How To Control Anxiety During Pregnancy

Feed Your Body Regularly Scheduled Healthy Meals

ANXIETY DURING PREGNANCY | My PERSONAL experience tips/ways I pulled myself out.

Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar can lead to feelings that mimic panic, explains Snyder. This is compounded in pregnancy as hypoglycemia can also lead to increased nausea.”

Eating small, high protein meals throughout the day can reduce the sense of panic that comes with extreme hunger and can also minimize nausea.

What Is Antenatal Anxiety

We all know that its almost expected to feel anxious while pregnant, but for many women, this occasional feeling of anxiety can escalate and turn into a disorder, or worse, exasperate a mental health problem that already exists.

If your anxiety level seems to be more than just the normal worries about pregnancy and it’s affecting your everyday life, you may have antental anxiety – a form of the condition experienced during pregnancy.

Research puts antenatal anxiety above depression, with prevalence ranging anywhere from 13 to 21% of pregnant women experiencing serious anxiety during pregnancy.

In fact, severe anxiety is three to four times more common than depression during pregnancy and early motherhood, according to research from the University of British Columbia. The study suggests that anxiety disorders in new mums are outpacing depression, yet health care professionals have given postnatal depression much more attention.

How to cope with anxiety during pregnancy

  • Rapid pulse tight chest, sweating, muscle tension, nausea, loss of appetite

When Should I See My Doctor For Anxiety During Pregnancy

Even if you experience only mild symptoms of anxiety, it is important to inform your doctor. They can recommend the best methods for you to manage those symptoms, and can then monitor you throughout your pregnancy for signs of worsening anxiety.

If your anxiety is affecting your daily life or if youre having frequent panic attacks, you should call your doctor right away. Only they can diagnose you with an anxiety disorder and recommend the best, most effective treatment options for you.

Seeking help is the best step you can take to ensuring that you and your child stay safe and healthy.

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What Is An Anxiety Attack

Anxiety attacks are extremely stressful events – especially for pregnant women. Often referred to as “panic attacks,” anxiety attacks are moments of intense anxiety that manifest in physical symptoms. During an anxiety attack, you’re likely to experience:

  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Leg and muscle weakness or tingling.
  • Trouble thinking.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Dizziness.

These are the same symptoms that anyone with an anxiety attack experiences, regardless of pregnancy. What tends to cause more problems is the feeling of doom. During an anxiety attack , there is often this incredibly intense feeling of doom, usually about your health. That’s why so many of those with anxiety attacks end up visiting a doctor.

When you are pregnant, your concerns about the health of the child can increase the effects of your anxiety attack dramatically, because now you’re worrying about the health of two, not just your own.

That’s why anxiety attacks represent such a serious issue for those that are pregnant. That level of anxiety can be devastating and make your quality of life worse, and since doctors recommend trying to be as stress-free as possible when you’re with child, controlling your anxiety attacks becomes very important.

Why Seek Help For Pregnancy Anxiety

Tips To Control Anxiety During Pregnancy

Many women are under the mistaken impression that the best way to deal with anxiety is just to struggle through it. But if your anxiety is severe, there are a few reasons its best to seek help.

Although you might tell yourself Ill just feel better once the baby is here, research has actually shown that women who have anxiety during pregnancy are more likely to have postpartum depression after their baby is born.

So although anxiety and depression dont necessarily occur together, they are closely related and by learning ways to control your anxiety before your new little one arrives, youll increase the odds that youll be able to enjoy those joyful first few months.

Another reason to explore treatments: Long-term, severe anxiety during pregnancy can affect your babys development.

Studies have shown that anxiety or depression during pregnancy can increase the odds of preterm birth and low birth weight and even make it more likely a child will, down the road, have emotional or behavioral challenges.

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Limit Your News And Social Media Intake

For many people, its hard to stay off social media. We want to connect with friends and family, especially since we cant be together in person right now.

But if the constant stream of political or pandemic news causes you stress, stop scrolling. Instead, watch one scheduled news segment to get a synopsis. You’ll be up to date without going down the rabbit hole of infuriating comments on social media.

In the same spirit, be mindful of what you can and can’t control. We all feel passionate about certain causes, such as racial equality, saving the environment, and helping the homeless.

However, none of us is Superwoman you can’t fix everything, but you can focus impactfully on one or two causes. Contributing how you can will give you a sense of satisfaction and control.

