DEALING WITH ANXIETY DURING PREGNANCY CAN BE QUITE CHALLENGING.Especially if you’ve never experienced anxiety before. But here is how to deal with pregnancy anxiety with these tips.
So a few days (maybe weeks) ago you saw those two lines on your pregnancy test. Remember how over the moon you were? And now, you’re feeling really anxious and are googling every possible symptom or the lack thereof, as was the case with me. I must had taken about 5 pregnancy tests(after the first positive one) to really confirm I was pregnant.
And that was because we’d been trying for a couple of years and had not been able to conceive because of my PCOS. We were almost talking about fertility treatments and deciding our options, when I conceived. Read all about the moment, I found out I was pregnant, here.
Maybe you had been trying for quite some time too. Or maybe your reasons for anxiety during pregnancy are totally different. I know the feeling all too well. You are constantly worried that you are not eating right. Or maybe you are worried that you might do something that will put your baby at a risk. You are constantly questioning everything, thinking about whether you will make a good mom, and are also thinking about your finances etc.
Or maybe you’re thinking about it all. And then some.
FEEling anxious while pregnant?
Firstly, every mom to be has these concerns, especially if you’re going to be a first time mom. And it’s totally normal to feel anxious. But when your anxiety starts overwhelming you and affecting your daily life, you should learn to control it or seek help if necessary.
Now, if you have dealt with anxiety or panic attacks before you were pregnant, you might have an idea how to deal with it. But if not, then this might be especially challenging for you. Because you might not know that you’re having an anxiety attack.
Some degree of anxiety is normal in every pregnancy and even in daily life, when you are not pregnant. And during pregnancy, it might get heightened because you’re already going through a lot of hormonal changes. And also because this is something that’s entirely alien to you. In fact 1 in 10 moms to be, experiences anxiety. And it’s pretty common because pregnancy is such an emotional experience.
For me, I was not experiencing anxiety for the first time. And I already knew some ways that work for me when I am having these bouts of anxiety and self doubt. But, of you are experiencing anxiety for the first time, don’t worry, you can still make it better.
SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY DURING PREGNANCY:
Knowing these symptoms will help you understand that you have anxiety to begin with. Some of the symptoms of anxiety during pregnancy are:
- A constant feeling that something is wrong with the baby
- Inability to concentrate on work and other day to day activities
- Not being able to sleep properly
- Feeling irritable
- Feeling like you can’t breathe
- Sweating profusely
TIPS FOR COPING WITH ANXIETY DURING PREGNancy:
Address the thoughts:
Feeling anxious during pregnancy? It’s important to understand what makes you anxious. Are you worrying too much about the baby and not eating right? Or are you worried about your finances? Are you thinking about how having a baby will change your entire life and nothing will ever be the same again?
Whatever it is. Try journalling and understanding what your concern is. Because when you know what you’re anxious about, you’d be able to manage it better. I love journalling and write almost everyday. It helps me connect to my own thoughts better. So take a paper and notebook and write whatever comes to your mind for 10-15 minutes without any prompts. This should give you an idea of the direction your thoughts run into and what’s making you anxious.
And when you know what’s making you anxious, you can manage it better. So if the cause of your anxiety is that you are constantly thinking about the baby, talk to your provider. If you are worried about your finances, then start saving and take a saving money challenge.
Have someone to talk to:
If you’re feeling anxious, having someone to share your thoughts with can be quite comforting. Maybe you can share your thoughts with your partner, mom, sister or best friend. Sharing what you are feeling will help you in a great deal and not let anxiety take over your entire life.
If you feel like you have no one to talk to, maybe consider sessions with a therapist. Your therapist will be able to understand you better and suggest you ways to deal with anxiety.
You’d be surprised to see how much of a difference it makes when you’re eating right. And eating foods that are healthy and nutritious will go a long way. Of course, if you can’t seem to keep anything down during your first few months and are anxious that you’re not giving the baby enough nutrients, then here is what you need to know:
My doctor told me that the baby will take whatever nutrients it needs to grow properly. And it will take all those nutrients from your body. All you need to worry about is your own health. And somehow that put me at ease. there is something about being a mom that makes you put your baby’s health first. So it came down to mine, I was okay because I have known myself and have been taking care of my body all these years. And I knew I can do it now too.
And if you can’t keep anything down, eat whatever you feel like and whenever you feel like eating. For the first few weeks, all I ate was oatmeal. No fruits, no veggies, and no milk etc. Even potatoes are fine if that’s all you can digest. Don’t stress too much about nutrition right now.
