Getting pregnant is one of the most significant experiences in a woman's life. You are over the moon to see those two lines across your pregnancy strip. It is a very fulfilling time for you "Yes, you made a baby".
However as days turn into weeks and weeks into months, you start getting worried and agitated about pregnancy. Everyone expects you to be happy but you are feeling stressed and overly worried that things might not go well. You constantly experience a roller coaster of emotions.
Feeling anxious while pregnant is completely normal. It’s natural to worry about you and your baby's health, have fears about being a good parent, or stress about how birthing the baby will affect your relationship with other family members. However, when anxiety during pregnancy becomes all-consuming, difficult to control, and regularly interferes with your ability to function day-to-day, it is very expedient to seek out help and speak with your doctor.
Common Symptoms of Fear and Anxiety in Pregnancy
- 1. Feeling nervous, anxious, or on edge frequently
- 2. An uncontrollable sense of anxiousness
- 3. Worrying excessively about things, especially your health or your baby
- 4. Finding it difficult or impossible to relax
- 5. Feeling restless and hard to stay still
- 6. Feeling irritable and agitated
- 7. Feeling afraid, or thinking that bad things will happen
- 8. Inability to concentrate
- 9. Difficulty sleeping
You may also experience physical symptoms including:
- 1. Racing heartbeat and rapid breathing
- 2. Dizziness
- 3. Lightheadedness or feeling faint
- 4. Shortness of breath
- 5. Excessive sweating
- 6. Tension, pain, or trembling in your muscles
- 7. A numb or tingling feeling in your limbs, fingers, toes, or lips
Causes of Fear and Anxiety in Pregnancy
There are some risk factors that can put a woman at greater risk for developing severe anxiety during pregnancy. These include;
- 1. Hormonal changes
- 2. Family history of anxiety or panic attacks or mood disorder
- 3. A previous diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, panic attacks, or depression
- 4. Previous pregnancy loss or fertility struggles
- 5. Complications during pregnancy
- 6. Stress at home or work
- 7. History of abuse or trauma
- 8. Stressful life events, like the death or illness of a loved one
- 9. Lack of a partner or social support during pregnancy
How to Overcome Fear and Anxiety in Pregnancy
Cases of anxiety during pregnancy might not require much or specific treatment however it is very important you talk to your doctor so you can learn how to manage the symptoms effectively.
Here are some methods for overcoming anxiety during pregnancy:
- 1. Speak to someone you trust about it: Discuss your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust. It can be a family member, friend, counselor, or therapist, who will help you understand your feelings and cope with your anxieties.
- 2. Engage in regular exercise: One natural way to increase serotonin levels and decrease cortisol levels is by exercising. Talk to your doctor to advise you on safe workout techniques. You can also join exercise classes specially designed for pregnant women.
- 3. Rest: Lack of sleep can greatly affect the body and mind’s ability to handle stress and cope with day-to-day challenges. You can create a sleep schedule routine to ensure you get the appropriate time of rest needed.
- 4. Journaling: Writing your thoughts down has a way of unburdening you. It's one major way to mentally relieve one of stress.
- 5. Eating a healthy diet: Many foods have been shown to affect mood, the ability to handle stress, and focus. Caffeine, sugar, processed carbohydrates, artificial additives, and lack of protein can negatively affect your mental and physical health.
- 6. Practice mindfulness: Activities such as meditation and deep breathing practices can help your body release endorphins. Meditation can help you refocus, calm down and clear your mind of intrusive anxieties to better cope with issues.
- 7. Support groups: Seek to be a part of a community of other pregnant mums like PreggClass where they share their feelings and experience about specific topics. Knowing that someone else can relate to what you are going through can be reassuring and ultimately help you overcome these fears and anxiety.
If you are getting too anxious and it's affecting your daily life or you’re having frequent panic attacks, you should call your doctor right away. He/she will diagnose what is wrong and recommend the best, most effective treatment options for you.
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