Published March 19, 2020
Even the most confident woman can suddenly panic when told she is pregnant. Whether it was a planned event or a surprise, from this moment unknown insecurities seem to take over, and you are suddenly afraid like never before. What is pregnancy anxiety and how can you cope with it?
But, I’m Supposed to Be Happy!
If you have said this aloud or had the thought come to mind, you’re not alone. You can be absolutely thrilled about having your first child or adding to your family, and yet still be anxious and downright miserable at the very same time. The very fact that you feel unhappy during your pregnancy can make you anxious.
Sometimes called prenatal distress, you may worry about if you will be a good mother. You worry that the baby is kicking too much. Will your child be healthy? Will we be able to afford a new addition to the family? Maybe you are afraid of labor and delivery, and so you worry about that. The anxiety piles up and there seems to be no end to the questions or concerns that you have.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy affect your mood and cause anxiety, so take comfort in knowing that these are all completely natural and normal reactions. In fact, 52% of women have increased anxiety during pregnancy according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Once you recognize that a certain amount of anxiety is normal, you can stop beating yourself up about it, and become proactive.
Share Your Feelings
Don’t suffer in silence. Talk to Sylvia Horsley, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., your spouse, and your closest friends about how you feel. Not only will this relieve you of some of the guilt, but these individuals can also begin to give you much needed support and advice. There are childbirth classes to take where you can speak to other women who are probably having similar anxieties.
Get Enough Sleep
Easy to say, right? Leg cramps and heartburn can keep you awake, but 7 or 8 hours of sleep is a vital need that keeps the anxiety levels at a minimum. As your belly begins to grow, it can become difficult to find a great sleeping position, so try sleeping on your left side and make as many adjustments as you need to get some rest at the end of each day.
Try to continue with all of your regular activities and workout routines for as long as possible. Continue working, take 30 minute walks, and engage in any other activity you enjoy like gardening. If you previously engaged in intense workouts, speak with Sylvia Horsley, M.D., F.A.C.O.G. about ways to modify your regimen so that you can still get a good workout without causing any potential harm to yourself or your baby.
Eat Healthy Foods
Focus on consuming fresh whole foods. Eating prepackaged and processed foods can negatively affect your mental state.
Try Relaxation techniques
Do yoga, get a regular massage, do anything to take your mind off your worries.
Start a Journal
This can be the best medicine of all. Write down your thoughts, list your priorities for the week, set goals, and talk to yourself about how to overcome those pesky anxieties.
All You Need Is Love
That old Beatles song says it all. Worrying about being a good mother means you WILL be a good mother. That little one will need all the care and guidance you can provide, and love is the most important ingredient. You will have that to spare.
Contact Women’s Medical Associates of Southern New Hampshire if your pregnancy anxieties are becoming severe or are keeping you from participating in daily activities.