- Panic Attacks During Pregnancy
- The Reasons of Panic Attacks Among Pregnant Women
- Symptoms of Panic Attacks
- How Dangerous are Panic Attacks?
- Treatment of Anxious Disorders During Pregnancy
- How to Behave During Panic Attack?
- Prevention of Panic Attacks
Panic Attacks During Pregnancy
It is appropriate for the pregnant woman in a natural way to be aware of her future child around the time of labor. But what if during pregnancy an unaccountable inward agitation arises, amounting sometimes almost to a panic when palms grow cold, pulse begins to race, and breathing becomes unsatisfactory? At such moments it is difficult to the woman to think soberly and judiciously.
The panic attacks at pregnancy are not rare case, taking into account that about 5 % of womenfolk suffers from this disease. Many future mothers are concerned by following questions: how dangerous such anxious attacks are? Whether the women suffering from such disorders can plan pregnancy at all? How to overcome sharp feeling of fear?
The Reasons of Panic Attacks Among Pregnant Women
According to ICD-10, vegetative crisis and panic attack belong to a subclass of neurotic disorders therefore the mechanism of their emergence is caused by features of nervous system of the person. What can provoke a panic attack during pregnancy? This happens due to the fact that reproduction instinct amplifies in each woman while expecting of the child. It is the concern over future posterity.
The pregnant woman before childbirth is more often disposed to play over in her mind the meaningless events when someone attacks her in a dark lane, or when she has an accident, or when she stumbles, falling on a stomach, etc. Except of the fear of losing her future child the woman is often afraid of delivery itself and of changes in the body after it due to pregnancy.
She is also frightened that she won’t be capable of handling a role of mother after the birth of her child. Such psychoemotional pressure may provoke panic attacks. And if the woman has uneasy character already, and has often been upset, or get regular emotional upheavals in life, then the risk of development of vegetative crisis during pregnancy repeatedly increases.
Such disorder may be caused by hormonal reorganization of the organism. Sometimes panic attacks are a consequence of other somatic diseases, violations of brain functioning, neuroses or depression. Dizziness and sudden increase of heartbeat are also capable to cause disturbing attacks at pregnancy. There may be provocative external circumstances, such as conflict situations, big crowd, or closed space.
Symptoms of Panic Attacks
At panic disorder the attacks of serious anxiety states accompanied with an inexplicable fear combined with various unpleasant somatic implications. The internal stress associated with future delivery or with changes of life after that, may lead to thinking disorder of the pregnant woman. There is a tangle of thoughts in heavy head making the future mother feel helpless. How the panic attacks are shown during pregnancy?
The following symptoms are most often encountered:
- heavy sweating, change of body temperature;
- giddiness, loss of balance when walking;
- stomach ache, stool retention or softening, nausea, sometimes vomiting;
- drying of mouth;
- feeling of shortness of breath, pseudoasthma, other disorders of respiratory system;
- pressure jump, arrhythmia, acceleration of heart beating;
- there may be cramps in legs or in arms before delivery.
If it is observed, at least, four of above-mentioned symptoms against the background of your causeless fear, it is necessary to refer to the psychotherapist for consultation.
How Dangerous are Panic Attacks?
Some of future mothers are worried about how sensitive their babies could be to panic attack during pregnancy. But in practice the majority of the women with anxiety disorder give birth to absolutely healthy children. Sometimes, the instinct of preservation of posterity helps the mother during child-bearing to be focused on concern about her future child that gets her out of her own psychological problems.
Cases when after the delivery the woman forgets about the panic attacks for keeps are rather frequent. It isn't needed to worry excessively about influence of vegetative crises on the fetus, because additional experiences can only aggravate attacks and increase incidence of their recurrence. However, it is necessary to learn to pull the anxiety attacks away as there is a certain threat for child’s health with them. Uncontrollable sense of fear can exert a negative influence on the course of pregnancy, childbirth itself, and also recovery of the woman’s health after that.
