BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
Anxiety and Panic During Pregnancy
Berkeley Parents Network >
Pregnancy & Childbirth >
Anxiety and Panic During Pregnancy
Does anyone else have experience with panic attacks during their
pregnancy? I started getting them my 2nd trimester, when I was
using my albuterol asthma inhaler. I promptly stopped using my
inhaler, but they started coming back in my third trimester. My
husband and I are very happy to be expecting our first daughter,
so I'm not sure why this is happening to me. Anyone else
experience these during pregnancy or know how to prevent them?
I'd suggest getting a thyroid test. Hypothyroidism is VERY
common in women. Anxiety or panic attacs are a symptom of low
thyroid. I was probably hypothyroid long before I had my first
son but my symptoms BOOMED when he was about 6 months old.
It's a very simple blood test.
Have you told your OB? Panic attacks can be associated with
thyroid problems, and thyroid problems are associated with
pregnancy! Have your levels checked! (also good ideas for
my sister in law experienced similar problems. she also has
asthma and uses an inhaler. there was a post recently in the bpn
announcements about a woman doing a study group on the subject of
pregnancy anxiety and that it is normal for some women. my sister
in law contacted them. if you would like to send me an e-mail i
can see if she still has the info.
I am about 14 weeks pregnant with my second pregnancy, and I
feel like I am falling apart. We have a 3 yr old child whom I
love passionately, but who has been since birth a challenging,
let's say ''spirited'' child for me. I was ambivalent about
whether I wanted/could handle a second, but when I got pregnant
(not entirely planned) this time, we decided to keep it, and
now I am worried I made the wrong choice. This late in the
pregnancy, abortion no longer seems an option. But I worry
about everything: the sleeplessness, the financial burdens, the
exhaustion, the logistics, the balancing work/family (I work a
fairly challenging job and will not be able to take much leave
time this time around), all the baby stuff again, all the
toddler tantrums and discipline battles again, the impact on
our son, on my marriage, etc. It seems most nights and many
days I just cry all night long. I had been hoping that maybe
this baby would be a girl -- i think I imagined that a girl
would be less challenging, or more different, from my spirited
little boy -- but we've just learned that it's another boy.
When I've seen him on the ultrasound, I just feel nothing -- so
different from the excitement and anticipation with my first.
I have a good therapist, but but I would really value help from
people who have been there -- how do you come to terms with the
fact that you are carrying a child you maybe don't want? How
do I get over these worries?
thanks for the help
I completely understand your emotions. I was in a very similar situation up to
days ago. I have an almost two year old and have just given birth to our second
I was extremely worried up until I gave birth to him as to what I was in store
especially the impact on my relationship with my first son, my sanity, my life,
marriage, the whole thing.
Now that I am deep in the muck of newborn madness, here's what I have to say...
remember how in love you felt when your first was born? Believe it or not, you
fall that in love all over again with your second. At least for me, my lack of
enthusiam during the pregnancy (which also had me freaked out) was based
completely on my worrying, now that I look back on it. And that love is
from - and does not touch - the love you have for your first. My toddler has
the birth of his baby brother surprisingly well, although he is admittedly a
insecure and clingy lately. Basically, my strategy in dealing with both of them
have the newborn strapped in a sling on top of me 24/7 and give my toddler all
my mental attention. So far, its working well.
As for the baby exhaustion. On the one hand, yes, not sleeping. Sucks. On the
other hand, second baby is WAY easier to take care of. You know what you are
doing. At least for me, I am surprised at how easily I take his cries and
stride. They aren't the panic-inducing anxiety they were the first time. I know
to hold him, feed him, burp him, etc.
So, in the end, its been not only doable, but surprisingly tender and deeply
And again, this is coming from someone who was totally freaking out her entire
pregnancy (and was hoping for a girl) with the kinds of worries you mention.
You will be fine. So will your family.
Mom of Two Boys
I felt EXACTLY like you did when I got pregnant the second time
around, went through the same considerations about abortion and
wondered how I could possibly handle another child. Then, at 20
weeks, I had a miscarriage scare and suddenly I realized I really
wanted the child.
Once she was born, all considerations of not wanting her became a
distant memory. My hormones made me feel about her the same I'd
felt about my firstborn.
I won't kid you around, however. Having two children is MUCH
more difficult than one. But you learn to manage, the second one
becomes easier with age, as they grow the two of them play
together, and also you realize you can't be the perfect mother
you were to one, and stop trying - which makes it easier.
I'm sorry to hear about these feelings you are having. But, I will share with
very similar story from my life that I hope will make you feel better - and not
alone in your fears.
