You just missed your periods. You are in a panic mode. You can feel your heart racing. You hope, pray, and cross your fingers that it’s a fluke. That there is a biological mishap of sorts and that your periods will come. You can’t afford to be pregnant. Not at this time. You don’t have a job. Your life is a mess. That one night stand when you were tipsy and didn’t use protection has come back to haunt you.
A lot of things are running through your mind. What will your parents say? What about your friends? How could you be so stupid? The situation is further compounded by the fact that whoever is responsible is a distant memory. It was a chance meeting, a lapse of judgment, a one night stand you wish to forget. Unlike scores of other women that rejoice on getting pregnant, you are sad and worried sick.
You are not ready for motherhood. Although it’s very normal to be a little anxious, panic attacks and depression are not. It in essence puts your pregnancy at risk. Pregnancy and anxiety don’t mix. You need to have peace of mind and not worrying on end. Why is peace of mind important? Well, studies show that anxiety as well as depression during pregnancy drastically increases the risk of premature birth. Scary, right?
If you are constantly worrying, feeling uneasy, or harboring real or imagined fears, chances are that you are suffering from anxiety. Don’t be cheated. Anxiety is not in any way a form of weakness. Not at all. It’s a mental health condition which requires proper medical attention. It’s not something that you will just snap out of, wish away, or a condition you hope will go away on its own.
- Constant irritability
- Inability to concentrate
- Constantly being on edge
- Extreme worry (for example about the well-being of your baby)
- Insomnia or experiencing difficulties falling asleep
Is Anxiety Common In Pregnancy?
The sad news is that anxiety is quite common during pregnancy. In every 10 pregnant women, 1 is suffering from anxiety. Granted, pregnancy can be a bittersweet experience. At times, the symptoms alone can drive you over the edge and when that happens, it can be almost impossible to tell whether the feelings you are experiencing at any given time are normal or an indication of something incredibly serious.
You are your best judge. You can tell whether the feelings you are experiencing are normal or not. Trust your instincts and if you feel something is off, the best course of action is to seek for professional help.
I understand you have fears – some valid and some blown out of proportion. After all, conception and childbirth are indeed, without a doubt, major life events. You are slated to bring a whole new being into the world. It’s only normal to have concerns.
How Can You Alleviate Anxiety During Pregnancy?
Without a doubt, the most obvious solution is medication. Therapy sessions with a psychologist you trust will go a long way towards alleviating anxiety. Find a counsellor you feel comfortable with – someone you can share your fears with and not hold back on anything. Open up on what really stresses you about your pregnancy. That said, there are other ways in which you can manage anxiety during pregnancy.
- Adequate sleep
Believe it or not, inadequate sleep or lack of it thereof could exacerbate anxiety during pregnancy. It is highly advisable that you sleep for at least 7 or 8 hours a night. If you are having difficulties with sleep, consult your doctor for sleeping aids.
Exercise regularly. Staying active is essential in alleviating anxiety. According to research, individuals who exercise regularly are 25% less likely to develop anxiety during pregnancy. Do not rest on your laurels. You don’t need to engage in vigorous exercises. Just a 10 minute walk daily could go a long way towards helping you curb anxiety.
- Have a support system
Remember that you are not alone. A lot of people have been where you are and came out triumphant. Surround yourself with people who’ve had anxiety during pregnancy in the past and managed it. Spend time with other expectant women or parents who are grappling with the same condition as yours. A strong support system will help you cope and you will find your pregnancy period manageable.
- Eat a well-balanced diet
You are what you eat. Based on research, what you consume has a great impact on your mental health. Eat a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients. Avoid junk food, eat whole meals, fresh fruits, and unprocessed foods such as fish, vegetables and whole grains.
You are not alone. Anxiety is common during pregnancy. Whatever your fears, you are in charge of your destiny. Don’t focus on the negatives. You have an opportunity to bring forth life and you owe it to yourself to create a conducive environment for its development. Open up, talk about your fears, eat well, exercise, write down your thoughts if you feel like it but never give up on yourself. This is just a phase. It doesn’t matter the circumstances under which you conceived or the fears that you harbor. Endeavour to get help soonest possible and above all, keep your pregnancy safe!