Symptoms Of Anxiety During Pregnancy
Some degree of worry is natural during pregnancy. After all, the process may be entirely new for you. You may have faced situations in the past, like miscarriage, that give you reason for concern. But if these worries start to interfere with everyday life, you may have anxiety.
- feeling an uncontrollable sense of anxiousness
- worrying excessively about things, especially your health or baby
- inability to concentrate
- having tense muscles
- sleeping poorly
Occasionally, bouts of anxiety may lead to panic attacks. These attacks may start very suddenly with the symptoms above, and progress. During a panic attack, your symptoms may be very physical in nature, which can make the experience that much worse.
Symptoms of a panic attack include:
- feeling like you cannot breathe
- feeling like youre going crazy
- feeling like something awful may happen
While anyone can develop anxiety during pregnancy, there are certain risk factors that may contribute, including:
- family history of anxiety or panic attacks
- personal history of anxiety, panic attacks, or depression
- previous trauma
- use of certain illegal drugs
- excess stress in everyday life
Mild cases of anxiety usually dont require any specific treatment, though its a good idea to mention your feelings to your doctor.
In severe cases, your doctor may recommend medication after weighing the benefits and risks.
Ways To Reduce Anxiety In Pregnancy
Now we know why anxiety happens in pregnancy and the symptoms to look out for, what steps can you take to manage and drastically reduce anxiety from these precious nine months?
Choose a couple of ideas from the list and work on them over the next couple of weeks. It takes a while to feel the effects of changes but they will be worth the effort.
1. Talk it Through
Youre not abnormal. You may feel awful but there is nothing intrinsically wrong with you. Anxiety in pregnancy is common and nothing to feel ashamed or bad about.
Find a close friend, family member, or your partner and talk about it.
Youll find that by speaking out, youll lighten the load. Having a communicative support system will also help you to work through any issues without feeling youre alone.
2. Join a Support Group
If you dont have someone you can speak with face to face on a regular basis try a Facebook group like the Pregged pregnancy support group.
Our Facebook group is called Pregnant Moms Due 2019-2020 and is a safe and supportive space for moms to be to share their worries, concerns and joys.
We work hard to make sure it has a kind and nonjudgmental vibe and we definitely dont like dramas. You are very welcome to join us
3. Find a Hobby Which Releases Anxiety and Stress
Hobbies are fantastic for distracting us from issues in our lives and provide fun and enjoyment too.
Reading is a great way to relax and distract yourself from your troubles.
4.Try Yoga or Swimming
3. Cut Out Caffeine
Risks Can Be Small But Real
Anick Berard, PhD, professor, and a perinatal pharmacology researcher at the University of Montreal, notes that because it is considered unethical to ask a healthy pregnant woman to take a drug for a research study, clinical trials on risks and benefits for mom-to-be and baby are hard to find.
To fill the gap, shes followed pregnancies in Quebec for 17 years, looking at birth outcomes for nearly 450,000 mothers, and published dozens of studies.
One, published last year in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, found that women who take benzodiazepines like Xanax or Ativan for anxiety in early pregnancy are anywhere from 60% to three times more likely to have a miscarriage, depending on which one theyre taking.
Another, published in 2017, found that those who took certain antidepressants in the first trimester were more slightly more likely to have children with defects of the heart, lungs, digestive system, face, and other organs.
Other large studies have linked antidepressant use during pregnancy with an increased risk of preterm birth and gestational hypertension . One, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that boys with autism spectrum disorder were three times as likely to have been exposed to SSRIs in utero.
Serotonin is essential for musculoskeletal, organ and brain development, and SSRIs work by blocking this molecule, Berard says. As a result, it has the potential to lead to a wide range of birth defects.
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Antidepressants And Pregnancy: Tips From An Expert
Most pregnant women want to do everything right for their baby, including eating right, exercising regularly and getting good prenatal care. But if youre one of the many women who have a mood disorder, you might also be trying to manage your psychiatric symptoms as you prepare to welcome your new baby.
Its common for doctors to tell women with mood disorders to stop taking drugs like antidepressants during pregnancy, leaving many moms-to-be conflicted about giving up the medications that help keep them healthy.
Lauren Osborne, M.D., assistant director of the Johns Hopkins Womens Mood Disorders Center, talks about why stopping your medication may not be the right approach. She explains how women can and should balance their mental health needs with a healthy pregnancy.
Data Sources And Study Selection
This review provides an update on symptoms and diagnosis criteria for panic disorder and GAD and discusses the impact of untreated anxiety disorders on pregnancy as well as potential adverse effects of medication treatment, the pathophysiology of anxiety, and a treatment guideline for the prenatal care provider.
An English-language electronic search of relevant studies using PubMed was performed using the search terms anxiety and pregnancy, maternal mental illness, panic and pregnancy, psychotropic medications in pregnancy, and treatment options in pregnancy. Review articles and primary pharmacologic treatment articles were selected for discussion.
