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7 Effective Ways to Deal with Anxiety during Pregnancy

Pregnant women sometimes have a wide range of things to worry about – their baby’s health, the physical and emotional symptoms they’re dealing with, impending birth, and how to care for their baby when it is born. According to research, about 33% of women experience anxiety during pregnancy. It is therefore necessary to find ways to deal with those feelings of anxiety.


A good option for you may be to engage in activities that contribute to reducing your stress and feelings of anxiety. Physical activities such as swimming, walking, running or yoga helps the body release endorphins, which act as natural painkillers in your brain.

Even if you are not interested in jogging or yoga poses, doing anything that gets you moving can help. There have been positive benefits recorded from aerobic activity for as short as five minutes. People who get regular exercise are less likely to develop anxiety, and this is also the same for pregnant women.

However, before starting a new exercise routine in pregnancy, it is always important to talk with your doctor first.

Sleep more

It is essential to ensure you are getting enough sleep. Pregnancy can lead to serious sleep disturbances even in women who normally have no trouble falling asleep. As a result of stress, nausea and changing hormone levels, getting enough rest can be almost impossible during pregnancy.

Even if sleeping during pregnancy can be quite difficult, prioritising it can go far in improving your anxiety symptoms. Whenever you can, take a nap, and go to bed early. Your body is working hard to nourish your baby so it needs all the rest it can get. In order to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep, try some of the following tips:

  • Sleep on your left side to increase blood flow and comfort.
  • Reduce intake of fluids up to two hours before bed.
  • Avoid foods that cause heartburn such as spicy, fried or acidic foods.

Get support from specialists

If you are pregnant and experiencing anxiety, talk to your nurse or ob-gyn. Even though mild cases of anxiety can usually be expected to go away without treatment, it is still a good idea to talk your feelings over with a doctor.

In more serious cases, your doctor may prescribe medication after taking both risks and benefits into account. They would either treat you directly, or help you meet with a suitable mental health care provider.

Therapy sessions with a counsellor, psychiatrist or psychologist is generally the best way to get to the root of the cause of anxiety in pregnancy. Such professionals can also teach appropriate relaxation techniques or help to put together an effective plan that will go a long way to ease all worries.

Try relaxing with breathing techniques

Your body’s natural relaxation response kicks in when you engage in deep breathing exercises. By taking measured, controlled breaths, you can slow your heart rate, relieve tension in your muscles and promote better sleep. In addition, deep breathing is the easiest and most accessible relaxation technique for pregnant women since it can be done anywhere and at any time.

If you are just starting, practice deep breathing at home when you can sit or lie down comfortably and without interruptions. Choose a comfortable couch or floor cushion to sit on or lie down on your left side. Then, breathe through your nose, taking notice of your gently expanding abdomen. Hold the breath in for a few counts and exhale through your mouth. As you release the air, your abdomen will deflate a little. Go ahead to repeat as often as you need.

Non-medicinal treatments

Several treatments exist which do not involve medication and can be considered safe for a growing baby, and effective in dealing with mild to moderate anxiety in pregnant women. Some of such treatments include:

  • Light therapy – pregnant women are exposed to artificial sunlight at set periods to help alleviate depression symptoms.
  • Psychotherapy – a skilled therapist uses CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) to assist pregnant women manage their emotions and thought processes.
  • Acupuncture – tiny needles are placed into areas of the body thought to influence mood.
  • Omega-3 essential fatty acids – found in foods like oily fish and walnuts, and has natural mood-boosting properties.

Learn about It

Sometimes, especially in cases of a first pregnancy, ignorance about the process and what you are experiencing might be the cause of anxiety. Combat fear of the unknown and the worry that comes with it by educating yourself about pregnancy.

Talking with your doctors and healthcare providers can help you feel prepared to handle the next few months, and address the several worries you are experiencing in order to reduce your anxiety.

However, while some women may feel empowered by getting enlightened about pregnancy, others might get even more anxious. If anything you read causes you concern, speak to your doctor, and avoid any anxiety-inducing literature.

Start to think positively

Many expectant mothers fall into the trap of thinking negatively and running worse-case scenarios over in their minds. All these only serve to heighten anxiety.

Pregnancy is a life-changing event, therefore it is normal to feel uneasy or scared sometimes. However, if you find yourself thinking negatively or consistently having anxious thoughts, it is good to talk to your partner, a close friend or family member who can help you understand and overcome those fears.

You can also handle those thoughts by yourself, by stopping them even before they are fully formed and consciously replacing them with positive thoughts out loud. Also, remind yourself that the most of the fears and pregnancy complications you are worrying about won’t actually happen.

As common as anxiety in pregnancy is, you should not let it become so serious that it affects your daily life. Always remember that you are not alone. Try to unwind and sleep more and think positive thoughts when dealing with anxiety. However, if there are feelings you cannot shake, talking to your doctor can ensure that you enjoy the rest of your pregnancy the best way possible.

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