Getting pregnant can be one of the most beautiful phases of your life. The feeling of having a baby can be joyful and overwhelming at the same time. While being pregnant can bring a lot of happiness into your life but it can also become a reason for your anxiety. Feeling a little anxious during pregnancy is normal but, in some cases, anxiety can lead to serious problems.
Have you or your partner ever wondered if it is normal to feel anxious during pregnancy? Then, you’re just at the right place! In this article, we’ll help you understand the general symptoms of anxiety and how you can figure out if you’re going through it. We’ll also discuss some medical treatments that help treat anxiety and promote positive mental health.
So, let’s get started!
Anxiety during pregnancy is also called antenatal anxiety. Either or both parents can get affected by antenatal anxiety. It becomes essential to have a good idea about the signs of antenatal anxiety for a healthy and safe pregnancy.
Basically, anxiety is a lot more than feeling worried while facing a certain situation. It generally occurs when feelings of extreme stress or worry are experienced for no particular reason, happen frequently and go out of your control. Untreated anxiety can negatively impact both your mental as well as physical health.
Anxiety is a very common mental health issue experienced during pregnancy. Most people treat antenatal anxiety as a normal part of pregnancy and don’t seek medical treatments. But it is important to note that severe anxiety symptoms can badly affect your health and should not be ignored.
Some general symptoms of antenatal anxiety are as follows:
- Generalised Anxiety: A person might feel anxious on most days.
- Panic Disorder: A person experiences panic attacks that can occur frequently. These include attacks of overwhelming anxiety that may lead to physical symptoms like shortness of breath, dizziness or chest pain.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A person goes through an intense need to perform certain behaviours or rituals.
- Agoraphobia: In this condition, a person might have an intense fear of going into open or public spaces.
- Social Phobia: Refers to feeling worried about being humiliated or criticised in public.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): In this case, a person’s anxiety is connected to a past traumatic event or situation. The symptoms may include having bad dreams, feeling restless and finding it difficult to relax.
In case you’ve had anxiety in the past, it is more likely for you to develop an anxiety disorder during your pregnancy as well. If you already have an anxiety disorder, it is important to seek early treatment while pregnant. This ensures that you and your baby receive the right medical attention before things get worse.
Difference Between Antenatal Anxiety and Antenatal Depression
Many people, diagnosed with antenatal anxiety, might also have antenatal depression. But what are the key differences that separate these two conditions? In the case of antenatal depression, you may experience certain unique symptoms such as:
- Experiencing low mood and lacking the positivity to do anything
- Feeling hopeless and demotivated most of the time
- Lacking concentration and finding it very difficult to focus on anything
- Having difficulty sleeping and not being able to eat properly
- Losing interest in activities that you previously loved
Antenatal Anxiety: Signs to Look Out For
Not sure if you have antenatal anxiety while pregnant?
Look for these signs:
- Feeling worried, on edge or stressed most of the time
- Having panic attacks
- Being afraid of something that causes overthinking
- Having trouble sleeping because of your thoughts or feelings
- Tense muscles while performing daily tasks
These symptoms may develop over time or come suddenly without warning. If left untreated, they can even get worse.
Antenatal Anxiety: Diagnosis
If you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms, make sure to consult your Specialist or GP general practitioner. They may suggest you have a conversation about how you feel, speak to your partner, or even fill in a questionnaire for their better understanding. Additionally, they might also ask you to appear for a physical examination.
Try to answer all the questions asked with complete honesty as this makes it easier for your doctor to start the right treatment based on your feedback. Just know that postnatal anxiety or depression is quite common and there’s no need for you to feel hesitant or ashamed while talking about it.
Antenatal Anxiety: Treatments
In case your anxiety is mild, seeking help from your doctor or child health care nurse should be enough.
More severe anxiety may need extensive treatments such as psychological therapies or in some cases, medicines as well. Your doctor will make sure to have a discussion on how these medicines may affect your baby.
Seeking medical help just after you notice the initial symptoms of antenatal anxiety is important because it may affect your ability to enjoy the whole phase of pregnancy. It can also impact your preparation for parenthood. Early diagnosis and treatment of antenatal anxiety is the key to avoiding any complications in the future. In fact, there are treatments and therapies available to effectively treat depression and anxiety at the same time while you are pregnant.
Seek the Right Advice and Support
As we mentioned, having anxiety, or going through depression is very common during pregnancy and you should always be non-hesitant while talking about it. The best treatments start when you start expressing how you feel without having the fear of being judged or humiliated.
To start with, the first person you should talk to can be your partner, as moral support and understanding are enough to create a safe environment for you to talk about it. After you are comfortable enough, you should always prefer to consult your doctor about it as professional help might be required to ensure your and your baby’s wellbeing. When suggested, you can have a conversation with the counsellor and go through professional therapies based on their recommendations.
The right treatment might help you deal with your anxiety in a more efficient and proper way without feeling too overwhelmed or distressed about it.
Antenatal anxiety might lead to several negative thoughts and stress. You may feel too worried about your baby’s well-being or healthy development. In that case, you would need constant reassurance about your baby’s good health. There are a lot of such distress conditions you may go through due to antenatal anxiety but seeking early medical assistance can help solve all your anxiety issues.
Further, in case you feel hesitant to talk to your doctor directly, it is always recommended that you discuss these issues with your partner. Talking about it is the first and the most effective step while treating antenatal anxiety before you opt for further medical treatments.
We hope this article provided valuable information and highlighted all the factors related to the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of antenatal anxiety. In case of any doubts or queries, always talk to your doctor for their professional opinion. Wishing you and your partner, a healthy & safe pregnancy!