Panic Disorder during Pregnancy

People who suffer from panic attacks feel an anxiety and this is heightened if the patient is pregnant. There is a fear of recurring panic attacks and also the fear regarding the long term effect on the unborn child. If the attacks are frequent then they might have to deal with these without medication. But to make matters worse there are not many details available relating to panic attacks during pregnancy.

For women the first panic attack occurs during pregnancy. This is mainly caused due to a change in the level of hormone, stress due to pregnancy, getting emotional for the birth of the child or the patient might have a history of panic attacks and anxiety. In the first three months there is a rapid increase of HCG hormone levels. Panic attacks are common in this period. Again women who have a history of panic attacks before pregnancy are more than likely to experience further panic attacks after becoming pregnant.

The number one concern for women is the effect of these panic attacks on the health of the unborn child. There is no definite research work on this. But doctors believe that such attacks should not have any bearing on the well being of the baby as the womb is designed to protect the fetus. However, the risk of premature baby or the birth of an underweight baby is always there. Some other schools of thought believe, though not proved, that there is a link between the panic attacks during pregnancy and the mental health of the children in later stages.

Medicines are generally not given to women during pregnancy but in extreme cases of panic disorder drugs can be administered. These drugs usually have very low risk for the fetus. But natural treatments like St. John’s Wort are at all suitable. Breastfeeding mother should do well to avoid them. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the best method to treat women with panic attack disorders. This is a very safe method and highly effective too. Other than this the patient can do moderate exercise or indulge in some hobby to reduce stress. Until and unless further research is done in this field no definite treatment regime can be advised.