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Dealing with pregnancy anxiety wasn’t something I expected when I was pregnant with my premature baby.
The first trimester was a bit rocky, but when I was told I had a high risk of developing pre-eclampsia, my mind went into full anxiety mode. And it was one of the most difficult things to master!
If you’ve been reading my blog, you probably know that I did develop early-onset pre-eclampsia at 20 weeks. However, I managed to stay stable for 3 months before my premature son was born at 31+6 weeks.
In fact, anxiety doesn’t show its face only in high-risk pregnancies. A study published in the Scientific World Journal found that 70% of the 165 pregnant women they studied were either anxious or depressed.
If you’re curious, you can read the paper here, but the fact of the matter is that if you’re feeling perinatal anxiety…
You. Are. Not. Alone!
How to Recognize Pregnancy Anxiety
Something I learned about anxiety is that it’s not completely black or white.
There are a lot of gray areas, and your prenatal anxiety may be milder, or more severe.
However, as a rule of thumb, if you’re wondering if you might have pregnancy anxiety, look out for the following symptoms:
- Not being able to concentrate on single tasks. Your mind may be racing non-stop, so you won’t be able to focus on tasks that were a no-brainer before, such as reading a book.
- Being on edge all the time. When I was going through pregnancy anxiety I was so irritable that I was triggered when someone breathed loudly near me.
- Having the feeling that something bad will happen, all the time. My mind used to drift uncontrollably to the worst-case scenarios, especially those to do with my husband, my baby’s or my health.
- Feeling extremely panicky. Since I was in the “worst-case scenario” mode, fear flooded me frequently about our future.
- Some physical symptoms such as rapid pulse, sweating, feeling a tight chest, or appetite disorders.
- Constant and uncontrollable worrying, especially about your baby or your health.
- Insonmia, or difficult falling asleep and sleeping.
Coping with Pregnancy Anxiety
All in all, coping with pregnancy anxiety can be done.
The first step, as with these things, is to recognize that you may have some degree of perinatal anxiety. And keeping in mind that overcoming anxiety can be done!
Here are some tips that can help you cope with perinatal anxiety.
#1 Talk to Your Doctor
If you are experiencing pregnancy anxiety symptoms, reach out to your regular OB-GYN, she’ll probably have some useful advice for yours and your baby’s health.
My doctor understood about anxiety, and it helped a great deal to calm my fears and laugh about silly things, like how husbands fainted in the OR.
My husband actually opted not to be in my C-Section, since he was afraid he would faint, and I was positive he would.
#2 Prepare for Your Baby
Some pregnancy anxiety, especially for first-time moms, also comes from the place of not knowing what new motherhood feels like.
Preparing for your first few days with your baby can actually give you a wonderful task to focus on, and alleviate your fears of new motherhood.
In my case, since I was in bed rest, a simple trip to get all the cute baby stuff at the store had me almost fainted and completely drained.
So I stayed away from excursions and started creating an Amazon Baby Registry.
You can create your own Amazon Baby Registry by clicking here.
If you’re wondering about the essential stuff you need for your baby, you can check out this article with the absolutely essential baby items moms need.
#3 Keep a Pregnancy Journal
Writing has been my outlet ever since I was a child, so it was no surprise that it became one of my greatest anxiety-repellant activities.
I started writing every day during my pregnancy, about what I was most grateful for, or anything that came to mind.
It helped me understand better where my fears came from and find a way to portray optimism.
I still have my pregnancy journal, and read it when I’m feeling particularly nostalgic.
#4 Talk About Your Fears
Gather your support tribe together, it could be your husband, your mom, your friend, or a Facebook group.
And talk about your fears and achievements with them.
I had my parents and my husband, who supported me every step of the way by just listening to me rambling on and on about how lost I felt.
In one of those conversations, I told my dad about how I loved coloring books as a child. He came the very next day with new colors and coloring books, as an anxiety outlet.
It worked, and it was the sweetest gesture!
#5 Practice Meditation
I’ve talked before about the benefits of meditation, and you don’t need to be anxious to enjoy them.
Find some time between 5 to 30 minutes in your day to sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and literally go to your happy place in your mind.
Imagine the sound of the ocean, and visualize the muscle tension leaving your body via holes in your feet.
Your brain will get more oxygen, providing relief and stabilization to your nervous system, your blood pressure, and your heart rate!
Exercising releases endorphins, which interact with your brain to relieve pain.
This has been proven to be an effective mechanism to reduce stress and anxiety!
You can exercise for only 5 minutes a day and reap the benefits!
You can try yoga, jogging, or find an exercise you like!
Make sure that whatever you choose to do is approved by your doctor, since not all pregnancies are the same and not all exercises are pregnancy-friendly.
The only doctor-approved exercise I could try during my pregnancy was yoga. I’ve never been very good at yoga, but I tried it anyway to amazing (and hilarious) results!
#7 Eat Smart
Eat healthy, but don’t obsess with it.
Find a “healthy comfort food” that you can always go to whenever you want to give yourself a pat in the back.
Just make sure your doctor is onboard and you don’t overdo it!
For me, it was avocado.
I ate so much avocado when I was pregnant that I was worried the supermarkets were going to run out!
If you’re worried about your pregnancy nutrition, here’s a list of the pregnancy foods you need to avoid.
#8 Seek Help
Don’t take your mental health for granted, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask for professional help.
Don’t be afraid to ask for therapy if you need it. Find a doctor who understands what you’re going through, and book a session.
The Happy Pregnancy Challenge
My pregnancy was difficult, but I did find joy in the small things.
I created the happy pregnancy challenge for expecting moms who are feeling lost of anxious and like I was, are finding difficult to enjoy the everyday pregnancy life.
Sign up for the happy pregnancy challenge below! It’s a 5-day free course with free resources that I made especially for your pregnancy happiness!
It’s a Wrap
Also, antenatal anxiety is fairly common, especially for new moms who haven’t experienced it before and don’t know what to expect!
Cope with your anxiety by finding help, talking about it, getting ready for baby, exercising, meditating, eating smartly, and finding an outlet (such as writing or coloring pages).
Every day when you wake up, take one step at a time, and thus, little by little, this too shall pass.
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