Even though most women cherish their months of pregnancy as a special time when something amazing is preparing to happen, it is no secret that pregnancy does come with its own set of problems and issues. A lot has been said about physiological aspects of pregnancy and issues like morning sickness, weight gain, constipation, water retention, food cravings and such, but the psychological aspect of pregnancy should not be ignored neither.
Causes of anxiety
Many pregnant women experience bouts of anxiety, even panic attacks, or periods of quiet but intensive worrying and stress. There are a lot of things a pregnant woman can be anxious about. Her life as she knows it is about to change. She may worry whether she will be up to the task of parenthood, whether her relationships and professional life will have to be put aside when the baby comes, and a lot of other issues. In addition, a pregnant woman is always very worried about the unborn baby’s health. When she is stressed, she worries whether the stress will affect the baby in a negative way. This creates something of a vicious circle of worrying, anxiety and stress.
Some degree of apprehension, even anxiety, is normal in pregnancy, but if it becomes all-consuming and seriously interferes with everyday functioning, it may be time to do something about it.
What to do?
It is important to realize that chronic, intensive stress can increase the chance of premature labor, especially in the last trimester. Therefore, anxiety in pregnancy should not be taken for granted and it should be addressed, with the help of friends, family, loved ones, therapists, doctors or counselors.
The first step is to talk about the problem with the partner. Sharing fears is one of the best ways to get over them. If the fear is related to the baby and his or her health, visiting a doctor can be very helpful. If the anxiety persists even after the doctor has reassured the mother-to-be that the baby is perfectly fine, it may be time to see a therapist or a counselor.
Some small steps can help lift the weight of anxiety from a pregnant woman’s shoulders. Cutting down on choirs, getting rid of the notion that one person can do it all and that a mother is supposed to be perfect, taking plenty of rest, engaging in relaxing activities such as reading, walking, watching a funny or a feel-good movie, eating healthy, going to bed early, limiting time spent on the internet on pregnancy websites and forums, doing yoga, stretches or breathing exercises - these are all things that can relieve the anxiety and reduce the amount of stress.