Sometimes we face a situation that leads to extreme stress. In fact, having anxiety is a normal phenomenon in daily life, as long as it does not paralyze our life. But in the case of pregnant mothers, anxiety can intensify and, if not treated, affect their babies before and after birth.
The definition of anxiety is generally a state in which there is a combination of fear, worry, and stress. Problems in the workplace with colleagues or boss, discussions with a spouse, and worrying about an exam result may make us anxious.
Sometimes, the worry is not due to a specific external factor. In fact, you are worried about future events because of the disturbing thoughts you have in your head.
Some common concerns of expecting moms are delivery time, the health of their babies, parenthood, and the relationship with their partners.
It is common, especially if they are having a baby for the first time. But these worries should not become permanent and disrupt your daily life. Otherwise, it becomes an anxiety disorder.
Causes of Anxiety in Pregnancy
Pregnancy alone is one of the leading causes of anxiety because you are in a situation you have never experienced before. However, having some conditions and even a history of anxiety and family stress can increase the possibility of you suffering from anxiety during pregnancy.
For example, having a history of anxiety or panic disorder by you or someone in your family is a risk factor that makes you suitable to have the same experience during pregnancy.
Studies show that anxiety in the last pregnancy, a miscarriage or pregnancy loss, or generally suffering from other physical problems will increase the risk of antenatal anxiety.
What Are the Symptoms of Stress during Pregnancy?
When you get pregnant, the hormones in your body will change. Therefore, it is natural that you feel anxious more than past. You might have mood swings, feel less impatient, and quickly get upset or angry.
But antenatal anxiety includes thoughts that consume your day and night, and you cannot control them. As a result, it has destructive effects on your function at home or work. Some expecting mothers cannot even leave the house or have panic attacks. In both cases, the mental health of the individual is at risk.
Symptoms of Anxiety in Pregnant Women
These are the symptoms common among people having anxiety:
Difficulty falling asleep, restless or irritated, fearful, and having uncomfortable ideas about future events, uncontrollable or unstoppable worry and stress about your health and your baby, nervousness, and inability to be relaxed.
In addition to these cases, anxious people also experience physical symptoms such as dizziness, increased heart rate, too much sweating, rapid breathing or shortness of breath, feeling of tension, and numbness in muscles or limbs.
The symptoms mentioned are generally seen in anxious people. The consequences of these emotional and physical complications are more substantial in pregnant women because moms-to-be tend to worry more about their babies.
As a result, panic attacks will be stronger. Therefore, you must talk to obstetricians or gynecologists and ask for their advice.
According to statistics, 1 out of every 10 pregnant women experiences anxiety disorder during pregnancy.
In 2020, the number of pregnant women who felt anxiety during the corona pandemic in the US went twofold. Up to 70% of women have experienced this state because of quarantine and lockdowns. Exposure to negative news, losing loved ones, and worrying about self-infection with Corona have been related causes.
Anxiety Disorders during Pregnancy
In the following, we review the three types of anxiety disorders common among pregnant mothers. Of course, many anxiety symptoms are common in all three diseases. Your doctor can determine the type of disorder after taking your history.
The first type of disorder is called Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). People suffering from Gad worry about various aspects of life.
For example, you may worry about family situations, work, money, housing, or other things.
In the second type of disorder, the panic attack, the person faces sudden attacks of overwhelming fear and panic. These attacks may occur due to a person's exposure to certain stimuli or have no specific reason.
In the third type of disorder, obsessive thinking is very powerful, and the person sees herself as having to perform repetitive behaviors. This is called obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The Effects of Anxiety on Pregnant Moms
Pregnancy anxiety or pregnancy anxiety disorders can cause challenges for you and your baby before and after delivery. Long-term anxiety and stress increase your risk of developing preeclampsia, and the possibility of preterm birth or giving birth to a lower-weight baby is also higher. At the same time, anxiety can be a precursor to problems such as depression and loss of self-esteem.
Also, anxiety disorders make you want to isolate yourself more and deprive yourself of the support network of family and friends. Your sleep may also be disrupted during pregnancy.
In addition, a child born to an anxious mother also faces the risk of behavioral and emotional problems in his life.
Despite the harmful effects of this problem, less than 40% of people generally seek treatment options for their anxiety. Most pregnant women also prefer to ignore the symptoms of stress during pregnancy.
Solutions for Anxiety Disorder during Pregnancy
If your doctor diagnoses you with an anxiety disorder, he may suggest one or more of these treatments methods:
Participating in a group or individual therapy sessions
One of the best ways to manage your anxiety problem is to talk about what's on your mind. Therapy sessions can be held between you and a counselor, or you can participate in group therapy sessions on his recommendation. In these meetings, you will meet pregnant women similar to you.
You can benefit from emotional support and learn techniques to deal with anxiety.
Change in lifestyle
Perhaps watching too much news or surfing the internet for hours are some reasons for your anxiety. It is good to avoid social media and television and spend your time watching your favorite shows or learning something.
Meditate and take care of yourself. Doing exercises during pregnancy, such as yoga, swimming, or simply walking, will leave amazing effects on your mood. Also, try to boost your self-esteem and learn how to control your thoughts and emotions.
Finally, plan to have some changes in your eating habits. You can start a healthy diet, drink lots of water, and sleep on time.
Prescribing medication for anxiety is the last way to treat this problem. It is done if your level of worry and fear is severe. If so, your doctor will give you a list of anxiety medications safe during pregnancy. Since you are pregnant, using drugs should be done with enough care.
Anxiety is a normal part of daily life for many people.
As a pregnant woman, it is normal to experience a little more anxiety. But suppose you can't control disturbing thoughts and suffer more severe consequences. In that case, you should see a doctor to identify the causes of your anxiety.
There are solutions to reduce the anxiety that was introduced in this article. Using medicine should be your last option. It is better to try to solve the anxiety problem with life changes or participate in therapy sessions.