Pregnancy marks the dawn of a new life and a period of great joy for many women, but it can also a sense of anxiety of the future. Women who are predisposed to anxiety attacks may especially suffer during this time, as their bodies are changing in unfamiliar ways, their hormones are fluctuating drastically, and they are preparing for the responsibility of taking care of another human being. This article will help learn how to manage your anxiety symptoms so you and your baby can enjoy better health.
Unfortunately, pregnancy brings with it a multitude of various side effects, and the increased propensity for anxiety attacks is one of them. The majority of women who experience panic attacks during pregnancy have already become acquainted with them earlier in their lives, but for some women, having an anxiety attack while pregnant is a new and terrifying experience. Symptoms of panic attacks include dizziness, rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness, weakness, chest pains, and overall sense of terror and impending doom. Although it may not seem like it, anxiety attacks only last for a few minutes, but they can feel like the end of your life is imminent. Not only do pregnant women have to worry about their own health, but now they have a baby who might be affected by their emotions and actions.
Health experts don’t have a one-size-fits-all answer as to why pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to anxiety attacks. The answer could lie in a variety of factors, including hormonal changes and increased stress. These factors are difficult to control, but there are ways that you can soothe the symptoms of your anxiety while you are pregnant. Although it may seem impossible, it’s vitally important that you try to eliminate as much stress from your life as possible. Don’t over schedule yourself, and don’t’ be afraid to say no to people’s requests for your time. This is a time for you to take care of yourself and your baby, and you can’t do this by trying to be all things to all people. Also, you need to get as much sleep as your body needs, so try to make your bedroom as comfortable as possible by creating a clutter-free environment, as this can be an often overlooked source of stress in your life. Turn off all technology for at least an hour before you go to sleep at night, and try to eliminate caffeine from your diet, as it is not recommended for your pregnancy, as well as your anxiety condition.
Severe cases of anxiety are often treated with a class of medications called benzodiazepines, and you may know a few of them by their brand names-Ativan, Valium and Xanax. There has been some controversy over whether these medications are safe to take during pregnancy. Whenever possible, it’s best to stick to natural methods of treating anxiety. Try to get as much exercise as possible, after consulting with a doctor about the recommended length and intensity of exercises for pregnant women. Also, make sure to eat a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains.
Deep breathing is also especially beneficial for the anxious pregnant women. Make sure you are breathing from deep within your diaphragm, and not from higher up in our chest. Take a deep breath in to the count of five, hold the breath for five seconds, and then slowly release. As you keep doing this, you will find yourself slowly relaxing. Continue to make a practice of it on a daily basis, as deep breathing can come in handy in the midst of a panic attack.
“How to treat anxiety symptoms during pregnancy.” Massachussetts General Hospital Center for Women’s Health. <http://www.womensmentalhealth.org> 20 Jan 2012.