Pregnant with Anxiety

Updated on May 02, 2013
A.M. asks from Orlando, FL
13 answers

I am almost 22 weeks pregnant and have just started having anxiety/panic attacks. I have had anxiety disorder for 5 or more years and before I got pregnant was on Paxil. Now at the beginning of my pregnancy I was really sick and had anxiety and panic attacks and then I got better and didn't have any anxiety until recently and I am really unsure to what triggered it. I did talk to my obgyn and he gave me a prescription for xanex, but the pharmacist informed me that it is a class d medication and its not safe for the baby and he also told me there is nothing I can take while pregnant. This made me more upset than I already had been feeling. I am trying to cope with this anxiety/panic attacks and I would love some advice and help on what to do. Thanks

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answers from Dallas on

When I was pregnant, I would get semi-anxious, but not to the point you are at. That came much later, and with a vengeance, lol. But what you can try is drink some Sleepytime tea. I did and it helped. It was never strong enough to help me sleep but did mellow me out.

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answers from Chicago on

Have you tried cognitive behavioral therapy?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm a big fan of holistic treatments as we are very complex beings. "A pill for every ill" is dangerous and can cause other issues, especially with a growing baby inside you - NO clinical trials have been done on the effects of meds on a fetus, so the jury is very much out here. Here is what I suggest, in any combination:

Essential oils are very effective for alleviating not only physical pregnancy symptoms, but emotional ones as well. doTERRA has a line of single oils and blends that can can use them topically, aromatically, or internally (depending on the oil and condition). They are certified pure therapeutic grade and have NO contraindications for pregnancy or w/other meds (which I would absolutely avoid while pregnant). I recommend -

Lavender for calm - diffuse into the air or rub on chest / soles of feet
Serenity for insomnia / anxiety (same application as above)
Balance for anxiety / nerves / acute panic

Also, really watch your diet. Depression is directly linked to excesses of sugar (basically all white, processed food: breads, candies, etc) and deficiencies in amino acids, tryptophan, zinc and B vitamins (esp folic acid). Supplement these or make sure to get them into your diet. Iron deficiency can also contribute to depression.

Make sure you're getting enough sleep and stay far away from excitotoxins - caffiene and all artificial sweeteners (aspartame, splenda, etc) as they contribute to insomnia, mineral loss, and jitters.

These suggestions may mean a big lifestyle change, but what you put into your body directly effects how you feel. You wouldn't put water in your car's gas tank and expect it to function, it's the same with your body. Give yourself and baby and great chance by eating clean and attending to your body's most basic needs. Emotionally, try to find someone to talk to...a family member, someone at church, even a board like this one can be helpful.

Good luck to you, mama.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I would talk with someone about the possibility of taking a natural supplement. I don't know if you could take St. John's Wort. There are several other possibilities too. Perhaps make an appointment with a naturopathic physician.

I might also help to begin therapy to learn a way to think differently. Often we are anxious because of what we say to ourself. There are therapies that address this issue, tho I can't think of their names now.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Huntsville on

I had severe anxiety and depression with my second pregnancy. Looking back, I realize now that the hormones exacerbated an already underlying problem. My doctor put me on an anti-depressant, and while it wasn't ideal, my son is fine. I wasn't able to breast-feed, but I also wasn't thinking about harming myself. I would try some of the things the other moms mentioned, but if it comes down to it, there ARE drugs you can take that won't harm your baby. Ask the pharmacist which ones are safest for use and then talk to your doctor. And just hang in there! Take it a moment at a time, if you have to.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Billings on

I worried a ton during pregnancy, but I think, if you are already worried, taking drugs deemed unsafe for the baby would only make things worse (or they would have for me). I think seeing a therapist would be a better route. I know there is a lawsuit against paxil for birth defects, so it is good you aren't taking that anymore.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Erie on

There are other anti-anxiety meds you can take that are not narcotic-like. I have taken Vistaril, an antihistimine, and Gabapentin, an anti-seizure med, with great results. I don't know if either is contraindicated during pregnancy, but ask your doctor about other alternatives. There is a history of addiction in my family, so my doctor had to find alternatives to the meds typically prescribed for it.
Besides that, I highly recommend Tapping Therapy. You can probably find the book at the library, it's simple to learn and totally harmless. It has helped me tremendously with my fear of driving over bridges. And I also second the suggestion for cognitive therapy, someone specifically trained in it is worth their weight in gold.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Doctors know next to nothing about meds. I would ask another pharmacist to make sure but if the pharmacist said there isn't anything you can take then I wouldn't take anything.

Docs only know what the drug reps tell them and they forget stuff they learned in college about meds in a few months. So I never take a new med without talking to the pharmacist first. If I doubt their advice I chat with another one. I hardly ever get a different story.

What's really sad is that this doc is probably giving this med to his other patients and they have no idea it could be hurting their baby. I think I'd find a doc who would say they didn't know what was safe and check it out by looking online or to your pharmacy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Forget the meds for now and get involved with a therapist, preferably one that specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Biofeedback. You need to learn (quickly) how to regulate your body's responses to the onset of an anxiety attack. It can be done and if you are planning on nursing, you will need to be able to do so for the next year!

Your pharmacist is correct. There are no "safe" medications while you are pregnant or nursing.

You could also try getting involved in a prenatal yoga class, meditation group or hypnotist!



answers from Boca Raton on

I got my first panic attack when pregnant. I only get nocturnal panic attacks (wake up having one in the middle of sleep) which sucks. I went to the hospital because I didn't know what it was and I thought I was dying. I have a mitral valve prolapse and apparently pregnancy can trigger them. I'm going off on a tangent. But..... my acupuncturist suggested tapping lightly on my wrist on the inside part. It's meant to help calm the body down. It does help, perhaps it can help you? Also, just having the xanax nearby may help emotionally....
Good luck and safe pregnancy



answers from New York on

Get some Therapy ASAP. Talking is the best thing for anxiety. I suggest finding a female therapist who specializes in women's issues and even fertility - they see anxious women all of the time. Worst case scenario, take a little Xanax. If you are unsure, call the OB and ask more questions.

Good luck and hang in there.



answers from Utica on

I am sorry you are going through this but I felt I should mention that if you are not aware what Cognitave Behaviour Therapy involves I will tell you that it is NOT something to be done while you are currently pregnant. It is extremely stressful and severly intense and being pregnant makes it that much more intense and difficult to work with. I have done it/ tried it and my therapist told me that she would ask that I stop when I became pregnant and now I can see why. I do agree that it is and can be helpful but it is also one of the hardest things that I have gone through. I suffer from OCD so the things that I had to face while doing it may be different than you but it is still very difficult to get through
Good Luck

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