Anxiety is a normal part of pregnancy. Every pregnancy is different, so even if this isn't your first pregnancy, you could still be entering uncharted territory. Couple that with frequent doctor's appointments, baby books dedicated to every little thing that can go wrong, horror stories about labor from friends and family members, and it's a recipe for worry and anxiety.
It's natural to experience this anxiety and worry about the months ahead and the health of your baby. A way to start dealing with your anxiety is to talk to your loved ones. Some mothers find that sharing their worries with their partner is a great way to diffuse some of the stress and relieve some of their anxiety. If you aren't comfortable sharing these concerns with your partner, think about which members of your social network you are comfortable sharing with. Friends, family members, your pastor, even your doctor can be a great source of emotional support.
There are several important steps that you can take to help you deal with any anxiety you may be experiencing.
- Relaxation Techniques – Yoga, deep breathing, meditation – these are all great ways to ground yourself when your emotions are running high. Taking a break from the rigors of your daily schedule, if even for a moment, can help to reduce your levels of anxiety.
- Forget Perfection – Cut yourself some slack. As your pregnancy progresses, it's important to make time for yourself and stop beating yourself up if you haven't had time to do everything you wanted to do. Remember, it's okay to ask family members and friends for help!
- Get plenty of rest! – Your body is going through so many changes right now which require a lot of energy and a lot of rest. Getting enough rest will help your body recuperate and help you feel better during the hours you are awake.
- Ask questions! – Remember, there is no such thing as a silly question. If something is bothering you or if there is something you aren't sure about, asking an expert like a doctor or an experienced mother may be all you need to quell your fears.
- Put the baby books down! – It's one thing to find the answer to a question that's been bugging you; it's quite another to read every baby book cover-to-cover and every pediatric medical journal you can find. It's good to be informed, but it is also important to relax and enjoy this time by focusing on your personal experience. Focus on what's happening to you now and not what might and probably won't go wrong!
- Join a support group! – There are numerous online support groups. You might also want to start meeting with other mothers from any pregnancy classes you are attending (i.e. Lamaze) for tea. Even spending one quite afternoon with other expectant mothers can be a great source of stress relief.
- Listen to your body – If your anxiety level is higher than you can effectively manage on your own, remember that there is nothing wrong with reaching out to a professional therapist for help. Therapists will have specialized training to help you deal with any anxiety you may be struggling with. Though it may feel like it at times, dealing with anxiety during pregnancy is not impossible. There is always help available to you.