Anxiety During Pregnancy

image001Pregnancy naturally makes women worry about anything and everything. This comes as no surprise; after all, a life is developing. It’s normal to worry about your health and that of your baby and most pregnant women will be worried about the food they eat as well. While it’s normal to worry, you need to ensure that you keep your anxiety levels at a healthy level lest it interferes with your everyday function. In other words, you need to learn to deal with it better. There are a lot of things that you can try, such as practicing yoga and listening to soothing music.

What Are the Symptoms of Anxiety During Pregnancy?

If you are having frequent and recurrent concerns about the health of the baby or keep worrying that something terrible may happen, you may be suffering from anxiety. Another sign of anxiety is panic attacks and this is characterized by a racing heartbeat, sweaty palms, faintness and felling like you are about to pass out or are having a heart attack.

Will Stress and Anxiety Affect My Baby?

Everyday pressures can lead to some stress but high levels of chronic stress can be detrimental to your pregnancy. This is because they increase your likelihood of developing a preterm labor and having a low birth weight delivery. It’s important to learn to manage your stress levels as this helps you have a better pregnancy experience.

How to Relieve Anxiety During Pregnancy

1. Practice Yoga

Prenatal yoga is a good way to deal with stress and anxiety during pregnancy because it helps relax the mind while alleviating muscle aches and pains. A study conducted by the University of Michigan found that prenatal yoga combined with physical poses and meditative focus help reduce signs of depression. Watch the following video to learn yoga poses to relive anxiety during pregnancy:

2. Listen to Music

Music tends to have a calming effect and as you may already know it can improve your mood and uplift your spirits. Make sure that you have your favorite music readily available whenever you start feeling anxious. You can have your playlist ready to play at work, at home or even while driving. The following music can help to combat stress and anxiety during pregnancy:

3. Take It Easy

Rest is a good way to relieve anxiety during pregnancy and you need to make time for yourself. Go for a walk, read a book or even have breakfast in bed. Taking care of yourself elevates your mood. A lot of expectant mothers take on more than they can handle, and while you may feel like you need to do tasks such as prepare the nursery or work as hard as you can before taking your maternity leave, it’s not necessary. This actually works up your anxiety.

4. Bond with Your Partner

Bonding with your partner eases the burden and strengthens your connection. You can take a vacation if possible or simply spend as much time as you can together. You will need to have a great bond with your partner to help you smoothly transition when the baby arrives.

5. Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are a natural mood enhancer and you can incorporate them into your diet. Good sources of omega-3 include fish and walnuts.

6. Rest

A lot of expectant mother have trouble sleeping or insomnia simply because they are tired. With all the bodily changes occurring, your energy levels may not be as they were and you need to get some more rest. Take a daytime nap when you need one and make time for rest during the day. Here are the tips for better sleep during pregnancy. 

7. Practice Prayer or Meditation

Prayer and meditation can help you be calmer as they naturally reduce your response to fear. People who meditate and pray tend to suffer less from anxiety and this can be attributed to their spiritual connection. The following video can provide with you guided meditation to relieve anxiety:

8. Try Light Therapy

Light therapy is known to alleviate the symptoms associated with depression. The therapy involves exposing the patient to artificial sunlight at specific times throughout the day.

9. Have Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese therapy that has been used to help treat various conditions including stress and anxiety. It works by placing tiny needles at the body’s pressure points. This is done by professionals.

10. Join a Support Group

Support groups can help you deal with your anxiety better as you get to share your concerns and worries with others. There are various support groups you can join even online and a good example is the BabyCenter Community which helps connect women undergoing similar issues. You also could create a support group for pregnant women just like you.

Risk Factors for Anxiety During Pregnancy

Anyone of us can suffer from anxiety during pregnancy. That said, there are women with a higher likelihood of developing anxiety. The risk is higher for:

  • Persons with a family or personal history of depression
  • Young mothers especially those less than 20 years old
  • Women with insufficient social support
  • Lonely women
  • Women experiencing marital or relation problems, separation or divorce
  • Widowed expectant mothers
  • Women with a complicated pregnancy
  • Women with low income
  • Those with a history of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, PMDD
  • Women who underwent a recent traumatic experience or had a stressful year
  • Women who are uncertain on whether or not to keep the pregnancy
  • Previous pregnancy problems
  • Women with other children

Symptoms of Depression During Pregnancy and When You Should Worry

Depression is a serious condition and it can impair your ability to handle your everyday tasks as normal. When normal symptoms of pregnancy such as fatigue are combined with sadness and hopelessness, this may be a sign of depression. If you feel as though your daily responsibilities are too much to bear or have thoughts of harming yourself, you need to get help from a professional such as a counselor, midwife or your doctor. Seeking helps doesn’t necessarily mean that you are weak; it in fact shows that you are willing to make the necessary arrangements to ensure that you and the baby are healthy. The following symptoms are a sign of depression during pregnancy:

  • Insomnia
  • Feelings of sadness and emptiness daily
  • Constant fatigue
  • Inappropriate feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Intense irritability and agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Poor appetite
  • Poor judgment, improper social behavior and racing thoughts

Click here to know all about depression during pregnancy.