I was pregnant with our second son after having had three miscarriages. I was
certain that a healthy pregnancy would be the only thing to make me get over my
depression - surely caused by the miscarriages, I thought. Well, when at last
keeping a pregnancy I got very freaked out by it. I panicked about all of the
you mentioned - sleeplessness, the financial burdens, the exhaustion, the
the balancing work/family all the baby stuff again, all the toddler tantrums
discipline battles again, the impact on our son, on my marriage, etc. As it
I was having severe anxiety and panic attacks. Having never experienced them
before I just felt sad, out of whack and, well, extermelely panicky and
I got help with how to handle anxiety from a therapist friend. I got
for my aching back. I got free time away from my 3 year old when I could.
practiced prenatal yoga weekly in a studio and nightly at home. I did finally
around and began looking forward to the birth of the baby, but it was a scary
while it was happening.
I wish you well. I hope you can emerge from this with joy and anticipation!
Remember, most of the things that you fear are short-lived and very manageable
you are psychologically well.
Take good care.
It sounds like you are feeling overwhelmed by many things right now. I can't
them all, but I think you should talk to your doctor about your state of mind.
Hormones can cause really horrible emotional imbalances, and what's going on
you might be related to pregnancy hormones. I also wanted to say to you that I
highly spirited 3 year old boy, who, while i also love passionately, exhausts
me to no
end. He now has a baby brother that is about as calm and organized as any baby
seen. It's not just girls who are mellow, and chances our your second will not
spirited as your first.
mom of boys
Dear Pregnant and Very Sad,
I feel so bad for yoU! I am in sort of a similar position, in that I have a
2.75 y.o. boy and am now 11 weeks pregnant and really hoping for a girl! I,
ambivalent about whether or not to even GET pregnant again and it wasn't until
week ago at my first pre-natal that I got even a LITTLE bit excited. Up till
been so sick, I really thought about terminating. The thing is, I have been on
ansiety/depressant meds since my son was 1 year old, and going off of the Paxil
been a nightmare. ANd it brings up the question as to whether I can even handle
I just think 1.) don't worry about things that aren't happening yet (and
when they DO happen won't help either) and
2.) it's REALLY OK to not be happy / excited yet about this pregnancy. Some
aren't until well after the baby is born. If the sadness continues after THAT,
maybe meds are necessary, but it's ok to be scared and freaked out.
Anyway, give yourself a break; you don't have to be skipping with joy about
pregnancy, but also, after the first trimester your serotonin levels will go up
may feel much better.
Good luck and E me if you'd like to commiserate further.
Sorry to hear about your ambivalence about your second child.
When I got pregnant with my second, I really wanted another girl
(I wanted my daughter to have a sister, since I never had one).
I was quite disappointed when I found out I was having a boy and
it took me a while to get used to the idea that I was going to
have a son. But eventually, I accepted the fact and now that
he's here, I love him to death! As for how difficult the second
one will be, your fear assumes that he will be as difficult as
the first. That may not be the case. Maybe your second one
will be the mellow one =) I think maybe you have a fear of the
unknown, but once your son arrives, I bet you won't be able to
imagine life without him!
You are not alone. I was pregnant with our second child and felt
similar feelings - but once I met the new little person
everything changed. Really! Please try to enjoy this time - I
know it sounds cliche - but if you can try and be easy on
yourself and on the baby it will be so much easier. The baby is
going to be its own person - boy or girl - likely to be so
different than the first. Do you have good communication with
your spouse/partner? The financial and logistic stuff sounds like
it is weighing on you. Maybe you could go to a couples counselor
to work this stuff out? Or maybe just try to set aside some time
(not right before bed) to talk about it. Also, I don't know if
you would consider antidepressants now. Crying day and night
could be hormones but maybe not? Take care.
I'm sorry to hear you're feeling depressed. I had similar
feelings about having a second because my first (a girl) is a
total hand full, super active, STRONG willed, etc. and she was
particularly difficult while I was pregnant. I'll cut to the
chase: my second is a boy and has a much easier temperament than
number one. Easy going in ways she never was; sweet; a better
sleeper; etc. Hope this helps a little. I think you will grow to
want the little one inside you.
