Among the many roles a woman excels in, motherhood is surely her crowning glory. Nature has gifted her the unique capability of bringing a new life to the world. There isn’t a greater joy than motherhood. However along with the joy comes truckloads of worry, tension, uneasiness, and hours of sleepless nights. To say that motherhood is challenging is probably an understatement –it is more than a challenge. It is thus quite natural to get the jitters when you are pregnant, especially for the first time. Pregnancy can open a floodgate of emotions – one toppling over the other. But two emotions that often reign supreme are joy and worry. For some mothers, pregnancy means unsuppressed happiness. Unfortunately, there are many women for whom the gestation period of 40 weeks can be unsettling.
Anxiety is very common among pregnant women. Most suffer in silence. The general perception of motherhood has skewed our minds to such an extent that we disregard an expecting mother’s cry for help. If a woman says she is anxious or worried about her unborn child, most will shut her asking her to think positively, to be grateful, and to feel blessed. Prenatal distress is as real a thing as postpartum depression. While the latter is widely recognized, diagnosed, and treated, not many bother about the former. But in truth many suffer from prenatal distress – most are simply unreported.
Prenatal distress can take many forms – anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and PTSD. Seeking anxiety relief while pregnant is essential. Talk to your OBGYN. If she continues to remain apathetic, seek counseling. It is possible to jump out of the carousel but you will need help. Anxiety relief cannot happen overnight. While your body transforms and accommodates a new life, you will undergo many psychological changes as well. It may be easy for some women to adjust to the changes but many worry about the uncertain times that lay ahead.
What is Anxiety during Pregnancy
Anxiety is our body’s response to a threatening or unsafe situation. The reactions are natural and adaptive. Anxiety increases when the ‘threats’ consume our sanity. During pregnancy, it is most likely caused due to the uncertainty of the entire process. Fearing the child’s growth within your womb, being apprehensive about the child’s future once born are common causes of anxiety. Many times anxiety can be a result of us fearing something – anything that hasn’t occurred but we fear may happen.
Anxiety can assume many forms. We can feel physical distress in the form of indigestion, increased heart rate, loss of appetite, insomnia, shallow breathing, etc. It can also be psychological – in how we feel. It can also bring behavioral changes –withdrawal symptoms, being extra careful, over-controlling our environment, need for constant reassurance, etc.
Even in normal circumstances, any of the above behaviors can be distressing. During pregnancy, such overwhelming turmoil can be distressing for you and your unborn child. That’s why it is important to understand the significance of prenatal distress and to try calling yourself.
How to Remain Calm during Pregnancy
Though it may not be an easy feat to remain calm during pregnancy, it isn’t an impossible feat as well. There are several tips for anxiety relief for pregnancy which are quite helpful. Most are simple tips that can be practiced at home without much work. Below we shall be highlighting 6 easy steps to deal with anxiety during pregnancy.
- Do Not Keep It Bottled Up –If unknown fear is gripping you, do not remain in that state without talking to anyone. Talk to your spouse, talk to your friend, or a family friend – anyone who you can trust. Sometimes simply talking about your feelings and thoughts can be enough to settle your mind.
- Engage in Physical Activity – Physical activity helps to lower stress and anxiety. You need not do anything strenuous, but do not stop your regular physical activity unless medically advised by your doctor. You may walk, jog, or practice yoga.
- Exercise Your Mind –It is natural to feel overwhelmed and tired during pregnancy. Controlling your thoughts and exercising your mind will stop you from thinking negatively. Meditation is helpful in curbing anxiety as is deep breathing exercises. Keep your mind agile and active so that it doesn’t stress you on simple matters easily.
- Rest – Your OBGYN may have suggested increasing your sleep hours, to take those afternoon naps. But if you are suffering from anxiety, it may be hard to follow that advice. Rest as much as you can. Try to increase the number of hours you sleep. Your body is already working overtime for the baby, resting will help you.
- Take Medication – Can you take anxiety relief medication when pregnant? It is an obvious question that can come to your mind. Though it is advised to always ask your doctor before you start any medication, there are a few herbal supplements that can be purchased as over the counter medication. Try to buy one that is made of ingredients such as St. John’s Wort, Ashwagandha, B-Vitamins, Magnesium, GABA, and Chamomile extract. All these ingredients have been known for ages to help reduce stress and anxiety.
- Understand Pregnancy –Anxiety inflicts when you fear the unknown. One of the better ways to deal with anxiety is to curb those fearful thoughts. In pregnancy, you will most likely fear childbirth, the gestation period, how you may inadvertently harm your child, etc. Educate yourself. Empower yourself with the right information. Understand pregnancy and how a child develops inside your womb. Once you understand the process, you will be able to deal with anxiety and stress.
Pregnancy is one of the challenging phases of a woman’s life. It is a daunting task to give birth. It is natural to feel overwhelmed at how your body adjusts, grows and accommodates a whole new life. Anxiety during pregnancy is not abnormal. Though it is ideal if you remain happy, do not feel guilty if yousuffer from anxiety. Do not hide your anxiety. Talk to people who care. Find solutions. Keep calm. You are just about to become a mother!