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Managing Anxiety during Pregnancy
Pregnancy can be one of the most exhilarating, uplifting and amazing experiences of your life. It can also be one of the most terrifying! There are so many changes that occur in your hormones and psychological state. It can be a real roller-coaster of emotions, leading to all sorts of fears and anxieties. If you did not experience excessive amounts of anxiety before you became pregnant, it is highly likely that you will once you are. There is the whole change that is going on in your body, not to mention that you are now sustaining another tiny life within you. Added to this, the hopes and fears you have for the future of this new person you are bringing into the world.
For many women, pregnancy can bring a whole range of worries that they had not anticipated. The first thing to grasp is that this is normal, and in fact, it would be worrying if you didn’t feel some anxiety, especially if it is the first baby. Understanding the tremendous amount of change that is going on can help to allay your fears to some extent, or at least to realize that anxiety is a completely normal response.
Speaking to other moms-to-be can also help, so it might be good to join a local group or hook up with an online parenting group with a space for new mothers to talk to each other about their fears, hopes and expectations. Sharing with others who are going through similar things can make a huge difference to how you manage your anxiety.
There are techniques that anyone might use to manage their anxiety, such as eating a healthy diet, regular sleep and exercise, activities such as yoga or swimming, things that are not too high impact, but help to keep you fit and in shape, and to stimulate the body’s natural anti-anxiety mechanisms.
Other techniques that can help are meditation, massage, and listening to calming music. These are all effective for relaxation and calming down the arousal that comes with anxiety. It is important to take time for yourself when you are pregnant, as this can help you to feel more in control at a time when is quite common to feel a loss of control over your body as the baby is growing inside of you and causing the tremendous amount of change that you will experience during your pregnancy.
If all else fails, and you find the anxiety is getting out of control, speaking to a medical professional, therapist or other healthcare specialist who has expertise in the area of anxiety during pregnancy can help you to manage your anxiety.
Nina Bradshaw is a professionally qualified social worker and therapist in the UK, where she has thirteen years of experience in the mental health field. She is also in recovery from addiction which gives her a unique perspective on the area of mental health and substance misuse.