The state of anxiety during pregnancy is a very common phenomenon. It is associated primarily with the change in the hormonal background of a woman. However, many women cannot cope with their anxious thoughts and fears. It exacerbates the situation, thereby undermining the psychological state. Is there a need to talk about how the mother’s anxiety affects the development of the child? Therefore, in this article we will try to understand the origins of anxiety during pregnancy and try to understand how to get rid of it.
4 Causes of Fears during Pregnancy
Feeling of anxiety is a sign of unexpected changes occurring in the surrounding world or in one’s own organism. In general, it helps to react to danger in time. However, if anxiety is expressed excessively, then, on the contrary, it interferes with normal life activity.
During pregnancy, the entire body of a woman undergoes significant changes, which contributes to the development of anxiety. Physiological restructuring in the central nervous system leads to the fact that fatigue and a weakened physical state may cause anxiety during pregnancy. Thus, the future mother, according to physiological indicators, is predisposed to anxiety.
In the period of expectation of the child, a woman’s interests connected with the birth and health of the unborn child prevail. Everything else doesn’t bother that much. Thus, the woman can feel that she is not ready to take care of the child. Responsibility for the child generates increased demands on yourself. The desire to reach the ideal at all costs and become a perfect mother also leads to anxiety during pregnancy.
The isolation of the future mother from active life also contributes to the development of anxiety during pregnancy. Especially, when she does not work and stays at home. As a result, there is lack of new impressions and positive emotions, as well as negative experience of others. The appearance of anxiety during pregnancy is quite predictable (according to doctors’ observations, one-third of all women experience something similar during this period). If you have always tried to give your lifestyle a certain stability, if you do not like surprises, it is likely that pregnancy will make you question yourself. The inevitable changes that occur in your family after the birth of the baby are also a source of anxiety.
In order to Deal with Anxiety, One Must Understand Its Nature
Anxiety is an uncertain fear projected into the future. Even if it seems that everything is all right, a person is in constant expectation that something bad is about to happen. This is a painful experience of impending disaster, when you do not know where and when the misfortune will happen, but you are sure that it will happen in any way.
If the anxiety becomes so strong and frequent that it interferes with normal life of a person, then this is a sign of an anxiety disorder. It is characterized by tension and even trembling, severe discomfort, when it becomes difficult to sit still because of anxiety. The heart is beating fast, “there is not enough air”, sweating is intensifying, weakness, lightheadedness, dizziness, feeling of “lump in throat” may appear. This condition needs treatment.
Anxiety during Pregnancy: 9 Most Common Fears of Pregnant Women
It is extremely difficult to deal with the state of anxiety. Sometimes it seems that the danger comes from everywhere. It is much easier to deal with anxiety when you know exactly what you are afraid of. As soon as the fear becomes more concrete, it immediately becomes easier and calmer. As a result, we get to know how to fight it and what to do to protect ourselves.
Unplanned, spontaneous pregnancy
Seeing the positive test results, a woman starts frantically remembering what alcoholic drinks she drank, how many cigarettes she smoked and what medicines she took. If the results of the calculations are disappointing, there appears panic.
Possible complications during pregnancy, which can affect the health of the unborn child
The spectrum of worries here is very huge. From harmful to health work to the fear of getting influenza or rubella.
The fear of childbirth
It manifests itself in anticipation of pain, a feeling of helplessness, the lack of power over one’s own body.
This can be the fear of the birth of a sick child due to irreversible natural causes.
The woman is afraid of those changes that occur with the face and body, and thinks whether she will be able to gain her former shape.
Fear for the health of the unborn child
Fear of becoming a bad mother
A woman doubts her own ability to take good care of a child.
Fear of responsibility for the fate of the child
No one in this measure is responsible for the life and health of another person, like a mother for a child.
Fear of the future
Often the future mother is frightened by various changes in the family and at work related to the appearance of the child: from financial and household difficulties to changes in relationships with the husband and career problems.
The fact that a particular fear has appeared is not bad. It only means that the psychological defense has worked and the process of adaptation to new living conditions has begun. By finding something to be afraid of in the period of pregnancy and childbirth, the woman’s psyche takes the first step towards overcoming anxiety. The next step is to expand the perception of the danger and take the actions to eliminate it or minimize it.
It is worse when a pathological or obsessive fear develops. It is called a phobia. In such a state a person understands absurdity of the fears, but cannot resist them. The only way out that the person sees is to avoid a frightening situation. If, in such circumstances, a woman doesn’t take timely actions, a sense of hopelessness and subsequent depression may develop.
How to Overcome Anxiety during Pregnancy?
If anxiety prevents you from enjoying life waiting for pleasant future changes, you need to take actions. Do not panic. Here you need not an emotional but rational approach to this issue.
