Tips For How To Calm Anxiety While Pregnant
Most pregnant women are already involved in healthcare and have access to resources available to meet their needs. If you have been screened as positive for perinatal anxiety by a healthcare professional, there are some actions you can take to start taking care of yourself. Working with providers who have training in the field of perinatal mental health can ensure that the therapies and treatments are appropriate for both the mother and the baby.
Here are ten ways to calm your anxiety during pregnancy:
Whats A Normal Amount Of Anxiety During Pregnancy
Some amount of anxiety during pregnancy is considered normal.3 Many women experience some worry about pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum recovery. Normal pregnancy anxiety is mild and does not cause a woman too much distress. A pregnant woman with a normal level of anxiety can still function in her day-to-day life, manage her responsibilities, and find pleasure in things. It does not affect her appetite, sleep, or other areas of her life. When anxiety reaches the point of causing distress and interfering with life, then a woman may be dealing with an anxiety disorder.
Work Is Insane And Your Boss Is Driving You Nuts
Taking just a couple of minutes for some deep breathing and gentle stretching during a hectic day will help instill the mental clarity to organize your thoughts, says Kim Watters, Fitness Manager at Red Mountain Resort in Utah. Here are her three favorite officefriendly stretches. Hold each one for at least 20 seconds.
Abs and side stretch: Sit near the front edge of your desk chair. Lengthen your arms overhead and exaggerate your reach. Now stretch up through your right hand, lengthening the right side of your body more while pressing down with your left heel. Switch hands and repeat to the other side.
Neck stretch: Sit near the front edge of your chair. Raise your shoulders up and press down. Repeat a few times. Then roll them forward, up, back and then down. Repeat a few times. Turn your head as far to the right as possible. Repeat to the left. Now, tilt your head to the right and then repeat to the left. Finally, tilt your chin down and then pull it in towards the chest.
Back stretch: Sit forward on your chair with your legs a little wider than your hips. Lean forward from the hips and drop your torso down so your head is resting between your thighs . Let your head and arms hang down toward the floor.
Read Also: How Fast Can I Know If I Am Pregnant
Anxiety After The Birth
After birth, new moms go through a huge hormonal shift as the estrogen and progesterone levels that have increased during pregnancy fall quickly following birth. Due to this hormonal change and sleep deprivation, 60-80% of new moms will experience baby blues. Baby blues lasts for up to two weeks following birth. Some anxiety is expected during this time as it is a natural response for a parent to protect their newborn.
What Feelings Can Happen
Mood swings are normal during pregnancy. But if you feel nervous or down all the time, it could be a sign of something deeper going on. Stress over being pregnant, changes in your body during the pregnancy, and everyday worries can take a toll.
Some pregnant women may have depression or anxiety:
- Depression is sadness or feeling down or irritable for weeks or months at a time. Some women may have depression before getting pregnant. But it also can start during pregnancy for a number of reasons for example, if a woman isn’t happy about being pregnant or is dealing with a lot of stress at work or at home.
- Anxiety is a feeling of worry or fear over things that might happen. If you worry a lot anyway, many things can stress you out during pregnancy. You might worry that you won’t be a good mother or that you can’t afford to raise a baby.
Pregnant women may have other mental health issues, such as:
It’s important to treat mental health concerns during pregnancy. Mothers who are depressed, anxious, or have another issue might not get the medical care they need. They might not take care of themselves, or they may use drugs and alcohol during the pregnancy. All of these things can harm a growing baby.
If you have a mental health issue, talk with your doctor so you can get the help you need during and after your pregnancy.
Recommended Reading: How Does The Pill Stop Pregnancy
Keep A Support System
Having loved ones to turn to can help you cope with your fears and uncertainties about panic, anxiety, and pregnancy. Let trusted friends and family members know about your concerns and enlist them to be available should you have any type of emergency. You may not need to call anyone for assistance, but it can help reduce your anxiety just knowing that loved ones are there for you should you need them.
How To Reduce Anxiety During Pregnancy 7 Helpful Tips
We are currently in a time when people are experiencing heightened rates of anxiety during pregnancy. Our goal is to share helpful information, without being triggering. The reason for social distancing is not addressed in this article.
This content is in no way a replacement for medical advice. If you are in crisis, call 911 or your care provider immediately.
Congratulations on your pregnancy! Im guessing youre reading this article because youre currently experiencing excessive worry or are wanting to learn about reducing anxiety during pregnancy.
The truth is, everyone will experience some level of stress and anxiety during pregnancy.
You are not alone.
Anxiety can be magnified to the point of feeling unbearable, especially when things are difficult in the world.
Again, you are not alone!
Lets start by identifying what anxiety is and the symptoms.
According to the American Psychological Association, Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.
Anxiety symptoms can include feeling irritable, worried, having a sense of dread, difficulty falling or staying asleep, and finding it hard to focus or concentrate due to the distraction of excessive worry.
