Pregnancy is a challenging period in a woman’s life. During pregnancy, the body goes through several physical and psychological changes. Hormonal, immunologic, and metabolic changes during pregnancy may cause anxiety attacks. Anxiety and stress are the observed psychological changes. Pregnancy-related anxiety refers to worry or distress regarding the health of the developing child, changes in physical appearance, labour and birth, and future parenting concerns. Worries are natural since the body gets subjected to a new situation. But if this type of worry is frequent in your daily routine, you may get anxiety.
What are the causes of anxiety?
- Anxiety disorders can be genetic or hereditary
- Any past history of anxiety attacks
- Experienced a traumatic event
- Stress in everyday life
Symptoms of anxiety during pregnancy include:
- worrying excessively about things, especially your health or baby
- inability to concentrate
- feeling irritable or agitated
- having tense muscles
Common fears that cause anxiety during pregnancy:
Fear of losing the baby
Some women worry that whether they would be able to carry the pregnancy. Anxiety level also increases if the expected mother had any earlier miscarriage, experienced fertility problems, or given birth to a pre-mature baby.
Fear of changing in the physical appearance
Pregnancy causes changes in physical appearance. Weight gain or losing pre-pregnancy figure worries them that they won’t look attractive anymore. These rapid body changes are very unsettling for many women.
Fear of giving birth
All pregnant women get a little anxious as their due date approaches. Women during childbirth are afraid of the labor pain and worry they won’t be able to handle it adequately.
How does anxiety affect the baby?
A mother’s health during pregnancy is intertwined with her baby’s health in the womb. Whatever nutrition she receives or whatever affects the baby’s health. Women with anxiety during pregnancy can link to complications such as the increased risk for preterm birth, low birth weight, and earlier gestational age. Some research suggests that children whose mothers have experienced anxiety disorders during pregnancy have an effect on mental health and reach developmental milestones slower. Untreated anxiety is a risk for both mother and baby.
Effect of social media among pregnant women:
Social media has woven the worldwide network to engage with the outside world. Some popular and influential sites are the most important tools for social contact in the modern world. Social media websites help women to interact with health professionals across the globe. Social media has become a platform where we can reach out to others going through the same things and share our experiences. For example, few pregnant women, can connect with each other, track each others’ progress, problems and provide support along the way. A pregnant woman can reach out to other expectant mothers who are to give birth around the same time as them. Engaging and active participation in online social interaction, by reading pregnancy-related posts, asking questions, or commenting on other women’s posts is beneficial. Many health apps have been designed to provide, health information and pregnancy-related support also.
Although higher use of digital media can have a potentially negative effect on psychological well-being. The UV ray or the harmful rays emitted from the screen can affect the mental and physical growth of the child. So it’s recommended for a pregnant woman not to expose too much to social media.
Tips to control anxiety:
To reduce anxiety, expectant mothers can try simple relaxation exercises and maintain a regular practice. Engaging in activities such as meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy and deep breathing exercises helps to lower anxiety. Endorphins released during these physical activities act like natural painkillers in the brain. Stroll in the park, breathe fresh air, and practice yoga. Deep abdominal breathing for 20-30minutes per day provides more oxygen to the brain and stimulates the nervous system, thus giving relief from anxiety. Breathe in the air and exhale slowly.
Talk to a doctor:
Consult a doctor if your anxiety is frequently affecting your daily life. You can try medications, herbal therapy, or home remedies to ease your most severe symptoms. Always speak to a doctor before starting a new exercise routine during pregnancy.
Sleep reduces anxiety symptoms. It’s important to get enough sleep as it calms your brain cells. Whenever you feel like it, take a nap.
In conclusion, figuring out the source of fears helps reduce anxiety. Healthy eating habits and physical activity also help. Reaching out to mothers who’ve had a positive experience can also help reduce the fear of giving birth. Women should empower themselves and try their best in giving birth to a healthy newborn.
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