Spend Extra Time On Self
Pregnancy is a special time in a womans life in which she is often more concerned about her physical health and wellbeing. Putting some extra time aside to take care of yourself may help relieve some of your stress and anxiety.
Self-care practices include any activities that you can do to enhance your health and overall wellness. For example, your self-care activities can include some form of exercise, practicing stress management skills, and getting enough rest.
Consult your doctor to discuss what activities are safe to participate in during pregnancy.
Tips For Managing Panic Attacks During Pregnancy
If you are worried about pregnancy and panic disorder, these tips on how to manage panic attacks while pregnant may help you.
If you or a loved one are struggling with panic attacks, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
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
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How Common Is Anxiety In Pregnancy
Anxiety in pregnancy is very common. More than 1 in 10 pregnant women have it. Don’t feel like you are a failure because you’re not coping.
Pregnancy can be a very emotional experience and it can sometimes be difficult to know whether your feelings are manageable or a sign of something more serious. Trust yourself. You’re the best judge of whether your feelings are normal for you. If you feel anxious a lot or have panic attacks during pregnancy its important to ask for help.
Natural Alternatives To Anxiety Medication
Youve probably heard of prenatal yoga as a natural remedy for stress and anxiety during pregnancy, but there are many more ways you can safely unwind. Here are a few ideas that may ease your mind and your muscles.
- Increasing in popularity as boutique studios pop up across the country, barre is a safe and effective work-out to perform during pregnancy. Borrowing from yoga, barre classes provide many of the same stress-relieving benefits. As anxiety and depression often go hand in hand, a barre fitness class can raise your dopamine levels, thus lifting your mood.
- Frequently used as a fertility booster, acupuncture may also tame anxiety during pregnancy. The National Center for Integrative and Complementary Health asserts that: acupuncture may help ease types of pain that are often chronic, such as low-back pain, neck pain, and osteoarthritis/knee pain. The potential pain-relieving benefits of acupuncture may have a positive effect on anxiety, freeing you of concerns about discomfort in your body.
- Another option for both pain relief and anxiety reduction is prenatal massage, which may generally be performed safely after the first trimester of pregnancy.
Like depression, stress can precede or follow anxiety. The stress hormone cortisol not only affects you, but may be unhealthy for baby. Lean on your network and call on the pros when necessary if youre having a stressful pregnancy.
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Make The Decision That’s Right For You
Many women prefer to avoid drugs entirely during pregnancy, but research is showing that having uncontrolled severe anxiety during pregnancy might cause problems for the baby, too. So, it definitely becomes a question of weighing the risks and benefits. Some women prefer to seek out cognitive-behavioral therapy or other non-drug anxiety treatments instead of pharmaceuticals.
In any case, the choice of whether or not to use anxiety medication during pregnancy is up to you and your doctor. If you are suffering from severe anxiety after a miscarriage, this is an important discussion to have.
The Right Medication At The Right Dose
Kimmel suspects that some women may not respond well to antidepressants, because they are not taking enough or not taking the right one. Due to changes in blood volume and metabolism during pregnancy, women already taking antidepressants may have to take a higher dose to maintain the same effect.
While she generally does not recommend benzodiazepines for pregnant women, she warns that abruptly halting them is not advised.
And she stresses that some medications come with more risks than others.
If you do need medication, our objective is to use the right medication and the lowest effective dose to get you well, she says.
Her advice to those mulling this tough question: Talk to your doctor about it and keep talking with your doctor about it. Different decisions can be made at different times to be sure you are doing all you can for your mental health.
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What Are The Effects Of Untreated Anxiety On The Fetus
When thinking about management of anxiety, it is important to consider both the risks of treatment as well as the harms of untreated anxiety. Although less studied than depression, research suggests that anxiety may negatively affect both the mother and the fetus. Anxiety increases the risk for preterm birth, low birthweight, earlier gestational age, and a smaller head circumference .
How To Cope With Anxiety During Pregnancy
I can still remember sitting on the edge of my bed wondering if I would ever be ‘normal’. My dad had just passed away unexpectedly and I was nine weeks pregnant with my first child. Filled with panic and nervousness, I spent hours each day predicting the worst outcome to any situation.
Reviewed byDr Sarah Jarvis MBE
21-Dec-17·6 mins read
The internal dialogue in my head kept telling me to be afraid, but I didnt know what I was afraid of, and I felt stuck in a never-ending cycle of worry. It felt like my body was consumed with a constant energy that I couldnt shut off and the only thoughts that seemed to consume my mind began with what if.
These paralysing feelings were not new to me, but the fear and sheer terror of something inexplainable happening to my unborn baby was. They seemed to spike when I became pregnant and the need to control every aspect of my life that could cause harm to this life growing inside of me took over.
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Natural Remedies For Anxiety While Pregnant That Actually Work
From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I was anxious about everything. In those early weeks, it felt exhausting worrying about my baby in between appointments, desperate to hear the reassuring sound of her little heartbeat. I looked desperately for natural remedies for anxiety while pregnant, that would ease my mind.
While anxiety can look a little different for everyone, if you are constantly worrying, your mind is racing, or you are struggling to eat or sleep normally, anxiety might be to blame. Here are some of the most helpful ways to deal with anxiety during pregnancy.
