Anxiety and Pregnancy
Anxiety and Pregnancy are a mix best avoided both for your own health and for the health of your baby. Ironically however, many pregnant women spend weeks suffering from bouts of anxiety worrying about how pregnancy is affected by it!
Whilst it is not a good idea to let yourself get too stressed out during pregnancy, for many it is part and parcel of every day life. Anxiety can be brought on by work and home committments or by the sheer fact that you are growing a new baby within and that you are entirely responsible for this new life.
Tips for Coping with Anxiety during Pregnancy
Anxiety in pregnancy can be overcome by taking time out to let yourself come to terms with your condition. Try to ensure you get as much rest as possible and spend some time relaxing and bonding with your growing baby. If you are under particular pressure at home or at work tell those surrounding you how you are feeling and explain that stress and anxiety in pregnancy is good for neither you or your baby.
Studies have shown that excessive anxiety during pregnancy can lead in some cases to premature labour and a low birth-weight baby.
When you feel anxious about things that you feel you have little or no control over, try to make time to get away from the situations that are bothering you. This may mean simply getting up and stretching your legs at work during your breaks or going outside for a few deep breaths of fresh air. Better still, if you can get out for a brief walk. Avoid drinking caffeine rich drinks as these can make you even more anxious and also make it harder for you to get into a relaxed frame of mind.
When you are at home, try adding a few drops of lavender aromatherapy oil to a warm bath and then lie back and breathe in the soothing vapours. It can also be a good idea to carry a bottle of lavender oil around with you and to smell it when you feel anxiety bothering you again. (I actually found sniffing straight from the bottle helped relax me on the way to hospital when I was in labour with each of my three children!)
Another very effective way of controlling anxiety in pregnancy is hypnotherapy. Try to make an appointment with a specialist hypnotherapist asking around for personal recommendations first. Or you can download our very own very popular Pregnancy Relaxation mp3 which you can listen to anytime you begin to feel stressed and which costs a lot less than private sessions!
Another way to banish anxiety is to try to get some exercise as feel good endorphins are released by your body. Walking at a reasoable pace is great if you can manage it although swimming is often recogised as one of the best ways for pregnant women to relax as the water makes you more buoyant, taking the weight off you in more ways than one!
A pregnancy-tailored massage, either by a professional masseur or you partner can also offer some respite from anxiety as can a weekend break where you can escape the things that are causing worries in your day to day life.
If all else fails, your doctor can offer advice and perhaps put you in touch with a trained counsellor who will work alomngside you to get to the root of your problems and help you work through them.
Whilst there is no doubt that anxiety and pregnancy can cause both mental and physical health problems, stress and anxiety during pregnancy is often very manageable. You are carrying a baby and your hormones are fluxuating wildly, something you may never have experienced before. Listen to your body as it tells you that you need to slow down and focus on yourself and your baby. You will enjoy your pregnancy much more as a result and many of the symptoms of stress and anxiety will pass if you give yourself the time to wind down and relax.
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