this sounds much like what i went through with my second
pregnancy...we have a now 2 1/2 yr old girl that i would say
fits into the ''spirited''child catagory and she is very very
active and we really wanted another girl and had picked out
names and then we got the news i was expecting a boy and we both
were dissapointed but i really had difficulties to accept it and
all through the pregnancy i could not connect with the baby i
was carrying and i was on an emotional rollercoaster for a
couple of months..i was very worried i could never love the baby
since i didn,t really want a boy...the last two months i got
better ....going into labor we still had no name for the little
babyboy we were having but the second he was born and i saw him
i had this enormous feeling of complete love and i have to say i
just love my little boy......i hope you will experience the same
once your baby is born and just know you are not alone in
feeling sad and depressed and i know how it feels just to start
crying and feel you can,t really stop it...you will get through
it and feel better and just to let you know....girls are not
necesarily easier then boys ...i know from experience''S''...
god luck,treat yourself and try to get as much rest as
possible...i feel with you
My partner who also suffers from depression, went off her meds
(zoloft) when she got pregnant and really sunk into a deep
depression. Through the advice of her therapist, they decided
together that since there really is no conclusive evidence that
says it affects your unborn child and the damage that it was
doing to our toddler who now had to deal with this very
stressed out and depressed mom, was not worth it. So she went
back on the meds, it wasn't great but it was so much better.
Now we have the most happy go lucky, smart, athletic 2 years
old son. We do find it very ironic that he seems so happy,
when she was so depressed. BTW, the depression ended the
second he born.
good luck to you.
I felt sad and very worried when I was pregnant with my second
child. I got pregnant (accident) with n.2 before n.1 was a year
old. My husband told me it was my decision and he'd support me
either way, but I felt no support from him during my pregnancy,
and many times he mentioned his concern that the new baby could
have a devastating effect on a relationship that was already hurt
by the impact our 1st son had in our lives. I do remember crying
frequently and wondering if it made anyself to bring a child to
this world given the situation.
However, once our second was born, things slowly started getting
better. For starters, I felt that n2 was a lot less of an
''earthquake'' in our lives: we were both very much prepared for
all the demands of an infant. I also felt a lot more relaxed
mothering n.2, and I think that had a positive effect on the
whole family. Our 2nd son was just a friendly soul and he gained
our hurts in a few months. I remember my husband once saying how
amazing our 2nd son is and how scary the thought was of having
considered ending the pregnancy. So, I had a very hard time
during pregnancy, but, when the baby was born, things were not
half as bad as I had imagined. This is just my story: we are SO
happy we had our son, our children are what we most cherish in
our lives (even with the challenging parts of being a parent!).
Happy mommy of 2
I am so sorry about what you are going through. I have not been
through the same experiece but felt that I just had to reply.
My first child is a very spirited child and I was overwhelmed
by her, and sill am at times. As a first time parent it is hard
to imagine that another child will not be similar, but anyone
with more than one child will tell you that they are all so
different. Chances are your next baby will be nothing like your
first. Also, your next baby is going to have to be adaptable
because baby one is already here and is running the show! My
second child is polar opposite from my first--they are nothing
alike. It was so much easier the second time. They are both
As I read your post my gut feeling is that something else is
going on. I wonder if there are unresolved feelings about your
life, childhood, or whatever it may be, that are all coming out
during this vulnerable time.
I would like to suggest that you explore this more before your
baby comes, because as you know this depression is likely to
increase during postpardum if not looked into. I would like to
give you a resource that was so helpful to a friend of mine in
a similar situation. I think it is important to have a
therapist who deals very specifically with these issues--
pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. Phyllis Klaus is a therapist
who deals with your exact issues, she is accomplished and
experienced--you can search her name on the web and read about
her. I have known more than one friend that has seen her, and
they all agree that she was so easy to talk to, wonderful, and
helped them with similar struggles.
Even if you like your therapist, you may get a lot more out of
meeting with someone who will address the specifics. You have
the right to enjoy this pregnancy and second baby experience,
so please do what you need to do to take care of yourself.
Best to you and your family.
Just another mom that cares.
while you will probably get mostly response along the lines of
try anti-depressants, I just wanted to say it is not too late to
end the pregnancy. I terminated a pregnancy for medical reasons
at 13 weeks. If you do decide to go that route, make sure its an
OB who routinely does the surgery as it is more complicated than
first trimester terminations. Mine was at Alta Bates. Not sure
if you wanted to hear that sort of info. I do think for some
families one child is the answer, and for some its 2 or 3 or 4.
I am sorry you are going through this.
I am a psychologist specializing in perinatal issues, www.ginahassan.com and part
of a group practice, Perinatal Psychotherapy Services,
www.perinatalpsychotherapy.com We offer individual and group therapy for women
struggling with depression/anxiety during and following pregnancy. It sounds like
you need support and a place to sort through your sadness about the gender of this
baby and your worries about being overwhelmed by another high need child.
