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Can hysteria cause damage

6 messages
17/03/2006 at 09:45
Hi, Hope someone can help. My wife suffers from hysteria attacks and is VERY worried they will damage or make her lose the baby. She has an attack about every 4-5 so far and is convincing herself she is damaging the baby. Any advice to reasure her and tips to brake the loop would be great.
17/03/2006 at 10:41
Hya, during my pregnancy with my daughter I suffered from very severe depression and quite often had bad anxiety attacks, I too was very worried at what affect this was having on the baby, But to my relief my G.P and a counsellor soon set me straight, the only person I was hurting was myself. I would suggest your wife go and have a chat with her midwife or GP and i am sure that with your love and support that she will be able to get through this rough time. Tell her shes not alone and that many women suffer during pregnancy. She needs to take time to relax, if she feels herself sliping try and breath and think positive about the day she is going to hold her beautiful baby in her arms and how thats is going to make her feel, she will soon stop the cycle and start to feel better. I hope this is of some help and send her my best wishes
17/03/2006 at 10:46
Hi B,

First of all sympathies to your wife dealing with this through pregnancy, it must be really tough - as if the whole thing wasn't difficult enough.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by hysteria, do you mean a psychological conversion disorder or panic attacks?

If you're talking about panic attacks, with hyperventilation etc. which sounds more likely, these aren't uncommon in pregnancy. Some women who've suffered them before will find they experience fewer attacks or more attacks during pregnancy and other women might experience them for the first time. Changes are due to the hormonal changes involved in pregnancy which affect women in different ways. Also, as the baby grows if puts pressure on the abdominal area and affects how you breathe.

If it is hyperventilation we're talking about, so if your wife feels panic, fear, dizziness, thinks she is choking but is really overbreathing, then it won't cause her or the baby damage.

That said, the general raising of anxiety levels if your wife is worried about causing damage is, like stress, not the best backdrop for a developing baby.

Has she already been to her doctor about the attacks? If not then she really should go because they'll be able to give her lots of advice and recommend breathing exercises that can help hold panic attacks in check.

It's important that she talk to her doctor about it not because she might otherwise damage the baby, but because women who've suffered panic attacks in pregnancy have a higher likelihood of developing Post natal depression.

If there are any obvious triggers for the attacks then you can try to avoid them. Stressful situations are a common trigger and making sure your wife gets plenty of rest and relaxation can help, as it does any pregnant woman!

Excuse the long reply and hope it is relevant to what you were asking!

19/03/2006 at 21:25
Hi B,
Sorry to hear that your wife is suffering so badly. Maria and MummytoNadine have offered some really positive advice here.
Apart from the attacks of hysteria, is everything else OK with the pregnancy? MtoN and Maria are right – she isn't in danger of hurting the baby but being pregnant is a huge thing for every woman and the stronger she feels physically as well as spiritually, the better.
Are there positives you can both focus on in the good periods so that she doesn't have an added anxiety in fear of the next attack? You might not want to over-obsess too early about buying things for your baby etc, but in itself, being pregnant can be a very invigorating opportunity to change your diet for the better, take up ante-natal yoga (not quite so scarily hardcore as regular yoga, if you're not used to it!) or hook up with some active birth classes near you. These are great even if the event doesn't end being an 'active birth' as you share experiences with other soon-to-be parents who want to talk through their own worries or who have previous inspiring birth experiences.
Keep in touch.
20/03/2006 at 09:26
Thanks for your replys, I passed on the messages to my wife on Fri (sorry I didn't reply to you all (works time-boss watches us so v difficult to log on )and she felt better so thanks again. Just a few details as to the panic attacks, she suffers from OCD (fears contamination/damage to others from things not under her control. eg food handled by delicounter staff, post, door handles ect) She feels she is a "pain to others" by asking them to wash hands several times and looks for signs that she is upseting others (me for eg) and that they are getting angry at her. The MORE someone trys to reasure her they are not (tension in voice)she picks up on and this starts the panic off,which leads to "now I am damaging the baby" which feeds the loop. We both are getting conciling for this but it is a slow process. So hence the call to you for seconedary reasurance.
I am off for a week and catch up with you later. thanks for letting me share.
Sorry for spelling I am rushing and no spell check :-)
Cheers B
20/03/2006 at 11:46
Hi B
You can come and chat here whenever you like.The members are so supportive and often you find someone else has a valuable experience to share.
It's great that you're already getting counselling as it would be a shame if her condition spoilt the wonder of having the baby and compromised her experience of motherhood after the birth.
Keep in touch
Take care
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