Managing Anxiety While Pregnant
December 12, 2021With the influx of hormones and changes to their bodies, it’s common for women to feel anxious during pregnancy. Harvard Medical School recommends a handful of treatments and activities to help combat anxiety while pregnant. 1 Here are the highlights.
For many women who are pregnant, anti-anxiety medication is not an option. For those with severe anxiety, however, it may be. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most common antidepressants prescribed to women who are pregnant or postpartum. SSRIs are not known to be associated with an increased risk of major birth defects.
Non-Prescription Medical Treatments
The good news is that there are several ways to help reduce pregnancy-related anxiety without taking prescription medicine. You may find that these options help you manage anxiety so that you can spend your days looking forward to the arrival of your bundle of joy instead of worrying.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Some pregnant women find it helpful to seek therapy to help treat anxiety during pregnancy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) practitioners use psychotherapy to help patients understand where negative thinking patterns come from and challenge them with better ways of coping with those unhelpful patterns.
Outside of therapy, there are several other ways to treat anxiety during pregnancy.
Engage in regular physical activity
Exercising during pregnancy is a great way to release natural endorphins that can enhance your sense of physical and mental well-being. Exercising is generally safe during pregnancy, and finding an activity you can do and enjoy may help reduce your anxiety.
Get adequate sleep
Difficulty sleeping during pregnancy is understandable with a growing belly and pressure on the diaphragm. However, there are some things you can try to help you get a better night’s rest, such as developing a relaxing bedtime routine, maintaining a consistent bed and wake time, using a maternity pillow if you sleep on your side, and elevating your head while you sleep to alleviate breathing problems.
Practice mindfulness and relaxation
Practicing mindfulness can help women reduce worries during pregnancy. Put simply, mindfulness is the act of being aware of each moment, your surroundings, your breath, and your thoughts. It’s the practice of slowing down and noticing your thoughts without judgment.
Similarly, relaxation techniques can help you physically and emotionally connect and recharge. Your idea of relaxation may be reading a book, getting a massage, practicing yoga, or listening to music. Find what works for you and make sure you can engage in that activity at some point every day. Your growing baby will thank you!
Record worries in a journal
Journaling is a great way to “get it all out” on paper. When you can see your worries written down, it helps you reflect on your concerns more clearly and brainstorm positive solutions.
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