Individual or group therapy could be helpful in sorting through your feelings of
despair. There are a lot of resources available in this area, and I or one of my
colleagues would be happy to speak to you about what might be helpful in getting
you through this difficult period. Please feel free to call or email. You might also
want to look at the website for Postpartum Support International or Depression After
Delivery, both of which have a lot of useful information about depression during
pregnancy as well. There is help and support available, you are doing right to reach
out. Best of luck - Gina Hassan, Ph.D.
I can at least give you some information about the Tegretol; I had my
pregnancy while taking it, and had a perfectly healthy child. The
I was given by every doctor I asked was to (a) take 10 times the RDA of
folic acid (4 mg) every day, and (b) have an amniocentesis to make sure
the child didn't have spinal problems.
What it boiled down to was that the risks of spinal or heart problems
child whose mother was taking Tegretol were twice what they were
otherwise -- something like 5% rather than 2.5%.
My heart goes out to you. I found out I was pregnant while taking
Depakote, which is also an anti-convulsive and worked to contain my
mood swings and chronic anxiety. I went off it when I was 8 weeks
pregnant and we have a healthy baby boy. I have continued on Celexa
and am fine. In large part, the credit goes to Dr. David Rovno, MD in
Montclair, 510-531-7523. I have seen many highly qualified, incredibly
educated doctors over a 20 year period for this issue and am most
impressed with Dr. Rovno's approach to medication. He is quite adept
and does not overprescribe. I felt taken care of and supported through
my preganancy using only Celexa and am now feeling better than I
have in years. So my advice is: make an appointment with him to see if
you can control the anxiety with a safer drug like an SSRI. There is
another drug which works on the ''switching' mechanism in the brain,
like Tegritol and Depakote, that may be safer. He will know what it
Good Luck to you and your family, whatever route you choose.
I have not been in your situation but my heart goes out to you
making such a tough decision. Just based on what you said it
would be really, really hard to continue the pregnancy. I would
never tell someone they should or should not have an abortion.I
had two in my teens and early twenties when I felt I couldn't
care for a child, now having two children, I still think I made
the right choice for then. I think terminating a pregnancy is a
reasonable choice, not one to make lightly but a choice that we
have for when birth control fails and the circumstances warrant
it. I'm not sure if this is what you were asking...
all the best
I hope my experience might help a bit. I'm sorry (but
understand) that you did not list an email address so this might
reach you sooner. I developed panic attacks during my 1st
pregnancy having NEVER had one previously. I consulted with a
psychiatrist who specializes in psychiatric disorders during
pregnancy: Anna Spielvogal, MD in SF who has a private practice
but also works at SF Genral hospital. It took me a several weeks
and many more panic attacks before I began to take the Zoloft
she recommended and it completely took care of the symptoms. I
stopped taking it a few weeks after delivery and did not have
another panic attack again until the second trimester of my 2nd
pregnancy! They developed almost the same week as they did in my
1st pregnancy. I experimented this time because they were not as
frequent but eventually took Zoloft for the last trimester and
this time stopped a few days before my due date and I have not
had a single attack since. My babies have been totally fine! I
do not know about seizures and the impact of tegretol but I'd
highly recommend your seeing someone who specializes in
psychiatric disorders during pregnancy! She will have experience
with other women like you! Dr. Spielvogal is listed in the SF
I did NOT see this question but am quite concerned. I have
taken tegretol for a seizure disorder for about 15 years now.
I chose it in my mid-twenties because it was rated the safest
drug for women who would be having children!
I have a wonderful doctor in Mountain View named Dr. Susan
Hansen. She's a neurologist and I'd suggest calling her. I do
not know the specifics. For me, I had a head injury and can
take the minimum dosage of tegretol. I had a special test mid-
pregnancy to determine if there were any problems and there
Tegretol is a stage three drug or whatever it's called. That
means that it CAN harm a fetus and it's is contraindicated.
However, if you have a seizure disorder, you can cause more
damage to the fetus from having a seizure than by taking drugs
I have been going to female neurologists since 1983 because I
found them far, far more sympathetic to the
fertility/motherhood issues. Your neurologist should be able
to counsel you on this issue. I take 300 mg of tegretol a day.
I took folic acid and C0Q10 or whatever it's called, and my
baby was 100% fine.
Please, call a neurologist on this. MANY drugs that are
contraindicated can be carefully used during pg.
this page was last updated: Oct 28, 2012
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network