Pregnancy is life-altering. You are responsible for bringing a new life into this world. It is the most beautiful experience for a woman.It can also be the most over-whelming feeling ever. It isn’t easy to adjust to the many changes a woman’s body undergoes to give birth to a new life.Research indicates that many women experience anxiety and panic during their pregnancy.
Unfortunately in most cases it is left untreated. Moreover due to societal conventions women are pre-conditioned to feel guilty because they are anxious of childbirth. What is left unsaid is that anxiety is a mental condition requiring treatment and care. It is certainly not something to be ashamed of.
Anxiety During Pregnancy is Normal.
Anxiety during pregnancy can assume many forms. The most commonly diagnosed type of anxiety found in pregnant women is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). It is the most common type of anxiety disorder which is characterized by frequent bouts of anxious and panic attacks followed by varying physical and mental discomforts.
Many pregnant women also face PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder after having experienced a traumatic birthing experience, neonatal death or a miscarriage. Phobia or an overwhelming fear of the process of childbirth, needles are also not uncommon among pregnant women.
Symptoms Commonly Found in Pregnant Women Suffering From Anxiety.
Some of the common symptoms pregnant women experience are –
- Feeling anxious continuously, for more than two week at one go,
- Physical illnesses in the form of fast heartbeat, sweating, upset stomach, sweating, fast breaths, dizziness etc.,
- Having panic attacks,
- Having unpleasant thoughts that you have no control over,
- Getting into the habit of repeatedly doing everyday activities, like washing, counting, checking etc.,
- Afraid of labor and childbirth so much that you don’t want the time to come soon,
- Afraid of visiting the doctor and subsequent tests
What Should You Do If You Suffer from Anxiety During Pregnancy?
A pregnant women is always advised to stay happy. It is imperative that a woman is mentally healthy so that she has a smooth gestation period. If you are experiencing any or many of the above mentioned symptoms, you must take action. There are several anxiety relief for pregnancy that you can try all by yourself.
Talk to someone. It can be your spouse, partner, parents, GP or Ob-Gyn or even a friend. It has been found that when people suffering from anxiety share their problems, they are better able to come out of their fears, anxieties and panic attacks.
You can also start exercising regularly. It is a common misconception that pregnant women should be extra careful, walk less, exercise lesser. Exercising and keeping up your daily routine is important for your general well-being. However be mindful of the kind of exercises you practice. It is advised you seek professional advice before practicing any routine.
If you are a caffeine addict, you need to re-prioritize your drinking habits. Caffeine isn’t good for the body, especially during pregnancy. You can have frequent bouts of acid reflux, indigestion with too much caffeine intake. It can also play havoc with your mental health.
You should also stay away from alcohol. Not only are they harmful for your baby but can also harm your mental wellness.
Meditate every morning.It is one of the common anxiety relief tips that is advised for all suffering from anxiety and stress. Meditation helps to calm the mind. It also helps you to have control over your mind.
Eat well. It is generally advised that a pregnant woman should watch what she eats. But if you are suffering from anxiety or depression, you should be all the more careful about what you eat. Avoid oily food. Increase your protein intake as well fibrous food in your meals.
Anxiety Relief and Pregnancy – Other Options
Apart from making lifestyle changes that can help ease your anxiety during pregnancy, you can seek other relief for anxiety and depression during this monumental time of your life.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or CBT is one of the most commonly sought psychotherapy methods used to treat anxiety. The aim of CBT is to identify anxiety triggers so that certain behavioral changes can be categorically made. Visiting a therapist and seeking professional help is advised for patients suffering from acute case of anxiety and depression.
Another alternative is including Mood Lifting Supplements in your diet. You will find several types of over the counter pills that you can safely have during pregnancy.Women are often afraid to take any pills for anxiety relief while pregnant fearing harm to the fetus.
However there are several supplements available in the market that are made using naturally occurring ingredients such as Ashwagandha, St. John’s Wort, Magnesium, 5-HTP, B-Vitamins, GABA, Chamomile extract etc. – all which are safe for pregnancy. All these ingredients are known to positively affect nerves that are stressed.
Some also work to reduce the stress level and increase the serotonin levels. Mood lifting supplements are mostly safe for pregnant women but it is advised that you first check with your GP. Most of these anxiety relief pills should be taken at least once daily, right after your meals.
There is no doubt that pregnancy and consequent childbirth can bring monumental changes to a women’s life. In many ways it can literally shift a women’s lifestyle, career choices and more. It is not easy to undergo so many changes along with the several hormonal changes that concurrently occur. If a woman already has a history of anxiety, stress and depression, pregnancy can be even more challenging. It is important that you understand the possible complications that can arise if you leave anxiety untreated.
Pregnancy should usher in one of the best times of a woman’s life. She should feel happy and excited during her gestation period. It is easy to become vulnerable during pregnancy, have doubts about oneself and your ability to raise a child. It is even more difficult if a woman has already experienced a traumatic childbirth. But there is always hope. Anxiety and depression can easily be treated, especially if identified in its early stages. Lifestyle and behavioral changes are necessary while natural supplements are advisable.