Just make sure you are taking all your supplements regularly and stop feeling anxious about the nutrition. So keep your folic acid, iron, calcium, magnesium & vitamin game strong and you have nothing to worry about. You can include fruits and veggies in your diet when the initial few months/weeks of nausea have passed.
Move your body:
For a healthy pregnancy, it’s crucial that you move your body and keep active. And it’s even more important, if you’re experiencing anxiety. Moving your body releases endorphins which can lift up your mood. So don’t under-estimate the power of getting your sweat on.
But consult with your doctor before you do nay workouts. I was not allowed to do any intense workouts, so I made sure I walked and did some light exercises. So do whatever you can do and are allowed to do. And if you feel like you’re tired even after a short workout, take breaks in between. As many as your body needs. you are growing a human inside you and it’s a lot of work.
Take Proper Rest:
I honestly struggled so much with this. I am usually a hyper active human who has trouble relaxing during the day. And I had so much difficulty accepting the fact that I was tired and needed rest. You may find it funny but it’s true. For a month or so I was anxious because I was exhausted and couldn’t process the fact. It took me a while to full accept that I was tired and should probably rest during the day as well.
This is something that I have learned during this chapter of my life. I started with affirmations and thanked my body everyday for growing a baby inside of it. I told myself every morning that I was doing enough and that it’s okay to feel tired and rest when you feel exhausted.
I can’t believe I am saying this, but drinking enough water can solve so many of your “problems”. And I can’t believe it because it is something my father used to tell me when I was younger and I didn’t believe him. But slowly with time, I took on this habit and realised how much of a difference it makes. And staying hydrated is even more important when you’re pregnant.
I am not saying drinking enough water will help you keep anxiety at bay. But it will help you with a lot of other symptoms that might be making you anxious.
You anxiety may be rooting from a kind of phobia. May be it’s the phobia of giving birth. I have been there too. I had seen so many movies and tv shows, where they dramatise child birth through normal vaginal deliveries. And whenever I thought of birth, my mind immediately went to what I had seen. And I felt like I didn’t have it in me to go through that kind of pain.
But for me, talking to women who had given birth before helped. I talked to my mom, my sisters, most of whom had had normal deliveries. And they told me it’s really nothing to be scared of. And what we see in shows is heightened for the sake of drama.
So getting help from wherever you can is great. I also highly recommend reading books that will help you be mentally prepared and also to address some of your fears. Some really good books that you could look into are:
- Overcoming Anxiety, Stress and Panic: A Five Areas Approach by Chris Williams
- Panic Attacks: What They Are, Why They Happen and What You Can Do About Them by Christine Ingram
- Panic Attacks: What They Are, Why They Happen and What You Can Do About Them by Christine Ingram
Make a Holistic Self Care plan:
Taking care of yourself is important, and not just when you are pregnant. So make a self care plan for yourself and try indulging in self care everyday. When you take care of your mental, physical and emotional well being, everything just gets easier. And believe it or not, something as simple as putting on a face mask, goes a long way.
And self care doesn’t always have to be something expensive. Here are 53 free or really affordable self care ideas for your wellness routine.
Avoid News/Social media and Work Related Stress:
Felling stressed is directly related to anxiety. And consuming a lot of negative news or scrolling through social media endlessly can result in stress. Stress could also stem from work related deadlines. So, whenever possible, avoid reading news (we all know how papers are filled with negative news these days). I also took a break from social media for about a month and it had a positive impact on my mental health too.
And when it comes to work, try to avoid stress as much as possible. Remove distractions like scrolling on your phone while working. This will help you in being more productive while working, and thus be able to meet your deadlines without a lot of added stress. I also like to prioritise and plan my day ahead, so that I know what needs to be done and can plan accordingly.
Also, make sure to take your mornings slow. Have a healthy breakfast and have some time for yourself before you start work. Taking this time for yourself could be life changing because it allows you to put yourself first. And even though society had taught women to put their needs last, we must take care of ourselves first before everything else.
Anxiety is often couples with depression. And a lot of people shy away from medications especially during pregnancy. but if you are experiencing bouts of anxiety or panic attacks, it may be time to talk to your doctor and get on medications. Your doctor will be able to recommend you medications that are perfectly safe to take during your pregnancy as well.
And remember, Seeking help when you feel like you can’t handle it, is totally okay. It is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it shows courage in my opinion. I hope these tips will help you manage your anxiety better. Because pregnancy is a beautiful time and when you take care of yourself, it could be magical. And with the right resources and proper help, you’d be able to enjoy this time of your life even more.
Other posts that you may be interested in: