Pregnancy And Anxiety: What You Need To Know

12 July 2016
 Categories: , Articles


There are a number of reasons why an expectant mother may feel anxious. She may not have planned to become pregnant and is anxious about bringing a child into the world when she may not be ready. Or she may have completely planned the pregnancy, but is worried about how good of a mother she will be. Or a mother may worry about losing a baby or the health of her baby. Job loss, fighting with a spouse and hormonal changes during pregnancy can also lead to anxiety. However, while some worry and anxiety is normal during pregnancy, too much anxiety can be a bad thing. If you feel anxious during your pregnancy, here are a few things you need to know about anxiety and pregnancy.

Are There Side Effects of Anxiety on Pregnancy?

If you find yourself constantly feeling anxious or worrying during your pregnancy, you may wonder if these feelings have an impact on the growing life inside of you or if they will impact you during the pregnancy. Untreated anxiety and depression share many of the same side effects. These include:

  • A lower birth weight for the baby
  • A higher likelihood you will go into premature labor
  • A lower APGAR score for the baby after birth
  • A higher likelihood of respiratory distress and poor adaptation for the baby after giving birth
  • A higher likelihood of postpartum depression after giving birth
  • A higher likelihood of alcohol and drug use for the mother during and after pregnancy
  • A higher risk of pre-eclampsia
  • A higher risk of having a c-section delivery

How Do You Know the Difference between Normal Anxiety and Abnormal Anxiety During Pregnancy?

It is normal to have periods where you feel anxious when you are pregnant. After all, you are about to undergo a major change in your life. As such, you may wonder whether the level of anxiety you are experiencing is normal or whether it is abnormal. Having brief periods when you worry and wonder about things is completely normal. However, if the worry and anxiety lasts for prolonged periods of time or has physical side effects associated with it, it is something that you need to address. If you have trouble concentrating, panic often, experience restlessness, have trouble sleeping or don't seem to enjoy things that used to make you happy because of anxiety or worry, you may have antenatal anxiety. Physical signs of antenatal anxiety, or anxiety that is more than one would normally experience, include heart palpitations, muscle tension, sweating, stomach aches, shortness of breath, twitches and headaches.

How is Anxiety Treated During Pregnancy?

If you are experiencing antenatal anxiety during your pregnancy, you will want to talk to a professional about your symptoms, as they can negatively impact you and your baby. You can talk to your OB/GYN, your primary healthcare physician or a mental health professional. There are many different ways that anxiety can be treated during pregnancy, depending on the symptoms you are experiencing. There are many natural treatments for anxiety, including relaxation techniques, group therapy, laughter and even the scent of lavender. If natural treatments are not helping, there are anti-anxiety medications that you can be placed on, even while pregnant. These can help you with your anxiety, helping you to cope with your anxiety for the remaining duration of your pregnancy. 

Welcoming a new child can be an exciting, yet nerve-wracking time in any mother's life. As such, it is normal that you may feel worried or anxious at times. However, if this anxiety impacts your day-to-day life, you may be experiencing high levels of anxiety that can negatively impact you and your child. Learning the side effects of anxiety on pregnancy, what the signs of high anxiety are and what the treatments are can help you know where you fall and whether you may need professional help for your anxiety. For help, contact a clinic like The Center for Family Counseling, Inc.