anxiety in pregnancy
Anxiety can be a normal emotion to experience at times during pregnancy but anxiety isn’t pleasant if it is ongoing, so it is important for parents to ease this anxiety, to identify where it is coming from and to learn how to manage it.
Anxiety can come from a number of places:
- Financial or relationship worries
- Health concerns
- Concern about your ability to birth or to look after your baby
- Stress at work
- Worry as a result of a previous birth experience
- Or you might not know the cause and feel confused about where your anxiety is coming from – focusing on it might enable you to work out what is bothering you.
How to deal with anxiety
The first hurdle can be to admit you are feeling anxious and to work out where the anxiety is coming from. Most of us, when anxious, will distract ourselves and try to make it go away but it rarely does if it is based on a deep fear or worry and it has a habit of festering until we have no choice but to deal with it.
- Face it head on – stop trying to ignore it and allow yourself some space to think about your stress. Allow those thoughts to flood your head and see if you can work out exactly what is making you feel anxious. It can also be useful to write your thoughts down, to help you plan how to identify and manage your anxiety.
- It can be useful to learn some simple breathing techniques to manage and ease feelings of anxiety. This can slow down your breathing, heading off any panic and giving you something positive to focus on.
- Talk through your worries or concerns with someone – this can be helpful to just let it all out and clear your head. It can also be a useful way to think about formulating a plan or someway of managing the cause of your anxiety.
Why does anxiety need to be dealt with?
Because pregnancy can be emotional enough without added stress and anxiety is rarely positive – it makes you feel ill, snappy, tense and generally unhappy.
Stress and anxiety can raise your blood pressure, cause panic attacks and affect your sleep.
If you can face up to your anxiety and what is worrying you, you may be able to find a way of managing it and seeking out more support if you need it.
Sometimes talking it through with someone who isn’t closely involved can be useful. A large part of my job as an antenatal teacher is to listen especially if you are anxious or worried about the birth or becoming a parent, or you are experiencing anxiety due to other factors and want to learn how to manage it.
Antenatal classes and relax & breathe sessions are perfect in pregnancy for information, support and reassurance. I can also provide one-to-one support to focus on identifying and managing anxiety, which works really well for women who are expecting another baby and would like to debrief their first labour.
If anxiety is also making you feel isolated and vulnerable, seeking out some help and talking it through can make a huge difference.