Anxiety in pregnancy can be common, lots of us worry about all sorts of things to do with the birth, becoming a parent, relationship issues, money worries, and on and on. It can be a stressful time, so here are our top seven tips for calming anxiety in pregnancy.
Ditch the strive for perfection
- When we find out we are pregnant we can have an image in our mind of the perfect pregnancy and the perfect mother we want to be. This can be our own bench mark for making life hard for ourselves. If we can‘t live up to this image it can feel like we have failed or aren’t good enough. Try to relax that unhelpful perfect image.
- Trying to sort out the finances, the house, your diet, the nursery all before the baby arrives can just feel too much. Nine months is actually quite a long time and you don’t need everything in place the day baby is born, baby proofing/toys etc can all come bit by bit as and when.
- The perfect parent doesn’t exist, talk to any honest parent and they will tell you that. Allowing things to slide and lowering the expectations and pressure on yourself can be liberating and a lot better for your mental health
2. Look after yourself
- We can get so swept up in getting things ready for the arrival of the baby: concentrating on how the baby is growing, reading up on birth preparation or how to care for a newborn. Remember to look after yourself too, giving yourself the nurturing you need mentally as well as physically.
- his might be taking time to mindfully notice your own thoughts, writing a journal, or just taking time to reflect on how you are coping with the pregnancy
3. Take time to just be still and accept your changing body
- Pregnancy is a pretty radical body change. It is wonderful, a mindboggling experience. Some women find the changes to their body hard to accept. Some partners can find it difficult to adapt to the change of focus pregnancy can bring to a woman or feel left out of the physical pregnancy experience. Some women find that if their partner learns massage techniques, the massage can become a physical reassurance that their partner loves them and their changing body unconditionally.
- Attending classes as a couple together, maybe yoga, mindfulness or similar classes where instructors can give you techniques on how to be still and breathe can help you gain acceptance for your changing body.
- Read up on how your body is changing, sometimes knowing what is going on inside your body can help you and your partner adjust to the changes.
4. Find like-minded mums to hangout with
- It really does help to get a good support network, other mums who are going through the same thing as you at the same time can be invaluable. Most areas now have lots of general antenatal classes on offer. If you would like to attend a class more specific to pregnant mothers suffering from anxiety then contact [Bristol] Bluebell, Mother’s for Mother’s, Rockabye or your Health Visitor should be able to signpost others in your area.
- Ultimately if you find yourself hanging out with people that don’t make you feel good, it is ok to try and find another network, conflicting parenting methods can sometimes make you feel that you aren’t doing it right. Try and tap into your inner knowledge and know that you are a good mum regardless of what others are doing and saying.
5. Tackle stressful issues one by one
- Coping with your pregnancy worries on top of your other life issues can sometimes feel confusing and overwhelming. Trying to look at things individually and deal with one worry at a time can help. Start with the things you have the most control over.
6. Talk about how you feel
- Sharing how you feel and opening up can be scary but also like a huge weight lifted. Some women find online forums or Facebook pages useful, it’s amazing how much people open up when it is online rather than face to face.
- If you do want a face to face conversation then you can chat with Emma, our Mother’s Mentor. She has lots of professional experience as well as being a mum of two. An objective friendly professional to chat things through with and help with the mental fuddle you’re experiencing. There is also your HV, midwife or GP too. The scariest bit sometimes is making that initial contact with someone, but when you do it, it will be the beginning of feeling better.
7. When is pregnancy anxiety manageable and when to get help
- It is normal to experience emotions swinging up and down during pregnancy. Whether your pregnancy was planned or not you can still have mixed emotions. You can feel excited one minute, scared the next. Will I cope? What will we do about money? Will my body change forever? How will I go back to work? What can I eat or not eat? Sometimes a previous pregnancy can impact how we cope with subsequent pregnancies.
- So many things can run through our heads daily. That is normal, that is ok. BUT if you feel these feelings are taking over your thoughts and starting to affect your day to day life or you are feeling low and worried more than happy then phone someone you trust ask for some support.
If you would like to talk to Emma, our Mother’s Mentor please do get in touch, have a read of our website and email firstname.lastname@example.org.