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Pregnancy-related claustrophobia
  1. Nessa Keane1,
  2. Amy Farrell1 and
  3. Brian Hallahan1,2
  1. 1Department of Psychiatry, Galway University Hospitals, Galway, Ireland
  2. 2Psychiatry, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Brian Hallahan; brian.hallahan{at}


A 35-year-old primigravida presented with significant anxiety symptoms at 26 weeks’ gestation. Symptoms were preceded by a nightmare about her upcoming labour. She developed repetitive intrusive thoughts of being trapped emotionally and physically in her pregnancy. Her symptoms were suggestive of new-onset claustrophobia associated with pregnancy, which has not been previously reported on. Her symptoms ameliorated with a combination of cognitive–behavioural therapy and pharmacotherapy (sertraline and low dose quetiapine). The later stages of pregnancy were associated with minimal symptoms and the resolution of her subjective ‘entrapment’. A subsequent pregnancy resulted in similar although less severe symptomatology. No postpartum anxiety symptoms were demonstrated on both occasions. Anxiety symptoms can adversely impact both the mother and fetus, and thus correct identification and management of pregnancy-related claustrophobia improved symptomatology and functioning and allowed for earlier detection and reduced symptomatology in a subsequent pregnancy.

  • anxiety disorders (including OCD and PTSD)
  • cognitive–behavioural psychotherapy

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  • Contributors NK and AF were involved in patient interview and paper write-up. BH was involved in study conception and paper write-up.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.