Pregnancy

What should I do if I have depression or anxiety in pregnancy?

We know that it is almost expected to feel restless or anxious during pregnancy. But for some women, this rare feeling of unease can increase and may turn into a disorder, or worse, exasperate a psychological health issue which already exists.

According to health care professionals, if your anxiety level is distressing your life and it seems to be more than the normal worries about pregnancy, you may have antenatal anxiety. It is a form of the condition which is experienced during pregnancy.

The study puts antenatal anxiety above depression, with frequency ranging from 13 to 21% of pregnant women experiencing severe anxiety during pregnancy.

Actually, according to research, severe anxiety is 3 to 4 times more common than depression during pregnancy and early motherhood. It suggests that anxiety disorders in new mothers are outpacing depression. Yet health care professionals have given more attention to postnatal depression.

Symptoms of antenatal anxiety

The severity of antenatal anxiety symptoms is practiced differently for each individual. According to the PANDAS Foundation, some of the common symptoms are as follows;

  • Constant worrying and panicky condition
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficult sitting still or relaxing, always on the go
  • Irritable or snappy behavior
  • sleeping poorly and racing thoughts
  • imaging “worst case scenario” like feeling that something bad will happen
  • Tense, stressed, “on edge,” unsettled
  • Muscle tension, rapid pulse, tight chest, nausea, sweating, loss of appetite

Treating anxiety during pregnancy

According to research, 33% of women experience depression or anxiety disorder during their pregnancy. Regardless of this surprising statistic, less than 20% of them actually seek treatment.

If your anxiety begins distressing your mental and physical health, affecting work and general quality of life, then it might be time to seek help from your doctor.

Researchers report that clinically noteworthy anxiety in pregnant women can be addressed by several modalities. The degree of its severity in part governs the initial approach of treatment. You can consider the following progression for treating anxiety disorders during pregnancy;

• A woman with minor symptoms of anxiety can try exercise, massage, prioritizing self-care, healthy diet, acupuncture, and psychotherapy.
• For more moderate symptoms, psychotherapy is the first line treatment. The presence of these symptoms is the beginning to have a more negative influence on a woman’s daily life.
• Psychotherapy plus medication is the suggested methodology for a woman with more severe symptoms.

How to manage anxiety

Along with any treatment plan which involves therapy or medication, there are some self-care tips which you can use for the alleviation of some of the symptoms. These tips are as follows;

Practice acceptance

Therapists’ advice making a list of things which women can control about their pregnancy that may be causing your anxiety. Like you can do eating balanced meals, getting adequate sleep, etc. You can also do exercise and void caffeine. Furthermore, avoid smoking and alcohol which can harm you and your baby. Try to learn simple relaxation techniques and practice them regularly.

Now try to make another list of things that you can’t control like when you deliver, the amount of weight you’ll gain, complications for the baby, etc. so make sure to focus your energy on the things you do have control over.

Optimize and prioritize sleep

Generally, people feel bad or are unable to properly address worries when tired. A good night-time routine and adequate sleep allows for a clear head and reduced anxiety.

Take time for yourself

There is a positive impact of doing things which you enjoy like meditating, exercising and going outside on a daily basis. Moreover, make sure to have at least one isolated time during the day to focus on your contentment and happiness.

Find your community

Women usually feel isolated while experiencing anxiety or other mood signs during and after pregnancy. But they must talk to people they trust instead of keeping it all in.

Whether its friends, family members, or other pregnant women, let others know how you are feeling. Therefore, you don’t have to deal with anxiety alone. Find any group with other women who are due around the same time as you and meet up for social gatherings.

Furthermore, talking to women who are in the same place as you can support to release fears about your pregnancy. Self-help groups, like PANDAS Support Group, can offer good advice. They may support on how to cope with nervousness as well as comfort to see that other mothers are feeling just like you.

Feed your body regularly scheduled, healthy meals

According to health care professionals, hypoglycemia or low blood sugar can lead to feelings which mimic panic. In pregnancy, this is compounded because hypoglycemia can also lead to increased nausea.

But eating high protein meals throughout the day can reduce the sense of panic which comes with extreme hunger. It can also minimize nausea.

Try an alternative approach

Consider acupuncture for disquiet with a physician experienced in working with pregnant women. For relaxation, prenatal massage can also be useful. As can daily, directed mindfulness meditation practices.

Mindfulness-based practices have become common in the management and treatment of anxiety disorders. It can help to heal in both the physical and emotional/psychological realms.

Actually, mindfulness is about keeping moment-by-moment awareness of your feelings, emotions, thoughts, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment. Practicing mindfulness can help you feel quieter and more connected to your body during pregnancy.

Avoid Dr. Google

Yes, it can feel pleasing to google an answer, but, the internet is not regulated. Moreover, much of the information available here is from biased sources or is incorrect.

A situation of every woman is unique and you cannot trust other people’s accounts online for your questions. You can ask your doctor for reliable sites if you want to look things up rather than doing so without guidance.

Seek professional help

You might want to go for some professional help if you are not involved in any treatment plan for anxiety. Like, if you are feeling anxious than happy and your life is being uttered at least partly by your worries.

Furthermore, it is good to have handy the contact information of persons you can call while you are feeling your worst. You can include a trusted family member, friend, doctor, and a helpline in this list.

You are not alone

One of the most important things to remember is that you are not alone and unaided. There are harmless and operative ways for the treatment of antenatal anxiety. Moreover, the faster you get help, the sooner you will enjoy your pregnancy.

Sophie Abram

Sophie Abram is an author at Top Health Journal. She has a master’s degree in Biochemistry. Evidence-based nutrition is her passion and she loves to devote her career to informing the general public about it. She has extensive experience as a researcher and her research focus is within food reformulation, improving food supply and food environments. Her research examines how nutrition, dietary supplements, and exercise affects human body composition. Twitter- @abram_sophie

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