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Maternal Mental Health Issues On The Rise
In some cases, a pregnancy is unintended, leading to complicated emotions. In others, shifting hormones and a predisposition to depression collide to worsen existing mood disorders or bring previously undiagnosed ones to the surface. Often, women are ashamed to speak up, says Shoshana Bennett, PhD, a perinatal psychologist, and author of Beyond the Blues: Understanding and Treating Prenatal and Postpartum Depression and Anxiety .
There is an expectation that you are supposed to be happy and excited, she says. The reality is, women are not always happy that they are pregnant. Counseling can be helpful medications are not the only option.
As attention to prenatal mood disorders has risen, so has the number of women taking medication for it, with about 10% of pregnant U.S. women taking antidepressants and 1% taking benzodiazepines. That concerns some clinicians, who say that while medication is key for severe cases, other options — like nutritional interventions, better sleep, and psychotherapy — may work as well or better for mild to moderate cases.
Is it wonderful that this is now being regarded as something real and needing treatment? Yes, says Bennett, who often starts with nondrug options, before recommending medication. Do we jump to medication too quickly some time? Yes. I believe we do.
What Is Antenatal Anxiety
Anxiety is more than feeling anxious about a specific situation it occurs when feelings of being anxious and stressed dont go away, cant be controlled easily, and come on without any particular reason. Excessive worry and the stress of anxiety can start to have a serious impact on your life.
Anxiety is one of the most common types of mental health problem in Australia, and your chances of developing it are greater when youre pregnant. However, its often missed and the symptoms are put down to hormones, being over-organised, or as just a normal part of being pregnant.
Antenatal anxiety might involve you developing one or more of the following conditions during pregnancy, or your symptoms might get worse while youre pregnant:
- generalised anxiety
- panic disorder
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- social phobia
If you already have an anxiety disorder or you are someone who worries a lot, you may be at greater risk of developing anxiety during pregnancy. If you already have an anxiety disorder, its important to seek treatment early on in the pregnancy to make sure you and your baby receive the right care.
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Get Your Thoughts Out
Sometimes all you need to stop your spinning mind is a chance to get all of your thoughts out through prayer, calling a friend, or journaling. I often find that once Ive spoken or written my fears, they tend to lose a little bit of their power over my mind. If you want to try journaling but arent sure where to start, a prompted journal might be helpful!
When Im feeling extra anxious, being grateful is often the last thing I want to do, but its also one of the most helpful things I can do. Anxiety fills our minds with thoughts of what bad things could happen, while gratitude brings joy to our hearts, thinking about all the good things that have already happened. Next time you are feeling anxious, try thinking of ten things you are grateful for. The more specific you can be, the better!
5. Get outside
Getting some fresh air and spending time in nature is another great natural remedy for anxiety while pregnant. Even better, you can easily combine this with a walk or run for extra anxiety relief! If you dont have time to be outdoors very often, at least try to open your car, house, or office windows when possible.
Are Depression And Anxiety Meds Ok During Pregnancy
Worried mothers-to-be are increasingly asking this question in the wake of a flurry of new studies linking antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs with everything from heightened risk of miscarriage to birth defects and autism.
The answer, experts say, is complicated.
I try to stay away from the safe or not safe discussion and frame it in terms of risks vs. risks, says Mary Kimmel, MD, assistant professor and medical director of the Perinatal Psychiatry Inpatient Unit at University of North Carolina. There is a risk to taking medication, but there is also a risk to not treating.
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Can Pregnancy Worsen Anxiety
Yes, pregnancy can trigger or worsen anxiety. Some research suggests that anxiety disorders are among the most common types of psychiatric disorders during and after pregnancy, affecting 1117% of pregnant women.
It is important to note that this study, along with much of the research in this area, examines cisgender women. There is limited research on the mental health implications of pregnancy for trans and nonbinary people. One 2020 review indicates these groups may be more vulnerable to mental health difficulties during and after pregnancy. The authors of the review called for more research in the field. Additionally, it is important to note that this review looked at studies involving primarily white individuals.
Pregnancy and childbirth cause many changes, including hormonal effects, some of which involve worry and fear. A of studies suggest the following factors may increase a persons risk of developing prenatal anxiety:
- lack of partner support
- history of abuse or domestic violence
- prior mental illness
What Are Risk Factors For Anxiety During Pregnancy
Just about anyone can develop anxiety during pregnancy. That said, there are a few criteria that put you at higher risk for a severe anxiety disorder, which means that you should pay extra-close attention to how youre feeling when youre expecting, including:
- A previous diagnosis of an anxiety disorder
- Anxiety during a past pregnancy
- Previous pregnancy loss or fertility struggles
- Pregnancy with complications or bed rest
All of these factors can contribute to a heightened risk of anxiety during pregnancy.
