Excitement and anticipation are normal feelings during pregnancy. So are feelings of stress, fear and anxiety. At times, all the physical ups and downs and the lifestyle changes to come can simply be overwhelming. There’s nothing abnormal about feeling anxious during pregnancy. The more you understand why you feel that anxiety, the better you can handle it.
Lack of Symptoms
During the first trimester, especially for first-time moms, it can be extremely stressful to have a positive pregnancy test but no real symptoms of pregnancy to go along with it. Though other moms may envy you for freedom from morning sickness and fatigue, the lack of apparent signs can be enough to make you stressed out over the reality of your pregnancy. Positive pregnancy tests are hardly ever wrong; if in doubt, have another test done by your health care provider just to set your mind at ease. Keep taking those prenatal vitamins. Try to enjoy the symptom-free portion of pregnancy. Your belly will soon expand enough that you will have no room for doubt.
Blame it on the hormones. Those increased hormone levels in your body during pregnancy can cause mood instability. The authors of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” say it’s similar to experiencing symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Your moods may run from weepy to irrational fear to irritability and sensitivity. All of this can contribute to anxiety you have about the health of your baby, your body and your ability to succeed as a mom.
Don’t be scared of the strength of your own emotions during this time. Remember, hormone levels can cause your moods and emotions to do crazy things. You have a focal point for all that pent-up emotion: your developing baby. You may feel irrational fear over your baby’s health, worry uncontrollably about making the right choices from what to eat to what shoes to wear, and an overwhelming uncertainty about the future. You may even resent the baby’s presence in your life and the necessary changes you have to make as a result. Feeling resentment can cause you to feel guilt, which can exacerbate your anxiety even more. Emotions are normal and are neither good nor bad; they simply are. Let them come and go without assigning a value to them. Share with your spouse, a friend, your doctor or a therapist so you have a place to vent and get objective feedback. The “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” authors also recommend talking to other expectant mothers.
Do your best to let go of the past. Perhaps you have miscarried or had problems in a previous pregnancy; such experiences can leave you overwhelmed with worry about how things will go during this pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about specific concerns you have. If you’re at higher risk because of any past physical issues, you can get information on how best to deal with that risk while still living your life.
Moderate anxiety is a normal side effect of pregnancy, say the authors of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” However, if you find that anxiety is disrupting your life, interrupting your sleep, ruining your appetite and consuming your thoughts, it’s a good idea to seek out professional counseling. If you don’t know of a good therapist or counselor, ask your health practitioner for a recommendation.