Strong emotional excitement can even provoke miscarriage in the first trimester of pregnancy, and premature patrimonial activity in last months. Muscular tension during panic attacks is capable to cause the uterus hyper tone that may lead to fetal hypoxia. The woman in an inadequate state, escaping from the panic attack, can hastily take medical preparation, unsafe for the child.
Treatment of Anxious Disorders During Pregnancy
Special consideration in vegetative attacks treatment among women during child-bearing is the fact that medicamental therapy, which is usual for such cases, is manifestly contraindicative. Tranquilizers, antidepressants and other drugs are unsafe for the fetus. The woman should stop taking them two months before conception.
Exception must be made only for soft neuroleptics which are used in especially hard cases in pregnant women. The psychotherapy is a major preference for the treatment. It is directed at eliminating the utter reason of panic, and specifically targeted at familiarizing the women with methods of a self-care at nervous breakdown.
Each woman with the help of the medical expert will be able to develop special skills of behavior during the panic attack, and to lower anxiety level. Psychotherapeutic sessions will also help to increase general resistance of the organism to stress. Special respiratory techniques and exercises directed to relaxation are very effective in fight against vegetative crises.
It is possible to use such methods of treatment as art therapy, light therapy, infrared radiation, or acupuncture. Aromatherapy sessions, phytotherapeutic infusions or preparations reduce disturbing feelings. It is necessary to continue to visit the psychotherapist in the first weeks after the childbirth.
How to Behave During Panic Attack?
In order that the panic attacks were less dangerous to mother with the child, and to prevent any complication during delivery, it is necessary to be prepared to them beforehand and to learn how to control the organism state in the period of the attack. Muscles tension leads to entry of signals of danger in brain, and all vegetative manifestations has such similar nature. If to learn how to relax muscles spontaneously, the panic fears will lose a physiological basis and the anxious attacks will suffer the woman much less often.
To leave your body completely relaxed, it is necessary to reach the great tension at first. Learn to strain alternately muscles of hands, forearms, shoulders, hips, shoulder-blades, shins and feet. Then try to combine tension of different muscles until you learn to strain the whole body at the same time. Repeat the following exercise several times a day: after taking a deep gasp achieve full tension of muscles, then count to ten, and then sharply relax by breathing out.
To effectively cope with panic attacks, the following simple breathing exercise should also be mastered: try to breathe out longer, than you breathe in, gradually increasing exhalation time. When there comes the disturbing attack, begin to breathe correctly and do exercise in spontaneous relaxation. If during the panic attack you have low blood pressure, then open a window frame, lay down so that your legs were above the head. A cup of sweet tea or rather weak coffee helps well at pressure reduction. If the attack of panic is accompanied by increase in blood pressure, sit down in the convenient weakening pose, put the cooling compress on your forehead, and sip cool water unhurriedly.
Prevention of Panic Attacks
In order for pregnancy and childbirth to proceed safely, it is worth to be prepared for them in advance. Vegetative crisis isn't a contraindication for the child bearing. However, women with the diagnosed panic attacks need to complete a course of drug treatment and psychotherapy at the pregnancy planning stage. The psychotherapy course just before childbirth is a good experience to get, even if panic attacks haven’t occurred during the whole pregnancy period.
It is a matter of following simple rules for the prevention of the anxiety attacks:
- follow the daily routine which will reduce your fatiguability: work only part-time, use a day sleeping for rest;
- easy physical exercises, walking in the open air will help your to reduce disturbing attacks, and facilitate pregnancy and childbirth;
- you should never smoke, take alcoholic beverages, or drink too much coffee;
- to lower sense of fear before childbirth, resort to methods of relaxation and fight against stresses;
- drink a lot of liquid, eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, cut out sugar and salt;
- drink calming herbal teas before going to bed;
- right before childbirth visit the psychotherapist, it also won't be superfluous after the childbirth.
Important thing is to receive more positive emotions, to be engaged in any employment by which you can take pleasure. Try to think little about potential dangers to your future child and complications which may occur during delivery. Think of a wonder that awaits you after that, when your beautiful child will be born. And this child will bring you joy and love all the rest of your life.