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Signs Of Anxiety During Pregnancy

It is normal to have some concerns for the health of the baby and to hope for a safe pregnancy. However, if concerns about pregnancy, delivery or the babys health become too severe, then seeking anxiety treatment may be appropriate. Some of the signs of anxiety during pregnancy include:

  • Obsessing about the health of the baby
  • Extreme concerns about losing the baby
  • Trying to control as much about your situation and pregnancy as possible
  • Obsessing about aspects of the birth

Importantly, some women may experience regular symptoms of anxiety like sweaty palms, racing heart or dizziness. Symptoms of anxiety during pregnancy are not always linked to the experience of being pregnant, but at high levels can still impact the health of both the mother and baby.

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Potential Risks Of Medication

a link between anxiety medication use and premature birth, low birth weight, and congenital disability, there is also a risk of untreated mental health conditions. Untreated prenatal anxiety may contribute to miscarriage, preterm birth, and delivery complications.

There are also risks associated with coming off SSRI and SNRI medications, especially in a short period of time. Because these medications can cause unpleasant discontinuation symptoms, a person needs to taper them off gradually under the supervision of a doctor.

Stopping medication cold turkey or deciding to stop a medication before a person is ready can cause their mental health to worsen.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that the actual risk for a congenital disability in the babies of people on some of these medications is still very low. With this in mind, individuals may need to discuss the advantages and drawbacks of medications with a doctor.

There are many ways a person can manage their anxiety symptoms. They can involve the help of a healthcare professional, such as a therapist or psychologist, or individuals can carry out other methods or lifestyle changes on their own.

How To Prevent Future Anxiety Attacks


When anxiety attacks are caused by hormonal changes, controlling them is possible but a bit more difficult. You cannot and should not stop these hormonal changes from happening, and that means that when your brain creates these panic attacks as a result of your hormones, it’s going to continue to do so until your hormones return to normal.

But that doesn’t mean that you need to live with anxiety attacks throughout your pregnancy. There are several important things to note:

  • Preventing Recurrence Post-Pregnancy It’s important to realize that some people that develop anxiety attacks never lose them, even when they are the result of pregnancy hormonal changes. That is because the fear of an anxiety attack and the experience of an anxiety attack can be severe enough that you increase your risk for triggering them in the future. Dealing with anxiety attacks should always be a priority.
  • Reducing Severity There are strategies that reduce the severity of an anxiety attack even if they do not cure it altogether. The less severe your anxiety attacks, the less they’ll affect the quality of your life and the comfort of your pregnancy, and in some cases they may be easier to control.
  • Stress Control Even though anxiety attacks may feel as though they come from nowhere and that your hormonal issues may be solely to blame, the truth is that stress does play a role in triggering your anxiety attacks. Control your stress and anxiety, and your likelihood of experiencing an attack is reduced.

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Tips To Calm Anxiety While Pregnant

While medication is one solution to anxiety disorders, it certainly isnt the only one. In fact, going to therapy sessions with a psychologist, psychiatrist or counselor is usually the first and best way to help pinpoint whats causing your anxiety and develop a plan to help you ease your worries or learn relaxation techniques.

The following anxiety-alleviating strategies can help too:

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

Finding Support And Specialists

If you’re pregnant and you’re having depression or anxiety symptoms, talk to your OB-GYN or midwife. She should be able to treat you directly, or connect you with the appropriate mental health care provider. These organizations can also offer confidential help:

Postpartum Support International will connect you directly to a local coordinator who can help you find local resources, offer support, and give you tips on managing mood and anxiety disorders during and after pregnancy .

The MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health offers credible information on the risks of untreated depression during pregnancy, as well as evaluation and treatment options .

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But Im Supposed To Be Happy

If you have said this aloud or had the thought come to mind, youre not alone. You can be absolutely thrilled about having your first child or adding to your family, and yet still be anxious and downright miserable at the very same time. The very fact that you feel unhappy during your pregnancy can make you anxious.

Sometimes called prenatal distress, you may worry about if you will be a good mother. You worry that the baby is kicking too much. Will your child be healthy? Will we be able to afford a new addition to the family? Maybe you are afraid of labor and delivery, and so you worry about that. The anxiety piles up and there seems to be no end to the questions or concerns that you have.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy affect your mood and cause anxiety, so take comfort in knowing that these are all completely natural and normal reactions. In fact, 52% of women have increased anxiety during pregnancy according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Once you recognize that a certain amount of anxiety is normal, you can stop beating yourself up about it, and become proactive.

Anxiety Treatment During Pregnancy

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If your anxiety is at the point where it is seriously affecting your health or the health of your baby, a doctor may prescribe you a medication.

Most anti-anxiety drugs are categorized as antidepressants, so they are generally not safe for pregnancy. A doctor would not prescribe this medication without taking into account the risks and benefits associated with it.

If the benefits associated with the prescribed medication outweigh the potential risks that it could cause your baby, then your doctor may go ahead and prescribe it. This is usually a very rare circumstance.

