Anxiety affects more than 40 million adults in the U.S., so it's pretty common for women to head into pregnancy feeling anxious. The reasons behind our anxiety vary from person to person, but it disrupts our daily lives and activities nonetheless. Unfortunately, it can also disrupt our experience with pregnancy, whether we've battled it for years or experienced anxiety for the first time after seeing those two lines.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety refers to the intense feelings of worry, nervousness, and unease that can emerge at any given time, without seemingly any reason behind it. This condition often causes us to give in to irrational fears and can even be the cause behind physical symptoms like:
- Racing heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure
- Stomach discomfort
- Trouble sleeping and concentrating
How Common Is Anxiety During Pregnancy?
Although pregnancy has its own set of symptoms and challenges to manage over 40 weeks, there are some symptoms that can arise or even become more intense due to having anxiety. In some cases, worries that wouldn't typically last longer than a minute or two can last days, affecting your sleep and overall wellbeing. For instance, a small discomfort that is common in pregnancy could turn into overthinking that drives the mother into extreme worry and feelings of stress.
Don't worry, you're not alone. Anxiety is very common in pregnancy. In fact, research even shows that at least one in 10 pregnant women has anxiety. For this reason, doctors are much more dedicated and prepared to help you work through your worries while pregnant. This can include a combination of stress-management techniques and quick solutions like counting to 10 slowly, taking deep breaths, distracting yourself from what's causing your anxiety, and talking it out with your partner or a nearby friend.
Does Anxiety Affect My Baby?
How anxiety affects your baby when you are pregnant has not been significantly studied just yet, but the little research that has been conducted suggests that it can impact the mother negatively, which in turn affects the baby. When symptoms like extreme stress, increased blood pressure, and lack of sleep take over your pregnancy, the baby can experience complications.
According to a 2018 study, anxiety was linked to increased odds for:
- Preterm birth
- Low birth weight
- Earlier gestational age
- Smaller head circumference
So, How Can I Manage Anxiety in Pregnancy? (3 Tips!)
Anxiety has been around for decades, affecting pregnant women everywhere. The key to preventing and managing your anxiety while pregnant and getting you and your child through the experience safely is to know what to look out for and how to treat it.
These three tips can make a big difference if you're pregnant and feeling anxious:
1. Self-Care Techniques
First and foremost, the best thing you can do for yourself and your child when experiencing anxiety during pregnancy is to take care of your health and wellbeing. Some reliable self-care techniques include meditation, yoga, exercise, journaling, and reading. What works best for you depends on what self-care techniques bring more peace of mind. If you love being out in nature and notice that it brings feelings of calm and happiness, then taking a nice little walk every day can go a long way in reducing anxiety.[caption id="attachment_26523" align="alignnone" width="1254"] Yoga and meditation can go a long way in reducing your anxiety.[/caption]
Other great self-care techniques can include limiting your hours at work if it's getting you too stressed out, having a small get-together with friends where you play games and share laughs (laughter is always the best medicine!), and scheduling a prenatal massage or couples massage with your partner. Even a nice bubble bath (early in your pregnancy) and some soothing music can calm your anxiety and prevent it from getting any worse.
If you love the idea of participating in yoga and meditation but are nervous about doing it correctly, there are some great local classes you can get involved in that range in levels from beginner to expert. Classes can be a great place to not only do techniques properly but meet other pregnant moms struggling with similar anxiety symptoms. We're all in this together, and it can be beneficial to share our experiences for additional support and tips.
2. Consider Consulting a Professional
Having someone to talk to, like a friend or family member, can be great for your mental health. Talking about your feelings and confronting your fears is important to recognizing anxiety symptoms to manage their effect on you while pregnant. Sometimes friends and family aren't available, or you need more guidance on managing your anxiety, and that's okay!
A professional therapist can help you identify what's causing your worries, help you confront the fears that are stressing you out and keeping you from much-needed sleep, and make a plan of action to manage symptoms when they emerge again in the future. Having a trusted therapist also ensures that you have someone to go to for answers no matter the time of day when you're feeling too overwhelmed or anxious.
When you take time to consult a professional, you make time to keep your mind and body healthy for you and your baby. Anxiety itself has not been linked to pregnancy complications. It is the severity of anxiety symptoms that can often have a lasting effect on you and your baby.
Medication is another option for pregnant women who are having more trouble managing their anxiety. Of course, we all would prefer quick and natural remedies to our symptoms, but that isn't always possible. When symptoms become too overwhelming and too stressful, you could be risking your and your baby's health more by not considering your options. If this is the case for you, it may be better to discuss your options with a doctor to find a more fitting plan of action.
Fortunately, more and more studies show that certain anxiety and depression medications are safe to take while pregnant. This is significant since most women decide against it, despite the state of their health, in fear that they will do more harm than good to their unborn child.
According to a 2019 study, the seriousness of the mental illness poses a greater risk to the health of the mother and baby than the medications the women were taking at the time of their pregnancy.
Bonus Tip: BINTO Can Help You Prevent And Manage Anxiety!
One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your unborn child during pregnancy is to take care of your health by ensuring you're getting the right amount of nutrients. When you're pregnant, your baby takes most of your vitamins and nutrients. This can often leave you nutrient deficient. Low levels of important vitamins and nutrients like vitamin B-1, vitamin B6, and minerals like zinc can impact your mental health, often worsening anxiety-related symptoms.
BINTO has Essential Prenatal and Prenatal Plus multis for you when you're looking for a natural and efficient supplement solution that is safe for pregnancy. You have enough to deal with during pregnancy than the ingredients in your prenatal supplements, which is why BINTO is on a mission to help more pregnant women gain access to safe over-the-counter products!