Thursday, April 16, 2015

The pregnant woman and anxiety

December 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Articles

Women and babies were always closely linked, because it is the women who bring new children to the world.  Many young women dream of motherhood and career women are no exception.  For those who make that choice giving life to a child is the greatest happiness that can happen to a couple in love looking forward to found a family.  In today’s hectic life family is the solid anchor that will help withstand winds and tides.  However many pregnant women suffer from stress for various reasons, ranging from moderate to severe. Mostly at the first pregnancy, stress may be omnipresent because the woman does not know what to expect. A pregnant woman can be both happy and worried at once.  The traditional announcement: ‘ I’m pregnant! is invariably followed by anxiety of facing the unknown, triggering a mixture of joy and apprehension. For a woman pregnant for the first time pregnancy and childbirth can be a great source of anxiety.

During pregnancy a woman spends a lot of time thinking and pondering.  Will the delivery go well?  Will the baby be normal?  Will she make a good mother?  Will her baby face problems she may have in her childhood or adolescence?  Of course, this questioning is normal and is a preparatory step in the life of mom to be. The future mother learns to love the coming baby, and her body prepared for the changes awaiting her.  All of this quite normally results in anxiety.  But anxiety also causes stress during pregnancy.
Some factors that could cause severe stress during pregnancy:

• Miscarriage: if the woman has had a miscarriage it can greatly undermine her confidence to carry a pregnancy to term.  In a subsequent pregnancy the fear that it could happen again is extreme.

• Uncertain income: a preventive withdrawal or a low paid job can trigger the fear of not being able to cope with the additional expenses resulting from the arrival of a child.

• An unstable relationship with the father of the child.

• No emotional or moral support environment (dysfunctional families).

• Unexpected and unwanted pregnancy, which can spoil others’ life plans.

• Fear of not being up to the task of caring for a child. It is very important to be as mentally stable as possible during pregnancy, and try to minimize the concerns and adjust if possible. The intense stress is obviously not good for the baby because it feels it. Anxiety is something that can be treated, and since pregnant women generally want the best for her child, it is best not to linger and let anxiety grow out of hand.  Several studies show that if the mother is very stressed and anxious during pregnancy, her baby is more likely to develop stress in its life. Between the 12th and 23rd week of pregnancy the baby in the womb can be greatly affected by stress and anxiety. Approximately 10% of pregnant women develop anxiety problems during pregnancy.
What can you do about it?

• Seek advice from your doctor.  Your doctor can make recommendations and perhaps prescribe something to treat anxiety. Caution is in order however, you should never take medications without consulting your doctor first. A pregnant woman cannot take just anything during pregnancy. Only your doctor can judge which medication is authorized in your particular case.

• Try to resolve the problems with your entourage if necessary. Finding comfort with your spouse and family helps a great deal in reducing anxiety. If the family stands by the future mother will feel supported and will find if need be.  A source of stress eliminated!

• Try to relax.  Don’t give up on your leisure time; hobbies are relaxing so long as they’re not harmful to your condition.  See her friends, do some light gardening, take a walk, read a good book, or go shopping; all are activities that can help relax and keep your mind occupied.

• Exercise. Moderate physical activity helps the body to release stress. Walking, yoga or swimming are all activities that a pregnant woman can do moderately, after checking with her doctor.

• Be open to others. Talking about our anxieties to someone close can be very beneficial. Do not keep stress and anxiety to yourself.  Sometimes the advice of an outsider can be very reassuring and helps
discard unnecessary and irrational fears.

It is normal for women to suffer anxiety during pregnancy, but not to let that anxiety overcome you and cause bothersome stress.  If such is the case do not delay to share with your entourage, or better yet, talk to your doctor.  After all, the experience of others can sometimes be very beneficial to us!

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