Now that you know how to identify anxiety, lets talk about how to reduce it while youre pregnant!
Recommended Reading: How To Determine How Far Pregnant You Are
Other Effects Of Cannabis On Pregnancy
Its not only brain development that can be affected by cannabis consumption during pregnancy.
Multiple studies have shown cannabis use may be associated with increased risk of small-for-gestational-age infants and low birth weight, Dr. Juan Sanchez, an OBGYN at the Sunset Park Family Health Center at NYU Langone in New York, told Healthline.
And, he added, those who use cannabis at higher doses seem to have an even higher risk .
Furthermore, Sanchez explained, smoking cannabis may impair blood supply to the placenta, which can cause complications with the developing fetus.
Indeed, its been suggested that cannabis consumption may hinder nutrient and oxygen availability to the developing fetus.
continues to rise , with many utilizing it to ease pregnancy-related symptoms.
Yet, despite this increase and initial studies emphasizing its potential influence, research on cannabis and fetal development remains relatively low.
As such, experts say these new findings are important in reiterating the potentially detrimental effects of cannabis intake on fetal brain development.
Looking ahead, the BRAIN Lab researchers will continue to track the same children in the ABCD dataset to monitor for changes in cognitive outcomes.
They are also undertaking a new study, tracking cannabis-using mothers and their children from the early stages of pregnancy instead of launching their analysis in later life.
What Causes Stress During Pregnancy
The causes of stress are different for every woman, but here are some common causes during pregnancy:
- You may be dealing with the discomforts of pregnancy, like nausea, constipation, being tired or having a backache.
- Your hormones are changing, which can cause your mood to change. Mood swings can make it harder to handle stress.
- You may be worried about what to expect during labor and birth or how to take care of your baby.
- If you work, you may have to manage job responsibilities and prepare your employer for time away from your job.
- Life is busy and it sometimes takes unexpected turns. That doesnt stop just because youre pregnant.
Recommended Reading: Is Premarin Still Made From Pregnant Mare Urine
Work With A Therapist
Psychotherapy can help you get a better handle on your panic attacks while pregnant. Your first therapy session will involve talking about your symptoms, medical history, and current life stressors. Through the therapy process, you will gain a better understanding of your symptoms and develop ways to cope with your condition.
Your therapist can also use psychoeducation to assist you in understanding your symptoms. The knowledge and support provided through therapy can help reduce fears related to your symptoms and offer a sense of control of your panic attacks during pregnancy.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most common forms of psychotherapy. CBT strives to shift negative thoughts and behaviors toward healthier perceptions and actions.
For example, you may be experiencing anxiety-inducing thoughts, such as Will my anxiety affect my pregnancy? or Does it upset the baby when I have a panic attack? Such thoughts may contribute to increased feelings of fear, anxiety, and panic. Through CBT, you can learn to identify and change these types of thinking patterns to more positive and less anxiety-provoking ones.
How Common Is Pregnancy Anxiety
In one study, 21% of pregnant women tested positive for PMADs in prenatal screenings. Of that group, 66% with Major Depressive Disorder also had anxiety, most commonly Generalized Anxiety Disorder .4 Despite the high numbers reported in existing studies, these disorders are often underdiagnosed and undertreated. Many times this is due to the stigma attached to seeking help for mental health or a lack of linkage to appropriate resources. Screening and early detection can provide protective interventions for the mother, baby, and family.
Also Check: How To Get Pregnant On Birth Control Patch
You Have A Million Things To Do Before Baby Comes
Meditation may help you to sort through the things that really must be done before baby, and what can wait, says Marci Howard-May, Spa Services Manager at Red Mountain Resort. By letting go of overwhelming thoughts you can focus on one item on your list at a time instead of thinking of all of them. Yes, the crib, car seat and stroller are important before junior arrives, but the entire nursery doesnt need to be decorated to perfection right now.
Do a brief calming meditation, then pick up a pencil and write a list of what you feel are the most important tasks you need to accomplish, suggests Trapani. Remain relaxed, and create a clear strategy on how to complete the task that will give you the biggest sense of relief when completed.
By taking those few minutes to breathe, focus and relax, you can reduce that sensation of being overwhelmed and make yourself be more productive, says Howard-May.
Remember That This Shall Pass
Sometimes pregnancy can be plagued with terrible nausea and morning sickness that lasts all day. This can be so stressful that it seems like experiencing anxiety is the norm. Try to remember that this is temporary, and even normal, even though it is more severe in some women than others. It helps to keep reminding yourself that this will pass, and its not forever.
Make every effort not to struggle needlessly with anxiety during your pregnancy. Use these tips as natural ways to decrease your anxiety and seek professional help if you feel you cant cope with it on your own. Ideally, pregnancy should be a happy time, and anxiety just gets in the way.
