Mental health issues while bearing a child can elevate due to several reasons. According to Christine Schetter, PhD, and Lynlee Tanner, PhD, “stress in pregnancy is a risk factor for adverse outcomes for mothers and children. [These are] associated with shorter gestation and has adverse implications for fetal neurodevelopment and child outcomes.” Expecting parents should make sure that the mother’s mental health is well aken care of to ensure that there is no negative effect on the baby.
Understanding Maternal Or Prenatal Stress
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 Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
This disorder can affect the mental health of an expecting mother and the baby’s body and brain development, as well.
Effects of Anxiety During Pregnancy
Anxiety during maternity has a significant effect on how the baby develops and grows, if the mother is feeling anxious 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.”
Experiencing anxiety during pregnancy can lessen the appetite of the pregnant woman which can lead to the baby not getting enough nutrition. Anxiety during pregnancy can also cause extreme fatigue to our preggy moms.
Detecting Anxiety During Pregnancy
Anxiety in pregnancy develops slowly. If you have anxiety during pregnancy, 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
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 breathing
- Thinking 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.
The Commonality of Anxiety During Pregnancy
Anxiety is very common amongst pregnant women. Statistics reveal that one in every ten women in the country experiences this challenging condition.
Developing Anxiety During Pregnancy
Anyone can experience anxiety in their pregnancy, but some risk factors make some people more vulnerable:
- Hereditary factors
- Anxiety attacks in the past
- Traumatic experiences
- Using illegal drugs
- With depression
- Under severe stress
Dealing With Anxiety During Pregnancy
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 anxiety. Having this mental health issue is not your fault, and medical professionals will not judge you. They understand that many pregnant women are prone to anxiety.
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.
Treating Anxiety During Pregnancy
Treatment for your anxiety 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 how to efficiently cope with your anxiety during your pregnancy.
If you were actively taking medication before your 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., suggests 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.”
Coping With Anxiety During Pregnancy
- Be open about your anxiety during pregnancy.
- Don’t be embarrassed about your anxiety during pregnancy.
- Seek comfort when feeling anxious.
- Learn about pregnancy relaxation techniques.
- Avoid negative thoughts involving pregnancy.
Being pregnant is definitely not a walk in a park. There are many challenges, anxiety-driving experiences, and more surprises that a woman can imagine. It’s very important to pay attention to your mental health, not only the physical health of the baby. Anxiety throughout pregnancy could be a dangerous threat to the healthy development of the baby. Hence, mom’s mental health matters very much. Hence, there’s no shame in getting help. It’s better to seek professional help than it’s too late.