Do You Have Pregnancy Anxiety?
If you are pregnant or are trying to conceive, you may have a world of new thoughts running through your mind. Excitement, joy, plans for the future, curiosity, a deep sense of love, and sometimes – anxiety.
Some anxiety during pregnancy is normal. This is one of the biggest changes a human can go through and it’s understandable to be apprehensive about the changes. Your body is changing, your family dynamics, your role in the world, maybe your work life and relationships.
You are stepping into a new chapter in your life, and anxiety about pregnancy is understandable. Let’s break down some of the most common things people have pregnancy anxiety about.
Anxiety About Your Life Changing
You don’t need a reminder about how much your life is about to change – or already changing.
You’re aware of it with every kick and shift of your body, with the changes in how you’re being perceived by strangers and people who know you well. Pregnancy and parenthood are an invitation to slow down. To savor every moment, every change.
Sometimes when we feel like life is moving too fast or we’re getting ahead of ourselves about what’s to come, it produces anxiety. Take it one day at a time. Although reminding yourself to slow down won’t take away your anxiety, it’s a good place to start.
Anxiety About Miscarriage
Miscarriages and pregnancy loss are an unfortunate outcome of around thirty percent of all pregnancies. Don’t let that number scare you though, many of those miscarriages occur in people who don’t yet realize that they are pregnant.
For clinically recognized pregnancies, the risk of miscarriage is about eight to fifteen percent. If you’ve had prior miscarriages before, your risk of one may increase with subsequent pregnancies.
All this to say – miscarriages do happen. They are unfortunately part of the fertility journey for many people. That doesn’t make them any less heartbreaking or difficult to navigate when they happen.
People will navigate miscarriage anxiety differently. Some will seek extra scans on a regular basis, others will fixate on their diet and actions, or get consumed in their worries.
It’s difficult to determine the cause of most miscarriages, and unfortunately, the vast majority of them are not preventable. That doesn’t mean it will happen to you. And while worrying is normal, and not something to be ashamed of – it won’t change anything.
The key here is that your body is working harder than it ever has to grow a whole new human from scratch. The biggest thing you can do right now supports your body and baby by taking care of yourself through a nourishing diet, seeing a healthcare professional that you trust, getting gentle exercise, and getting plenty of rest.
Anxiety About Birth
Whether or not you’ve experienced birth before, the anticipation of it can be nerve-wracking. Sometimes those nerves turn into full-blown anxiety. There’s no way around it, birth is one of the most intense experiences a person can go through. That doesn’t necessarily mean bad, or traumatic, or even painful, but intense.
There’s a saying in the birth community “The only way out is through.” No matter what direction your birth goes, or how your baby comes into the world, there will be a birth.
Some of the best ways you can help soothe anxiety about birth and pregnancy are by preparing and supporting yourself.
What To Do About Pregnancy Anxiety
If you’re experiencing pregnancy anxiety, first know that it is entirely normal and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Pregnancy is new and exciting, and sometimes excitement breeds anxiety. Here are some of the best ways you can help to sooth pregnancy anxiety:
Hire a Doula
Doulas are non-medical support providers that help prepare you for labor, support you during labor and birth, and offer postpartum support. Doulas can help with pregnancy anxiety by offering education and answering your questions, being an emotional support person, and much more.
Attend Birth Education Classes
Childbirth education classes can help to ease anxiety by answering many of the questions you may have around pregnancy, and helping you prepare for birth. They also give you the chance to build community and make friends with people who are on a similar journey as you. Community is healing!
Create a Birth Preferences Page
Often called a “birth plan”, some people prefer the word “preferences”, because things don’t always go according to plan. Creating a birth preferences page gives you the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of birth in different settings, and to decide what the right course of action is for you and your baby under different circumstances. If you have a doula, or attend childbirth education classes, they can help you create a plan.
Use Pregnancy Affirmations
Words are powerful. Pregnancy affirmations give you a reassuring anchor to turn to when you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
Here are a few mantras you can use:
- I trust the wisdom of my body.
- I have everything I need inside me.
- My body, my baby, my choice.
Get Professional Support
If you feel like your pregnancy anxiety is greatly affecting your day to day life, you may want to consider seeking professional support.
There are incredible mental health professionals that specialize in reproductive health and pregnancy. Psychology Today is an incredible website where people around the world can search for mental health professionals that specialize in pregnancy related issues.
Remember that you are doing your best right now. Keep surrounding yourself with people who love and support you, nourish your body and mind, and again – get plenty of rest.
Natasha (she/they) is a full spectrum doula, reproductive health content creator, and sexual wellness consultant. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more pleasure, softness, and sensuality. You can connect with Natasha on IG @spectrumoflovedoula.