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Pregnancy Anxiety And The Pandemic: 4 Ways To Manage Symptoms

Experiencing some anxiety when you’re pregnant is normal. There’s a lot to process when you find out you’re expecting, especially since half of U.S. pregnancies are unplanned.

Even if you revel in watching your bump grow, it’s common to worry about what could go wrong. Approximately 40 million U.S. adults have an anxiety disorder, and nearly 10% of women experience anxiety during pregnancy.

But since the pandemic, rates of pregnancy and postpartum anxiety have more than doubled. A showed that while 29% of pregnant women reported having anxiety prior to the pandemic, a staggering 72% reported it during the pandemic.

Unfortunately, fewer than 40% of people with anxiety seek treatment. Many assume its just a normal part of life or their personality. All their lives, they’ve been labeled as a “worrier” or “nervous Nellie.”

But it’s not JUST anxiety. Symptoms such as fear of leaving the house or being unable to relax can increase your risk of social isolation, depression, and sleep deprivation. And continual stress elevates your adrenaline system the body’s fight-or-flight response. Feeling constantly on edge can wear you down and increase your risk of heart issues, preeclampsia, or having a preterm or low-weight baby.

Can Anxiety Affect Your Pregnancy

Anxiety is a common and accepted part of pregnancy, but there is a point where the level of anxiety you are experiencing may not be normal.

There have been numerous studies conducted that link high levels of anxiety in moms to children with ADHD . This does not mean if you are anxious your child will have ADHD. This means that above-average levels of anxiety have been known to increase the chances your child will develop ADHD significantly.

There has been other research conducted linking high levels of anxiety to delayed infant development, poor academic performance, and social and emotional issues .

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Anxiety Attacks During Pregnancy

Pregnancy may represent something genuinely happy and exciting, but pregnancy itself can be very stressful. Your body goes through considerable hormonal changes. You feel aches and pains you never felt before. You have to worry about your own health, worry about the health of the fetus, and worry about how you’re going to live your life once you bring a baby into this world.

Pregnancy may also increase your risk of developing anxiety attacks, and when you’re pregnant these attacks can be an incredible challenge. This article explores the relationship between pregnancy and panic attacks and suggests possible treatment options.

Tip : Get A Life Coach

How to have a Stress Free Pregnancy?

Finally, get a life coach to help you with anxiety.

In Grow You, my virtual life coaching program for moms and moms-to-be, I help you redefine, normalize, and process anxiety so it doesnt affect your day-to-day life.

As the saying goes, you cant read the label from inside the bottle. Meaning, you need a coach who is outside your brain to show you what your brain is thinking and how its creating the anxiety, as well as what you can do about it.

Learn more here: Grow You Life Coaching

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Whats The Difference Between Antenatal Anxiety And Antenatal Depression

Up to half of people with antenatal anxiety also have antenatal depression.

Antenatal depression involves feeling low, numb and hopeless, losing confidence, being emotional or angry, not being able to sleep or eat properly, losing concentration and not being interested in people or activities they normally like.

There are safe ways to treat both anxiety and depression at the same time during pregnancy.

What Should I Do If I Have Anxiety In Pregnancy

Talk to your midwife or doctor if you:

  • feel anxious most of the time for more than two weeks
  • have anxiety that is making you feel physically ill with fast heartbeat, fast breathing, sweating, feeling faint, feeling sick and diarrhoea
  • have a panic attack/s
  • have unpleasant thoughts that keep coming back and you cant control them.
  • find yourself repeating an action to feel better.
  • are so afraid of giving birth that you dont want to go through with it
  • you are so afraid of blood tests that you avoid having them.

Tell your midwife or GP if you have experienced anxiety before even if you arent feeling anxious right now. The more they know about your mental health history the better they can support you during your pregnancy.

The midwife or doctor wont criticise you or judge you for having these feelings. They know this happens to many pregnant women, and they will focus on finding the right treatment to help you recover.

If you find anxiety difficult to talk about, you could write down how you feel before your appointment or take someone with you for support.

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Effects Of Anxiety On The Unborn Baby

Anxiety during pregnancy can be hard on the mother and can make it difficult for her to function normally. Stress and anxiety can also cause physical changes in the body that may affect or harm an unborn baby.

Research has shown that anxiety during pregnancy may harm the baby as the hormones and chemicals released as a result of anxiety can impact growth and development. For example, anxiety can increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. Children may also experience problems later in life with learning and behavior or health problems like asthma.

While its helpful for women to know the effects that stress or anxiety attacks during pregnancy can have on a baby, its very important to note that experiencing anxiety is not a womans fault or the result of being a bad parent. Also, not seeking treatment for anxiety or self-medicating for anxiety can also pose a risk to the wellbeing of mother and baby.

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