5 Ways To Ease Anxiety During Pregnancy
I have to admit, as I wait for that 20-week ultrasound that will tell me everything will be okay, I am filled with anxiety. What if something goes wrong? What will we do?
More than wondering if we should find out the sex of our baby, I am filled with the anxiety of getting through the ultrasound and knowing that the little one inside of me is healthy.
We tend to forget that the 20-week ultrasound is actually a medical procedure to test if the baby is developing properly, not just a fun preview that gives us some pictures to show Grandma. It's the halfway point of pregnancy and for many women, like me, it can be hard to battle the feelings of “what ifs” and anxiety that comes before we know if everything is ok.
In reality, my husband and I have actually both been struggling a bit with anxiety during this pregnancy. With three healthy and beautiful children in our family already, we feel like we are tempting fate by bringing a fourth into the world. And because, of course, I know that's not a fair thought to have, I've been working on some ways to ease anxiety during pregnancy.
Focus on the positives.
When I start to feel overwhelmed, I remind myself of all the good in my life and focus on the happy, healthy families that we are a part of. My husband and I both come from families of four children; there is no limit that we can place on ourselves for happiness.
This could be traditional meditation, or a similar spiritual practice that is meaningful to you; some people find things like hiking or journaling or even photography to be like a form of mediation. I personally like to use prayer a lot. The point is, find something that helps you clear your mind and center your thoughts to calm you down and banish that anxiety. (For the time being, at least. I'm not saying it's easy!)
As parents or parents-to-be, we have to admit that one of our fears is facing a child who may have Down syndrome or other special needs, right? I mean, I'm guessing they wouldn't even offer all those genetic tests at the doctor's office if this wasn't the case. But one thing that has helped me in the last few weeks is some beautiful messages about Down syndrome and special needs, like this uplifting video or this moving piece by a Good Morning America reporter, new mom to a child with Down syndrome.
The single most important thing you can do to help ensure the health of your baby is to stay healthy yourself. That means no smoking or drinking, regular prenatal visits, daily vitamins, eating right, exercising, and keeping up with the latest health news and developments for pregnancy. (Tylenol, I'm looking at you.)
Realize that some things are out of your control.
Honestly, one of the worst things you can do for your anxiety during pregnancy is start focusing on the million and a half things that you need to do in order to have a healthy baby. There are so many studies and stories on what can go wrong, and the fact of the matter is this: some things are simply out of our control. I have seen mothers do everything right and still have something go wrong, and I have seen mothers with more drugs in their system than we could count have perfectly healthy babies. Focus on staying healthy, but don't drive yourself crazy with “what ifs” or blaming yourself for anything. We all try our best and that's all we can do.
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