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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Acog Guidelines On Psychiatric Medication Use During Pregnancy And Lactation
Am Fam Physician. 2008 Sep 15 78:772-778.
Guideline source: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Literature search described? Yes
Evidence rating system used? Yes
An estimated 500,000 pregnancies in the United States each year involve women who have or who will develop psychiatric illness during the pregnancy. The use of psychotropic medications in these women is a concern because of the risks of adverse perinatal and postnatal outcomes. However, advising these women to discontinue medication presents new risks associated with untreated or inadequately treated mental illness, such as poor adherence to prenatal care, inadequate nutrition, and increased alcohol and tobacco use.
Ideally, decisions about psychiatric medication use during and after pregnancy should be made before conception. The use of a single medication at a higher dosage is preferred over multiple medications, and those with fewer metabolites, higher protein binding, and fewer interactions with other medications are also preferred. All psychotropic medications cross the placenta, are present in amniotic fluid, and can enter breast milk. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has categorized medications according to risk during pregnancy .
AAP = American Academy of Pediatrics FDA = U.S. Food and Drug Administration NA = not applicable.
Brand name no longer available in the United States.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are normally regarded as safe anti-anxiety drugs. They block the re-absorption of the well-being chemical serotonin into the brain’s neurons. This increases the amount of serotonin available for binding to serotonin receptors throughout the brain. Stimulation of these receptors controls fear processing in the amygdala, the part of the brain that processes fear.
The first systematic study of SSRIs use during pregnancy showed that women who have taken SSRIs while pregnant have healthy full birth-weight infants. However, the average gestational age was shorter than in controls, and the infants had more rapid eye movement sleep, more tremors and less variations in behavior than controls. The findings were published in the February 2004 issue of “Pediatrics.”
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are normally regarded as safe anti-anxiety drugs.
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How To Manage Panic Attacks During Pregnancy
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder that involves persistent and unexpected panic attacks. These attacks occur suddenly, bringing on feelings of fear, anxiety, nervousness, and apprehension. The emotional symptoms of panic attacks are typically experienced along with somatic sensations, such as accelerated heart rate, chest pain, lightheadedness, shaking, trembling, nausea, and numbness or tingling.
Panic disorder sufferers who become pregnant may feel concerned about how pregnancy will affect their symptoms and vice versa. Research studies have been mixed, some finding that panic attacks and anxiety increases during pregnancy. While other studies suggest pregnant women report a reduction in panic and anxiety symptoms.
It is not possible to determine whether your panic attacks and other anxiety-related symptoms will be aggravated during pregnancy. However, there are some steps you can take to help cope with your symptoms during pregnancy and beyond.
Have A Postpartum Plan
You may have heard of postpartum depression, a term used to describe when women experience depression symptoms, such as feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, after the birth of her child. Similarly, women diagnosed with an anxiety disorder are at risk for increased anxiety after childbirth. Feelings of nervousness, fear, and isolation are common for new mothers.
Fortunately, heightened anxiety and panic-related symptoms may be prevented with some preparation. Even though postpartum is typically a busy time for most women, it is important that you follow up with your doctor and/or therapist about your panic disorder. Continue to work on your treatment plan goals, such as managing anxiety, coping with panic attacks, and dealing with loneliness. Having a postpartum plan can help you to maintain progress on your path towards recovery.
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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 .
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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Babies Born Addicted To Anxiety Medications
Since most anti-anxiety medications fall into two main categories, benzodiazepines and long-term daily treatments like SSRIs, its worth looking at both. Babies can be born technically addicted or dependent on both types of medications. With benzodiazepines, if theyre taken near the time of delivery, the baby may experience withdrawal symptoms. Newborn benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can include breathing problems, muscle weakness, crying, irritability, tremors, jitters, and problems with sleep. These symptoms will usually dissipate after a few weeks. Neonatal withdrawal from benzodiazepine will not typically create any long-term effects. As far as SSRIs, an infant can also experience mild withdrawal symptoms from these anxiety medications. With SSRI withdrawal, infants usually have very mild symptoms that disappear within 48 hours. Most SSRI withdrawal symptoms in infants dont require medical intervention.
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.
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Consult With Your Doctor First
When it comes to pregnancy, it seems that everyone has his or her own personal anecdotes and steadfast opinions. For example, you may have a sister who shares her pregnancy experiences and advises you on what foods to avoid or perhaps you have an aunt who likes to tell you old wives’ tales and pregnancy myths. Regardless of any advice you receive from others, always consult with your doctor first.
Let your doctor know what concerns you have about your panic disorder during pregnancy. Your doctor will be able to help you sort out fact from fiction. She will also be there to thoroughly discuss treatment options while pregnant, including potential risks and benefits of medications for panic disorder.
Further Support During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Coming to a decision you feel comfortable with about what’s right for you and your baby can be difficult. You might find it helpful to explore these options for extra support:
You might also find it helpful to read our pages on parenting with a mental health problem. These pages include information on taking care of yourself, looking after your children, and other kinds of support available to parents. Our information on perinatal mental health problems may also help.
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