Pregnancy is a special time for a woman, filled with joy and excitement – most of the time.

As much as we would like to tell you that pregnancy is always sunshine and flowers – decorating the nursery, choosing baby names, celebrating with loved ones, and pigging out on your favourite junk foods – that isn’t always the case.

Of course these happy moments are plentiful, but pregnancy does have its difficult moments as well.

One of the most common obstacles that many pregnant women face is anxiety. In fact, more than 1 in 10 pregnant women experience anxiety at some point during their pregnancy. 

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise. There are, after all, many factors at play during and following a pregnancy that can make any mother-to-be anxious – and understandably so. 

Navigating anxiety while pregnant is not always easy, but we’ve put together a little guide to help you along the way.

What Causes Anxiety During Pregnancy?

The first step to navigating your pregnancy-related anxiety is to understand where your anxiety stems from. After all, there are a number of reasons why you may be having these anxious feelings – and you can’t exactly solve a problem without knowing what the problem is, right?

Most often, anxiety during pregnancy is caused by: fear of the unknown, feelings of unpreparedness, fear of change, and lack of confidence in oneself. 

It makes sense to have these feelings – but don’t let them take over.

Recognizing Your Anxiety

Of course it’s normal and natural to have some worries throughout your pregnancy. It’s only when this worry becomes overwhelming and constant, and begins to interrupt your day-to-day life.

Some signs that may indicate that you are struggling with anxiety include: 

  • Excessive worrying – especially about minor or unlikely things
  • Feeling irritable, easily annoyed, or angry without just cause
  • Having troubles sleeping
  • Constantly thinking that something is wrong, or will go wrong
  • Suffering from overly frequent headaches or stomach aches
  • Feeling abnormally tense

If you are experiencing any of these, you may be suffering from anxiety. Luckily, there are a number of ways in which you can manage this anxiety – either on your own or with the help of a professional.

Coping With Your Anxiety

Here are some of the best things you can do to ease your anxiety during your pregnancy.

  • Talk to Someone

You do not need to suffer in silence – not when you have a network of friends and family who are there to support you. Often, talking with someone about your fears and worries can be enough to help keep them at bay.

  • Get Active

Physical activity – even something as simple as a brisk, 10-minute walk – can work wonders against anxiety. This is because of the chemicals that are released into our brains when we exercise.

  • Relax

Take time for yourself. Get a massage, read a book, or simply take a moment to breath. Hitting the slow-down button for a moment is a great way to calm your nerves and reset your mind. 

  • Consider Therapy or Counselling

If you feel your anxiety is still problematic – don’t hesitate to seek help from a professional. For example, cognitive behavioural therapy can be beneficial both during and after pregnancy

If you are pregnant and struggling right now, whether as a result of anxiety or any other illness or situation, know that there are always resources available to help you. Feel free to call either your local pregnancy hotline, mental health helpline, or even just reach out to a friend or loved one. 

You are not alone.

About the author

Dr. Bola

Dr. Bola

Family physician. Works for the "man" by day, wife & mom 24/7.
Loves the work of translating "medicalese" to plain english.

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