Recommended Reading: Can You Get Lasik If You Are Pregnant
When To Call The Doctor About Stress During Pregnancy
If you have attempted to cope with your stress on your own but are continuing to struggle or if your stress is severe and impacting your ability to function, you should consider getting professional help. Treatment for stress during pregnancy may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both. To find out more about these options, speak with your physician, OBGYN, or midwife about how you are feeling and what options may be available to you.
Also Check: What Does The Bible Say About Anxiety
Causes Of Anxiety During Pregnancy
Some women experience a decrease in their symptoms during pregnancy, but your anxiety may get worse. After all, not everything that makes you feel anxious is under your control. Hormonal changes during pregnancy may affect the chemicals in your brain. This can cause anxiety.
Pregnancy is also a time of tremendous change. Some of these feelings and sensations are welcomed, while others are downright uncomfortable and scary. You may even have complications or other issues that arise that keep you up at night.
You May Like: Can I Get Short Term Disability For Pregnancy
My Story With Anxiety During Pregnancy
I was pretty anxious for most of my pregnancy. From the moment I found out we were expecting, I worried that I would lose my baby. I had a cousin that had just lost her baby a few months prior, so the thought of getting excited about being pregnant felt like a sin.
I know first-hand how HARD this season can be. My hope is by sharing my story along with some signs of pregnancy anxiety and ultimately how I overcame it, that you will find peace and joy in this season!
Before I start telling you my story, I want you to know that my blog is a safe place to search for everything pregnancy and birth. I write blog posts that arent triggering and my goal is to help you enjoy your pregnancy.
If you havent downloaded my pregnancy prayer cards, they will help you to re-focus your mind and pray over your growing little one!
Get To The Root Of Your Anxiety
One of the aspects that makes therapy for anxiety so helpful is that it allows you to get to the root of your anxiety. This can help you examine your anxiety and fears and challenge them. You can do this on your own as well, though it may be easier with the help of a therapist.
To get to the root of your anxiety, write down what thoughts are causing your anxiety. For example, maybe you have a fear of giving birth. Next, consider whether there are other thoughts associated with it. Maybe your specific fear is that something bad will happen to you while giving birth. Now consider the evidence for this fear and whether the fear is rational or not. Maybe you ask your doctor about the risks of childbirth and learn that while there are some risks associated with giving birth, they are generally low.
You can do what is within your control to reduce the risks, but at some point you will have to accept that you cannot control the entire situation. You and your doctor can come up with a birthing plan to help you feel more in control. When you feel anxious you can remind yourself that you have a plan in place, but you cannot control everything. Mindfulness and positive distractions can be very helpful when it comes to accepting what is outside of your control.
Recommended Reading: Is It Okay To Have Protein Powder While Pregnant
Are There Treatments For Depression Or Anxiety During Pregnancy Or After Birth
Yes, there are treatments, and they can help you feel better. Treatment can reduce your symptoms or make them go away completely. Depression and anxiety will not go away on their own. With treatment, there is hope.
Many treatment options are available for depression or anxiety during pregnancy or after birth. Some women may participate in counseling others may need medication. There is no single treatment that works for everyone.
Your provider may ask you a set of questions, called a screening, to learn more about what you are feeling. Together, you can find the treatment that is right for you. Some treatments for depression and anxiety that occur during or after pregnancy are listed below.
Treatment Options For Pregnancy Anxiety
Treatment for pregnancy anxiety varies but usually involves talk therapy and/or medication, if your anxiety is severe.
If at any point you feel that you can’t cope or have thoughts of harming yourself, call your healthcare provider right away, 911, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK , or text the Crisis Text Line .
You May Like: What Is The Most Sensitive Pregnancy Test
Are There Other Ways I Can Calm My Anxiety During Pregnancy
Constant pregnancy anxiety can be exhausting. In addition to getting help from a mental health care provider, other strategies you can do yourself make a difference. Here are some ideas:
Take care of yourself. Being kind to yourself goes a long way in helping to relieve anxiety during pregnancy. Try to rest or take breaks during the day, even if you just read a magazine or watch TV. And try to identify and avoid perfectionism or setting expectations too high for yourself or your family.
Try relaxation techniques. Research suggests mindfulness practices may help reduce worries about labor and reduce the risk of postpartum depression. Meditation, acupuncture, and prenatal massage can help you relax and reduce feelings of anxiety.
Connect with others. Tell someone you trust how you feel. You could talk to your partner, call a sympathetic friend, or chat with other moms in the BabyCenter Community. And don’t hesitate to ask loved ones for help with chores or other responsibilities.
Focus on sleep. Pregnancy itself may keep you from sleeping well, but sleep is critical for your physical health and mental well-being. Prioritize rest, and find strategies that help you to sleep better, like a calming bedtime routine or a comfy pregnancy pillow.
Shahhosseini Z, et al. . A Review of the Effects of Anxiety During Pregnancy on Children’s Health.