Being pregnant should mean that you are happy and joyful all the time, as people expect from you. But this is very rarely the case. Many mothers-to-be suffer from worry and stress during pregnancy. Some 33 percent women experience clinical depression. Depression and anxiety is quite common, and you’re not alone if you are feeling anxious before the birth of your child. Let’s take a look at the symptoms and the tips to cope with anxiety during pregnancy, so that you can consciously shift your feelings. Tough, but not at all impossible!
Anxiety during pregnancy: Symptoms
There are many reasons why you may experience anxiety during pregnancy, including the type of disorder, general anxiety disorder, panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Usually, anxiety is caused by the impending change in your life, the thought that you will have to be responsible for another being other than you. Emotionally, physically and financially, you will be drained. But, this is part of life, and having a child is much more fulfilling experience you will ever have.
However, you might be feeling too worried, which might be hampering your daily life, and these are the symptoms:
- Excessive worry
- Inability to sleep
- Feeling restless all the time
- Muscle/body ache
- Feeling tense
- Poor concentration
- Persistent negative thoughts
- Panic attack/s
How do you cope with this anxiety?
7 natural tips to cope with anxiety during pregnancy
One of the natural tips to get rid of anxiety or to keep it under control is walking. Walking releases endorphins, which behave like natural painkillers in the brain.
Walking is the simplest form of exercise which pregnant mothers can do easily. Most doctors advise walking, for many benefits, physical as well as psychological. Physically, you will be fit and it will keep your blood sugar down, which tends to be higher in some women during pregnancy.
Apart from walking, you can do a gentle jog too, but be cautious while jogging. Aerobics too is one of the ways to cope naturally, and you would enjoy the music and company of other people if you join an aerobic class. For aerobics during pregnancy, only five minutes of it might be enough. But do speak to your doctor about your exercises, as he/she can advise you on the right ones.
Meditation, deep breathing
To control your anxiety during pregnancy, there are some activities which can release endorphins without physical exercise too. These activities are massage therapy, deep breathing exercises, acupuncture and meditation. All of these activities should be performed under the guidance of a qualified professional so that your child is protected.
Once you learn the meditation techniques and deep breathing exercises, which provide a lot of stress relief, you can do that at home by yourself. These two things can be continued even after your child is born, to help cope naturally with the changes in your life.
The American Institute of Stress has recommended deep breathing for about 20 to 30 minutes every day, as this provides a lot of oxygen to the brain and stimulates the nervous system.
While deep breathing, sit comfortably, close your eyes, smile inwardly and try to release the tension within the muscles. Imagine that the air you breathe in is circulating all through the body. After exhaling, repeat it.
Rest as much as possible and try to get the sleep you require. It’s difficult to fall asleep during pregnancy, but try the old methods – like drinking a glass of warm milk before sleeping, keeping your room cool or warm, at the temperature you like, imagine the wonderful life you will have with your child – all of these will help to deal with anxiety during pregnancy.
If you’re not able to sleep at night, sneak in naps during the day, whenever you feel sleepy. Though too many naps will keep you awake at night!
Curl up or lie down in bed with books that cheer you up. Reading is one of the ways to cope naturally with anxiety, as it takes your mind of all the things causing you worry.
Identify the cause
Feeling anxious in general is natural during pregnancy. But if there is a particular reason which is playing on your mind over and over again, you can talk to someone about it. For example, if it is something medically related to pregnancy, you definitely must speak to your doctor about it. If you feel fatigued all the time, you will feel anxiety during pregnancy, and fatigue might have a medical reason behind it. So talking to your doctor might reveal an underlying condition, which when treated, will give you relief.
Some women have the fear of giving birth itself, called Tokophobia. If you are going through the same thing, you can join a birth class. This will help you know about the different stages of pregnancy and labor, what you can expect, etc so that the whole process is demystified. Birth classes also provide suggestions to deal with the pain of giving birth.
If you are worried about something else, talk to your mother, partner or friends about it. Join a support group, which would help you meet other mothers with similar problems. This might help to solve your problem. This is one of the ways to get stress relief during pregnancy.
Start a journal
It helps a lot to get the thoughts out of your system. You may not feel like talking about your fears, but writing them down also will make you feel better. You would know what exactly is causing you the most anxiety. Once you know this, you can take action to deal with the anxious feelings.
Avoid anxiety triggers
If you know what triggers your anxiety, you should avoid them as much as you can. If there are certain people who upset you, then avoid these people altogether. You need to be happy during pregnancy, and if some people, such as your mother in law (sad but true!) gives you grief, then learn how to handle them delicately. Say that you would call and suggest a time to come over (preferably when your husband is at home!).
Remember that during pregnancy, you are the most important person, your rest matters and you just should not reply to all texts or calls all the time. You can send a general message to everyone saying you are well, and stay calm during the day. Avoid coffee, eat healthy – including food from all food groups, and take long nature walks to feel good. Painting will take your mind off things and ease anxiety too.