I will try to make this as short as I can, I am 15 weeks pregnant, starting just before I became pregnant I began to have terrible images, thoughts and nightmares regarding my two toddler boys, Not that I will harm them, but that something AWFUL will happen! leaving them injured, (or worse) more often it focuses aroung apacolyptic type scenarios in which I do not survive and my boys are left to fend for themselves, it terrifies me, paralyzes me, leaves me in tears and gasping for air, They don’t seem to have a trigger, or a relief and occur at completely random times through the day and night. I have become obsessed with the fear of something happening to impact their lives, they are full of innocence and trust, of course a parents worst nightmare is that something will harm their children. Are these normal thoughts for a parent to have? even as violent, and obsessive as they have become? they have increased to me imagining terror, pain and hunger, terrible images…They are making me question my stability. I am desperate…Anyone…Help?

A. The experiences you have described are not the norm but according to research, approximately 10 percent of women will experience panic attacks during pregnancy. The reason for the attacks may be related to fluctuations in hormone levels. I can’t be certain that what you are experiencing are panic attacks but it is a realistic possibility.

I would recommend having an evaluation with both a mental health professional and a physician. An evaluation is important to determine what may be wrong. The stress associated with panic attacks is having a negative impact on your life. You want to take every precaution to protect the health and well-being of your baby. You may be prescribed a low dose of medication to assist with your anxiety. It may also be recommended that you participate in psychosocial treatment to address these incidents.

Please don’t ignore your symptoms; they need to be addressed. In many cases, panic and anxiety becomes worse over time. Very effective treatments exist that can assist with these attacks. I hope that you will consider this advice. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle