Pregnancy Anxiety Attacks - Early Pregnancy Anxiety
As exciting and exhilarating as discovering you are pregnant can be, it can also be the news that triggers high levels of anxiety. Pregnancy anxiety is common, especially in cases of first pregnancies, or following a lost pregnancy. But when normal anxiety becomes overwhelming and consuming, the resulting panic or pregnancy anxiety attacks can exact a huge toll on a woman.
Pregnancy is not the only time anxiety can become an issue. Women who are struggling to conceive, who have been trying for months without success and may be facing IVF are also at risk. The "getting pregnant" anxiety that hits couples can be the very thing that prevents conception. There are a number of things in this process that can create anxiety. When forced to track ovulation, anxiety and stress exacerbate the physical symptoms, sometimes creating more pain and discomfort. Of course, the recommendation is to relax and allow things to happen, but the mix of ovulation and conception anxieties can leave a couple desperately hanging on.
Early Pregnancy Anxiety
When a woman does conceive and during early pregnancy anxiety strikes, it can create some very intense fears. Now, on top of everything else, the worry about what anxiety is doing to the unborn baby compounds the anxiety making life a nightmare. This is supposed to be a happy time and it feels like it is anything but happy. Often in pregnancy, symptoms of anxiety are triggered by thinking too much about things that are probably harmless but the mind perceives the situation to be potentially dangerous. As a result the physical symptoms of the fight or flight response kick in, such as increased heart rate, nervousness, shortness of breath and hot flashes. Psychologically, a woman may feel as though she is losing control, she may fear dying or the loss of her baby, or fears of inadequacy and the inability to mother her child cause anxiety. Pregnancy depression may follow the anxiety, making things even more complex.
Pregnancy Anxiety Medications
Not all women who have a pregnancy anxiety attack are chronic sufferers. Although, there are so many strange and unfamiliar things that go on in a woman's body during pregnancy, there is often little time that the focus isn't on something "not feeling quite right." However, panic attacks are a real and frightening thing, and women who suffer with them during pregnancy should be under the care of a physician. Knowing what triggers the attacks is important and what, if any anxiety medications were taken prior to pregnancy. During pregnancy, anxiety medications are not recommended due to the adverse affect they can have on an unborn baby. But, if the condition is severe, the doctor will determine how to treat it.
It is common for women to experience labor anxiety - especially if they've been listening to horror stories from women who felt the need to inform them of what possibly lies ahead. If you need a sedative during labor, your doctor will administer one for you. Just remember that sedation reduces muscle strength so push-power will be lessened. A multiple birth can trigger an anxiety attack - thinking about how you are going to push out more than one baby or, if surgery scares you, how you're going to make it through should you need a cesarean.
After the baby is born, breastfeeding anxiety can replace pregnancy anxiety. Now it's the worry about being adequate in terms of feeding and nurturing your baby. While the effects of childbirth on self-esteem should be positive, sometimes it turns the other way as the fear of not being able to care for the baby creates more anxiety.
Dealing With Anxiety Naturally
The best and safest way to address pregnancy, breastfeeding, labor, and baby anxiety is to get to the root of it. Taking pregnancy anxiety medications is not necessarily the best way to deal with it. Drugs may offer temporary relief from the physical symptoms, but they don't get to the cause. Some things you can do to reduce the effects of childbirth anxiety are easy enough to accomplish. Practice breathing, take up yoga, and get sufficient rest. Dealing with stress, whether positive or negative stress, it the way to reduce triggers for panic. Your diet is equally important. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and good, low-fat proteins help immensely in helping the body cope with stress. Caffeine, alcohol and smoking, along with high sugar consumption are tickets to panic in short order. By cleaning up your diet, getting enough rest, and practicing relaxation techniques, you can effectively reduce anxiety attacks and may actually enjoy the balance of your pregnancy.