It is normal to feel anxious during a healthy pregnancy and many women deal with anxiety as they travel on this special journey.
But what signs should you look out for if you think you’re getting too anxious? We asked midwife Ali Pickles to give some advice for mums-to-be.
What Pregnant Women Often Worry About
To some degree pregnancy is a time where women feel like they’re losing control, especially if they’re used to controlling their daily work and home lives.
They decide what to eat, where they want to be and when they want to sleep. Once they fall pregnant they lose some of this control.
They now need to think for a little person growing inside them. They need to watch what they eat and look after themselves.
It is normal to have fears and concerns for the little person growing inside you as most of the time you do not know what’s actually happening with the growth of the baby.
When Worries Become Overwhelming
However, if your worries and fears become overwhelming and interfere with your daily life, you could be suffering from anxiety.
There are many types of anxiety disorders that can be quite complex, but this article will focus on the umbrella of anxiety disorders, not each individual diagnosis.
Symptoms of anxiety disorders are different for everyone and can be classed as emotional, physical or a combination of both.
Physical symptoms can include:
- Pounding heart (palpitations)
- Stomach upset or dizziness
- Frequent urination or diarrhoea
- Shortness of breath
- Tremors and twitches
- Muscle tension
Emotional symptoms can include:
- Feeling like life is on top of you
- Thinking you need to put on a different façade in front of others
- Feelings of apprehension or dread
- Having trouble concentrating
- Feeling tense
- Anticipating the worst in all situations
- Visioning terrible things are going to happen to you and your baby
- Feeling like you’re losing your mind and you’re blank
Some women are predisposed to anxiety and if you have had anxiety previously to pregnancy, you may have an increased risk of developing pregnancy-related anxiety.
This does not mean just because you’re an anxious person pre-pregnancy you will be anxious in pregnancy. Try not to talk yourself into it!
11 Self-Help Options To Assist During Anxious Situations
1. Learn relaxation techniques – meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises.
2. Understand your triggers – try relaxation techniques when they develop.
3. Take care of yourself – follow a healthy pregnancy eating plan and have good exercise habits.
4. Get out and talk with friends – you may be surprised to learn your friends may have or had anxiety too.
5. Ask for help – whether it’s in your home life, work life or as a new mum. No one is going to frown at you for asking for help to do everything that needs to be done.
6. Try to limit negative thoughts – keep a diary, write them down then close the diary. Read them back to yourself and you may be surprised to read them and feel a bit silly that you were thinking that way.
7. Put yourself in others shoes – think if your friend came to you like this what would I do to help and LISTEN to your own advice.
8. You Time – set aside at least 10 minutes a day just for yourself.
9. Practise acceptance – there will be times in pregnancy that you can’t control your situation.
10. Step away from computer – Do NOT internet diagnose.
11. Get good amounts of sleep – if you’re not sleeping at night have a rest during the day. Go to bed earlier.
You should speak to your doctor and midwife about any concerns. There’s a range of treatment options so don’t suffer in silence.
- Medications as prescribed by a doctor
- Group therapy
- Behavioural therapy
- Relaxation therapy
If you have any concerns please seek medical advice. You’ll find more useful pregnancy tips here.
Don’t forget the Healthy Mummy has a pregnancy smoothie that is packed with a stack of vitamins and minerals.