A woman’s stress and anxiety levels can elevate during pregnancy due to several reasons. According to Christine Schetter, PhD, and Lynlee Tanner, PhD, “anxiety, depression, and stress in pregnancy are risk factors for adverse outcomes for mothers and children. Anxiety in pregnancy is associated with shorter gestation and has adverse implications for fetal neurodevelopment and child outcomes.” A study produced by Kate Walsh, PsyD et al., also stated that “maternal prenatal stress influences offspring neurodevelopment and birth outcomes including the ratio of males to females born; however, there is limited understanding of what types of stress matter, and for whom.”However, it only becomes an issue if such anxiety episodes or panic attacks take place regularly and in odd places or situations. This condition is now known as the Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
This disorder can affect the mental health of a pregnant mother and the baby’s body and brain development, as well.
Can The Mother’s Anxiety Disorder Affect The Baby In The Womb?
Though anxiety is quite common to pregnant women, it has a significant effect on how the baby develops and grows, if the mother is experiencing it on a regular basis. A study produced by Kate Walsh, PsyD et al., also stated that “maternal prenatal stress influences offspring neurodevelopment and birth outcomes including the ratio of males to females born; however, there is limited understanding of what types of stress matter, and for whom.”
How To Detect If A Pregnant Woman Has Anxiety
Anxiety, in some mothers, develops slowly until such time that she’ll feel something is uncomfortable and wrong. If you’re pregnant, and you feel anxious all the time, there are ways to know for sure. The red flags on Anxiety Disorder are listed below:
- Unusually and uncontrollably anxious
- Being worried about specific activities and events
- Loses focus and spaces off
- Irritable Mood
- Sleeping problems
- Tense and strained even without a valid reason
The panic attacks have similar symptoms. It occurs suddenly, and the worst attack scenario takes at most 10 minutes before the person stops shaking if she doesn’t pass out from the tremors.
- Difficulty in breathing
- The thought that you’re going insane
- Being paranoid
These signs can push you into thinking that you are having a heart attack or any other fatal disease.
Anxiety: Is It Common In Pregnant Women?
It is very common. Statistics reveal that one in every ten women in the country experiences this challenging condition.
The Risks Of Developing Anxiety Disorder
Anyone can experience anxiety, but is a list wherein people have higher chances of developing it:
- Hereditary factors
- Anxiety attacks in the past
- Traumatic experiences
- Using illegal drugs
- With depression
- Under severe stress
What To Do With Your Anxiety When Pregnant
If you have signs or symptoms of anxiety, then, you should call your doctor immediately. Here is your checklist:
- If you are anxious for about two weeks or even more
- If you have quickened heartbeat coupled with excessive sweating, difficulty in breathing, dizzy spells and for some, even diarrhea
- If you are experiencing uncontrollable unpleasant thoughts
- If you keep doing chores obsessively
- If you are terrified of giving birth
Consulting with your attending physician will help in deriving the correct health care treatment for your condition. Having this mental health issue is not your fault, and the medical professionals will not judge you. They will even understand that many pregnant women are prone to anxiety issues.
The bottom line is that you need to get help as soon as possible. The psychiatrist will ask you many questions, and you need to answer all those honestly to draw the right recommendations.
Treatment For Anxiety
Treatment for the disorder will depend on the severity of the condition but usually, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is administered. If you have mild anxiety, then, full-on treatment is not necessary. But then, your doctors will discuss with you on how to efficiently cope with it.
- For those who have bee
n actively taking medication before their pregnancy, it is best that you inform your doctor of the prescription as soon as you realize that you’re pregnant.
In addition, Stefan G. Hoffman, PhD, et al., suggested that “reappraisal strategies are more effective than suppression strategies for regulating emotions. Recently, proponents of the acceptance-based behavior therapy movement have further emphasized the importance of acceptance-based emotion regulation techniques.”
Self-Help: How To Cope With Anxiety
- Be open to how you feel.
- Don’t be embarrassed about your situation.
- Provide self-comfort.
- Learn about relaxation routines and meditation techniques, if you can do it.