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Antiepileptic Therapy For Bipolar Disorder
Several antiepileptic drugs are used in the treatment of bipolar disorder, including valproic acid , carbamazepine , and lamotrigine . However, data on the fetal effects of these drugs come primarily from studies of women with seizures. It is not clear whether the underlying pathology of epilepsy contributes to the teratogenic effect of these drugs on the fetus.
Exposure to valproic acid during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects, craniofacial and cardiovascular anomalies, fetal growth restriction, and cognitive impairment. Carbamazepine exposure during pregnancy is associated with facial dysmorphism and fingernail hypoplasia. It is unclear whether carbamazepine use increases the risk of neural tube defects or developmental delay. Although these drugs are superior to lithium in the treatment of patients with mixed episodes or rapid cycling, they should be avoided during pregnancy.
The use of lamotrigine during pregnancy has not been associated with any major fetal anomalies and is an option for maintenance therapy in women with bipolar disorder.
Valproic acid use during lactation has been studied in 41 maternal-infant dyads only one infant was adversely affected with thrombocytopenia and anemia. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization consider valproic acid safe in breastfeeding women. Carbamazepine is ruled probably safe rare side effects include transient cholestatic hepatitis and hyperbilirubinemia.
What Can Be Done During Pregnancy To Deal With Anxiety
About 10% of women develop anxiety symptoms during pregnancy. Following the steps below will definitely help them to deal with the situation in a better way.
- ·Seek advice from your doctor about your plans to either become pregnant, or that you already are. The doctors instructions and medications will help you to deal with your anxiety and pregnancy strategically.
- ·Bond with your partner in a more strong and intimate way. This would ensure support and love which would help in dealing with the situations in a better way.
- ·Relax. Pursue hobbies according to your liking. Talk to your friends, go for walks, practice gardening. All these activities will divert you mind and keep your stress under control.
- ·Open up to your husband or partner and close friends and discuss your causes of stress. This will definitely help.
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The Real Risks Of Antidepressant Use In Pregnancy
Depression is a chronic illness that can cause persistent feelings of sadness and worthlessness, angry outbursts, loss of interest in activities and even thoughts of suicide. Anxiety, which often occurs along with depression, can lead to excessive worry, irritability and panic attacks. Life stressors can bring on these disorders, and women are twice as likely as men to experience depression, most commonly during their child-bearing years. The roller coaster of hormone levels during pregnancy and postpartum can also be a trigger.
The most common treatments for anxiety and depression are psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy and interpersonal therapy, and antidepressants. While psychotherapy can be effective for people who have mild or moderate depression, it typically takes 12 or more weeks for symptoms to improve. Psychotherapy alone is unlikely to help people with severe depression. Antidepressants are successful in treating depression in about 67 percent of cases, and symptoms can start to improve in one to three weeks, though people sometimes have to try multiple antidepressants before finding the one that works for them.
Several decades of research show that newborns of depressed mothers are less active, more irritable and more difficult to soothe. Children of women with prenatal anxiety and depression are alsomore likely to experience mental illness and ADHD.
What Are The Risks Of Taking Mirtazapine While Pregnant
If you are concerned that mirtazapine may affect your baby in utero, talk to your doctor about it. You may be prescribed the lowest possible dose, especially in the first trimester. If the medicine is taken in the last trimester, some associated risks reported by the Mayo Clinic could be temporary symptoms or signs of discontinuation, such as irritability, jitters, poor feeding, and respiratory distress, which would last up to a month after birth. Research conducted about the risks of taking mirtazapine when pregnant resulted in finding no real danger to the baby. However, you and your doctor should discuss the risks versus the benefits.
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What Are Some Causes Of Anxiety During Pregnancy
Most women experience some anxiety during pregnancy, and just about any woman can develop a severe anxiety disorder during pregnancy. However, there are some risk factors that can put a woman at greater risk for developing severe anxiety during her pregnancy. These include:
- A previous diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, panic attacks, or depression
- A family history of mood disorders or panic attacks
- Anxiety during a past pregnancy
- Previous pregnancy loss or fertility struggles
- Complications during pregnancy
- Stress at home or work
- History of abuse or trauma
- Stressful life events, like the death or illness of a loved one
- Lack of a partner or social support during pregnancy
- Relationship problems, including domestic violence
How Much Ativan Or Lorazepam Can You Take During Pregnancy
Generally speaking, Ativan should be avoided completely during the first trimester, says Dr. Ross, because fetal development is progressing quickly at this stage and the risk of birth defects is higher. Taking it during the second or third trimester should be done under consultation with an experienced provider to evaluate the risks and benefits. Ideally, once you know you are pregnant, you should work with a provider to determine the safest, most effective treatment for anxiety or panic disorder.
If the benefits of using this medication outweighs the risks, then its best to use it at the lowest dose maximum effect, says Dr. Ross, who adds that its best not to take Ativan for more than two weeks at a time.
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