Pregnancy is an exciting time for most mothers and expectant parents, but it also comes with its share of coping mechanisms relating to anxiety with worries, anxieties, and a host of wild symptoms that cause all kinds of changes both mentally and physically for the woman carrying the child. Sometimes, all this change can be a bit much for new mothers and even veterans of parenthood and pregnancy. And it’s good to be aware of what’s on your mind, what’s going on with your body, and what steps you may need to take to keep yourself healthy as you bring a new life into the world.
Anxiety And Pregnancy
Feeling anxious in pregnancy is not uncommon and not at all abnormal. There are so many factors at play that anxiety is a perfectly normal reaction to all the life changes, bodily changes, and even hormone levels wreaking havoc on the parents-to-be. Some mothers who already experience anxiety or struggle with other mental health conditions have varying responses to pregnancy, with some feeling more at ease and others noticing a sharp increase in their anxiety levels and other issues. Every woman is different, each body is different, and even every pregnancy a woman has can and will vary in its effects and symptoms.
Early Pregnancy Anxiety
To be pregnant and anxious at the same time is not at all an uncommon combination. Early pregnancy is exciting for a lot of new mothers, but also comes with an extreme amount of fear for those having ever experienced past losses of pregnancy or that may have genetic or physical health issues that would put them at risk of losing a baby early on.
Miscarriages primarily occur within the first trimester, and many women have been pregnant without knowing and passed the unviable embryo so early on that they had simply mistaken the irregular and slightly heavier bleeding like a period that didn’t adhere to their usual cycle schedule.
The first trimester is a time when the risk of loss is the highest. It is also a common period of worry for mothers that weren’t expecting to conceive to be concerned that their actions while unknowingly pregnant may negatively affect their unborn child. Women that drink or smoke may experience anxiety over damaging their growing child simply because they had not missed their periods yet or had a positive pregnancy test result until weeks after the fact.
With unexpected pregnancies, the first few weeks may also be incredibly stressful as the newly pregnant mother has to figure out her plans for the future regarding finances, family, and other areas impacted by a baby being brought into the world. She also may be stressing out over how her employment will be affected depending upon which field she works in and the issue of maternity leave once the baby is born. Especially with single mothers or women in low-income situations, these fears are a huge concern and can lead to a significant amount of stress on both the mother and the baby.
Middle And Late Pregnancy Anxiety
Once a mother reaches the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, the risk of a miscarriage greatly decreases, and they can expect to likely have a viable fetus that will make it to the finish line.
The fears of an unhealthy pregnancy (depending on the diagnosis) and coping with the worries of caring for a child and providing them with the highest quality of life after birth becomes a significant source of anxiety. Not all parents have the means to care for children with severe deformities or lifelong health conditions, no matter how badly they may want to do so, and this can cause a lifetime of worry and affect numerous other aspects of a family’s future.
The second trimester is generally the period when an expectant mom gets a few short weeks of energy and feels the best before the exhaustion and physical pains of carrying a child take over for the last three months.
The third trimester is generally when a mother’s body is pushed to its limits and most simply want the child to be born already. Exhaustion is a huge factor that can greatly impact anyone’s psyche, but especially an expectant mom with a lot already on her plate. Feeling all of the wiggles and kicks of the life growing in their bellies is a reassuring and often a sweet and fun experience, but it takes a toll when the unborn baby decides to kick all night and keep the mom awake.
Aside from all of the sleep deprivation and human punching bag issues, a big area of concern for mothers in the third trimester is the debate between Braxton Hicks contractions and true labor contractions. Even mothers that have had multiple children can sometimes have a hard time judging which one is, which before true labor begins.
The biggest, anxiety-inducing fear of all is labor itself. Veteran moms can still be a bit nervous over it, and new mothers especially get worried once they realize the baby is coming out of them somehow, whether through vaginal birth or a cesarean section (which requires being cut open and having surgical removal of the baby).
Safe Coping Mechanisms And Treatment While Pregnant
A quick go-to for many mothers with depression and anxiety during pregnancy is anti-depressants and there are quite a few available that have been used for years and have shown the lowest possible risk of side effects or defects. No drug is 100% guaranteed to not potentially have an unusual reaction with how chaotic an expectant mother’s body is while pregnant, but quite a few have such a low risk that there haven’t been any significant problems documented.
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