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Image of a young woman sitting alone on bed at home and covering her face in despair is suffering anxiety during pregnancy.

8 Ways to Say Goodbye to Anxiety During Pregnancy

December 12, 2023 6:13 am
REAN Foundation

Pregnancy should be all about happiness, eager anticipation, and excitement. However, unfortunately, some women may respond more strongly to the physical changes and the expectations of having a child. These responses manifest as anxiety, worry, and fear.

The last thing you want on your mind is anxiety- especially during pregnancy. Our blog brings you a wealth of information about anxiety during pregnancy, its symptoms, causes, and coping mechanisms. Let’s read on.

Anxiety During Pregnancy: When Worry Becomes a Cause For Worry

By definition, anxiety is an intense or mild feeling of worry or fear, or both together. In reality, anxiety is a complex mix of emotions that manifests differently in each individual. While many people can control their anxiety, others can end up having frightening panic attacks.

Antenatal anxiety or anxiety during pregnancy is not uncommon. The Mental Health Journal reveals that about 20-40% of pregnant women suffer from antenatal depression and anxiety.

And if that’s not bad enough, some pregnant women go to the extent of feeling guilty about harboring these feelings when they should be happy and excited. The truth is antenatal anxiety is a cause for concern. It is a mental health condition that must be handled with care rather than considering it a temporary sign of weakness.

Anxiety, in general, is not something that one can “snap out of” in a jiffy. With pregnancy already being an emotional experience, it can be challenging to identify manageable emotions from something more serious like anxiety.

What causes antenatal anxiety?

Why do you feel panicky and anxious instead of enjoying a new phase of your life? It's important to remember that not everything that causes anxiety is something you can control. We can blame it on:

  • Hormonal changes occurring in your body during pregnancy. These hormones may affect the chemicals in your brain.
  • Apprehension about how your baby will impact your relationships with your family and friends.
  • Unnecessary worry about the health of your child.
  • Fear of labor pain and the delivery experience.
  • Worry about the extra financial burden on the family.
  • Genetic predisposition towards anxiety or other mental conditions.
  • Family history of pregnancy loss or complications during delivery.
  • Childhood trauma.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to know that while such worries are completely normal, it is vital to seek medical help before your anxiety affects your pregnancy. Your physician may refer you to a mental health specialist for timely medical assistance before your condition escalates.

What happens when you do not seek medical help for antenatal anxiety? The following segment explores the ill effects and the treatment options for this condition.

Antenatal Anxiety: The Repercussions & Possible Treatment Options

Research reveals that untreated antenatal anxiety can play havoc with your health and inadvertently affect your unborn child. The adverse effects include:

  • Risk of premature delivery
  • Risk of low birth weight
  • Small head circumference
  • Early gestational age

Although antenatal anxiety is a cause for concern, the good news is that it can be easily treated provided you recognize the symptoms and reach out to professionals for help. Your antenatal anxiety treatment depends on certain factors, such as:

  • The intensity of your symptoms.
  • How you handled your previous anxiety attacks.
  • The availability of local treatment options.

If you're struggling with antenatal anxiety or panic attacks, there are many effective self-help techniques based on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that can help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Tips for coping with anxiety during pregnancy

If your anxiety is mild, it may be enough for you to get more support from your doctor or child healthcare nurse. More severe anxiety may need treatment with psychological therapies and, sometimes, medicines.

Also Read: The What, How & Why of Gestational Diabetes

Apart from seeking professional help, there are several ways to address this issue and make your pregnancy a happy, stress-free experience. Read on to explore the coping strategies for antenatal anxiety.

8 Self-Care Tips to Keep Anxiety Out of Your Life

1. Stay connected with family and friends.

Antenatal anxiety is very normal, and the best way to nip it in the bud is to discuss the issue with your spouse, a trusted friend, or a family member.  You can also reach out to new mothers or other pregnant women who may have overcome the condition.

Sharing your feelings can actually work wonders and keep them from taking over your life! So don't hesitate to open up and let your feelings out. Also, don’t hesitate to hand over responsibilities or chores to your loved ones before they overwhelm you and push you into an anxious state of mind.

2. Find your mental outlet.

Your mind and body are intricately connected. Hence, any physical activity may serve as a mental release to let go of your anxious feelings. Activities like yoga, pilates, cardio, or even a brisk walk release endorphins that act like natural painkillers. They also improve your self-esteem and make you feel good about yourself.

3. Try rhythmic activities.

Engaging in rhythmic activities can be useful for grounding yourself and calming your mind as they establish a predictable pattern. For instance, you can listen to slow music with a tempo slower than your heartbeat, go for a slow jog, read a favorite book, or watch a TV sitcom you’ve always enjoyed.

4. Improve your awareness of childbirth.

If your anxiety stems from Tokophobia (fear of childbirth), it’s best to put an end to your fear by signing up for antenatal classes. These sessions teach you what to expect during labor, how to cope with pain and demystify the entire process. You may also get to discuss your issues with other expecting mothers with the same experience. Such interactions can positively alter your outlook toward pregnancy and childbirth.

5. Delve into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a therapeutical technique that uses patterns to evaluate your anxiety and implement healthier coping mechanisms to deal it. It is one of the best non-medication methods to deal with anxiety, especially during a critical phase like pregnancy. Consult with certified counselors or therapists to identify what triggers your anxiety and learn how to steer clear of it.

6. Improve your diet.

You are what you eat. Pregnancy is the time to quit unhealthy foods and focus on consuming a balanced, nutritious diet. Ensure you eat protein, omega-3-rich foods, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to increase your serotonin levels in the brain. This will help keep you calm and not give in to any negative thoughts or feelings.

7. Rest and sleep well.

Sleepless nights are a big no-no. Inadequate sleep is detrimental to physical and mental health. Therefore, prioritize sleep and do what it takes to sleep non-stop at night. If your night sleep is elusive (which is common during pregnancy), take naps during the day to rest your body and mind.

8. Connect with your doctor.

If you have experienced a panic attack more than once, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor about it. The sooner you get medical help, the easier it is to deal with anxiety. Your doctor is the best person to help you tide through these tough phases, especially if your anxiety is severe.

How REAN HealthGuru Helps You

REAN Foundation makes your pregnancy more manageable with the REAN HealthGuru app. Our AI-powered app is an incredibly valuable tool that provides a holistic approach towards your physical and mental health.

HealthGuru opens the door to a wealth of resources and connects you with a supportive community to help you deal with pregnancy-related anxieties. The app has features designed to help you manage stress by connecting with professionals. It also gives you access to insightful guidance to tide you through this delicate phase.

Connect with REAN Foundation to understand more about our app. Download it today and empower yourself with digital healthcare at your fingertips.

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