Start with a Qualified Medical Examination
With the planned pregnancy, there will be much less reasons for worries. Spouses have the opportunity to undergo a complete examination to prevent possible problems. For example, if it is found that a woman does not have immunity to rubella, it is necessary to vaccinate. It should be done no later than three months before conception. Such infections as herpes, cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis are also not less dangerous for a child’s future. A woman should be examined for these infections before the conception and during the first weeks of pregnancy.
A visit to a geneticist will also be very helpful. The doctor will study the genealogic tree and determine if the family is at risk. Special attention is paid to genetics for all cases of severe illnesses, repeated from generation to generation, closely related marriages in the family, infertility, miscarriages, and the birth of children with malformations or mental retardation. If the rearrangements in the chromosome set of spouses are detected on time, a special examination during pregnancy is possible, which will prevent the appearance of a disabled child.
Unplanned pregnancy requires closer follow-up of doctors. The first twelve weeks, especially from the 5th to the 10th, are indeed the most dangerous in all respects, whether it is a question of smoking, an infectious disease or a stressful situation. This is the time when the fetus passes a critical period of development – the laying of the main organs and systems. Of course, a smoking woman is questioned in detail about how much and how long she smoked. But in any case, smoking is in no way a contraindication to pregnancy or an indication for its interruption. As a rule, such pregnant women are at risk of developing fetal growth retardation syndrome.
The same applies to alcohol. But here the habits of the future dad play a big role as well. Some medicines (for example, some antibiotics) can also be harmful for the baby’s future organs.
Modern diagnostics is able to recognize many complications at the early stages. This will allow not worrying in vain. The child’s health can now be checked literally from the second month of pregnancy. All you need is to do ultrasound at the 10th-12th week, 20th-24th and 28th-30th weeks.
If there are no disturbing symptoms and pregnancy is normal, these studies are enough. In addition, at the 14th-20th week (best of all – at the 16th-18th week), blood from the vein is taken to test the level of specific proteins – alpha-fetoprotein, chorionic gonadotropin and estriol, which are produced by embryonic tissues. In the case of genetic malfunctions, the values of these proteins change.
Special Classes for Future Mothers
It’s easy to overcome anxiety during pregnancy and the fear of birth by attending training courses for childbirth. At present, there are various methods, the purpose of which is the formation of the woman’s readiness for childbirth.
When choosing this or that course, keep in mind that classes for future mothers should include four main components:
- Psychoprophylactic preparation – it can be individual conversations and lectures that are aimed at eliminating the negative emotions and fear associated with childbirth. The main goal of psychophysiological preparation of pregnant women for childbirth is to develop a conscious attitude to pregnancy in a woman, to teach her to perceive childbirth as a physiological process, and to create a good emotional background and confidence in the favorable course of pregnancy and the completion of labor.
- You can overcome the fear of pain during childbirth with the help of knowledge of the natural for a woman mechanism of delivery, which is told in the class by specialists – obstetrician-gynecologists.
- Group classes of special gymnastics are usually aimed at training breathing and muscle groups, which will have a particularly hard work during childbirth – the abdominal press, the muscles of the pelvic floor. The knowledge of the features of the newborns physiology also relieves the mother of numerous worries about the baby’s health. Special classes for future mothers can teach how to take care of the child. As a result, anxiety during pregnancy will bother you less.
- Usually, such classes are held in groups of 6-8 people. This is important from a psychological point of view. The opportunity to communicate with other women, to exchange impressions and talk about the problems that worry future mothers creates a feeling of inclusion in an active life, helps to understand that many women share your fears.
When Should a Woman Go to a Therapist?
If fears associated with your and your baby’s health could not be dispelled by your general practitioner, then psychotherapists and medical psychologists may help.
Usually the most difficult thing is to realize the problem. The coming changes are very exciting. They bring worries about the inadequate perception of a situation that lead to negative emotions, fear and anxiety during pregnancy. All these push to inadequate actions leading to the emergence of various stressful situations (family problems, work difficulties, etc.). At the same time, there are stable centers of excitation in the central nervous system that can lead to complications of pregnancy.
The most effective method of overcoming anxiety during pregnancy is cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy. This method is based on the fact that it is a person’s thinking that determines the behavior, feelings and problems. Having rebuilt inadequate thinking and developed the ability to think more realistically and constructively, a person starts looking at the world differently.
Nobody says that pregnancy and childbirth is easy. Still, everyone knows well that a woman’s body was created for this. An adult woman can bear and give birth to a healthy child without harm to her health. It is important to take care of qualified medical aid in advance, as well as to solve financial or housing problems rationally.
When you leave the walls of the maternity hospital together with the baby, you will have to adapt to the new order of life. Meanwhile, you cannot influence the situation and should not control it. In your current situation it remains only to wait and extract the maximum of positive emotions from what is happening at the moment. In order not to get affected by anxiety during pregnancy, keep in mind that nature has already given you everything you need for successful motherhood.