and it was hormonal and it would go away... you will be ok.... i learned to walk away from things that upset me whenever possible, as soon as possible...

getting a real massage isnt a bad idea either



answers from Boston on

along with the acupuncture i was doing, my ob recommended a half a unisom (OTC) at bedtime. it helped me sleep and was also recommended for bad morning sickness, too. once i was able to sleep, the panic/anxiety went away. you can check with your doc but it was deemed safe to both mother and baby.

good luck-- anxiety and panic are so hard!



answers from Boston on

I had a similar problem. My pregnancy panic attacks started in the first tri and lasted through the middle of the second. I used Valerian,an herbal sleep aid. My midwife recommended it. It took the edge off and cleared my head enough to allow me to sleep. It takes about an hour to have any effect. I often took it with a small mug of sleepytime tea and that seemed to help. Good luck :) and congratulations on your pregnancy.


answers from New York on

You got great advice here M., acupuncture, homeopathy. For god's sake don't take these medications...nobody really knows the effects these could have on the baby...not worth it. Hang in there. Massage, chiro, acupuncture. Long walks, friends to talk to. Love from all of us on mamapedia! That's my two cents!

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