Pregnancy anxiety: How to cope?
Pregnancy is an exciting time as you look forward to welcoming your little one to the world. This may naturally invoke a rollercoaster of emotions during pregnancy, from moments of joy and excitement to tougher moments such as mood swings, worries and fatigue.
Causes of pregnancy anxiety
It is normal to feel anxious or worried as your body goes through hormonal fluctuations that may affect your mood. Many things that you feel anxious over may be well beyond your control and instead be, for example, the result of poor sleeping habits. Some moms worry about how a baby would change their lives, whether the baby would be healthy, the pain of childbirth and more. It is human to feel such feelings and it is alright to acknowledge these uncomfortable feelings.
Symptoms of pregnancy anxiety
Some extent of worrying is normal during pregnancy as you navigate your bodily changes and learn new things about yourself. However, if these worries are starting to affect your day-to-day life, you may have anxiety.
Here are some symptoms to look out for:
Obsessive, uncontrollable thoughts about your baby or health
Being unable to stop worrying excessively
Struggles with concentration
Feeling easily irritable or frustrated at minor inconveniences
Feeling restless or dreadful
Having tense muscles
Anxiety can occur at any point during your pregnancy, and can become harmful if left untreated. It can also affect you and your fetus as it increases the risk of developing conditions such as premature birth, low birth weight and preeclampsia.
If you feel that you can relate to any of the points mentioned above, it may be a good idea to talk about your thoughts and feelings with your doctor.
How to better cope with anxiety during pregnancy?
The first step to overcoming anxiety is sharing your feelings with someone you trust. This could be your partner, family, or close friends who can offer their support where you need it. In more severe cases, it may be more helpful to seek a counselor who specializes in dealing with anxiety.
Some women may prefer to get their body moving by finding an outlet for their negative feelings – this could mean engaging in physical activities that helps your body release happy hormones, aka endorphins! This is an easy yet effective way to manage feelings of stress and many mommies like to go for long walks, do gentle yoga or aerobics.
Besides physical activities, you can also try calmer activities such as meditation, deep breathing, and massage therapy to relax your mind. Doing deep breathing exercises has long been linked to alleviating anxiety symptoms as it provides more oxygen to your brain and releases muscle tension.
Sometimes you may feel anxious due to the uncertainty of pregnancy and birth – it may be a good idea to sign up for birthing classes to learn more about your body and what to expect at each stage of pregnancy. Empowering yourself with knowledge may help to reduce your anxiety as you are able to communicate with other mothers who may be dealing with the same worries too.
While feeling anxious during pregnancy is fairly common, it also differs from individual to individual. Remember to allow your loved ones to support you and incorporate stress management methods to cope with your worries.