Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times of your life! Whether you spend years praying for this to happen or it happens out of the blue, the fact that you are growing a tiny little baby inside of your body is nothing short of a miracle! Although this season is beautiful, you will need to learn how to calm anxiety during pregnancy… so you can enjoy it.
No matter how much you want to be happy and excited all of the time, pregnancy can also be a time filled with a great deal of worry and anxiety. Is the baby okay? Is this a normal feeling that I’m having? Am I doing everything right? Questions can race through your mind constantly, and it is exhausting!
I hope you know that this is completely normal. You are definitely not alone! In fact, nearly one in five pregnant women experience a high state of anxiety. And, this figure only counts for the most extreme cases! I would even venture to say that the vast majority of women who are expecting have some form of anxiety during pregnancy.
My Story with Anxiety during Pregnancy
I was pretty anxious for most of my pregnancy. From the moment I found out we were expecting, I worried that I would lose my baby. I had a cousin that had just lost her baby a few months prior, so the thought of getting excited about being pregnant felt like a sin.
I know first-hand how HARD this season can be. My hope is by sharing my story along with some signs of pregnancy anxiety and ultimately how I overcame it, that you will find peace and joy in this season!
Before I start telling you my story, I want you to know that my blog is a safe place to search for everything pregnancy and birth. I write blog posts that aren’t triggering and my goal is to help you enjoy your pregnancy.
If you haven’t downloaded my (free) pregnancy prayer cards, they will help you to re-focus your mind and pray over your growing little one!
First Trimester Anxiety About Miscarriage
My first trimester was the worst for my anxiety. Every single morning, I would check to see the miscarriage rate for that day. This is something that actually quieted my worry a bit though.
- I was so afraid to eat anything because what if that would cause a miscarriage.
- I didn’t want to have sex… and was to afraid to ask my midwife about it. (Here are 32 Must-Ask Questions for your First Prenatal Appointment!)
- I was worried that EVERYTHING would kill this sweet baby I was carrying.
Once I started opening up about it to friends, I couldn’t believe how common this was. I think most moms worry about something in their first trimester, especially us first-timers! I hope this brings a bit of comfort in knowing you are not alone.
Second Trimester Fears
And then…. I hit the magical 12 week mark and my anxiety began to lessen. Every week, slowly but surely my worries turned into joy. I will share a bit later what I did to start enjoying my pregnancy.
Up until I could feel my daughter moving, I was still worried that she was alive in there! I’ve heard many mamas say that they finally enjoyed their pregnancy after the 20 week ultrasound!
Third Trimester JOY
I really enjoyed my third trimester. Overall I was just excited to meet my daughter!
I did worry about feeling kicks from time to time because I had an anterior placenta… I couldn’t feel her moving until 30 weeks!! But there were some things I did to make sure I purely enjoyed this time instead of worrying about every little thing.
Signs of Pregnancy Anxiety
Experiencing worry and bouts of anxiety is typical during your pregnancy! If you’re wondering what anxiety might look like while you’re expecting, here are some of the most common signs that you are experiencing some anxiety…
#1 – Feeling nervous and/or tense
If you’re noticing that you are feeling nervous or especially tense throughout your pregnancy, this may be a sign of anxiety. Especially when coupled with certain fears that revolve around pregnancy, it’s important to take notice of these feelings in order to start coping with them.
#2 – Feeling like something is going to go wrong
With all of the excitement and anticipation of your miracle’s arrival, you may also experience overwhelming feelings that something may go wrong. This sign of anxiety is pretty common for mamas-to-be for a lot of reasons. But, with all of the doctor visits, ultrasounds, baby checks, and more, each one brings on the worry of a bad report or unexpected news.
#3 – Heart racing and/or quick breathing
If you’re not doing anything to warrant it, such as exercising, and you are experiencing rapid heartbeats and becoming short of breath, you may be experiencing a form of anxiety. Be sure to keep on the lookout and try to notice when this is happening so you can start to figure out why it’s happening.
#4 – Hyper focusing on a worry or thought
Like we said above, pregnancy brings a lot of wonderful emotions, but can also bring a lot of worries. One sign that your worries are turning into anxiety may be the degree to which you are focusing on your worries. If a certain worry is completely consuming your thoughts, this may be another sign of anxiety.
#5 – Sleeping struggles
Troubles sleeping tend to go hand in hand with pregnancy. From back aches to learning to sleep in new positions, it’s very common for pregnant women to experience trouble falling or staying asleep. However, if sleep troubles are coupled with focusing on worries or nervous feelings that something is going to go wrong, anxiety may be playing an extra role in your sleeplessness.
Causes of Pregnancy Anxiety
You may be experiencing one or all of the different signs of anxiety, but you may still be wondering what causes them? Well, there are several reasons why you may be experiencing antenatal anxiety, or anxiety during pregnancy and here are just a few…
1. History of Anxiety
First and foremost, your pregnancy may not be the only source of your anxieties. If you, personally, have a history of anxiety before pregnancy, this may simply be a continuation of your previous anxieties or a heightened version. Another cause of your anxiety may come from family members who also have a history of experiencing signs of anxiety.
Just because you’re experiencing these feelings more intensely while you’re expecting doesn’t necessarily mean that your pregnancy has caused these feelings and changes.
2. Hormonal Changes
With that being said, your body is going through a great deal of changes! Just think about it. You are growing a precious baby! Your body is adjusting and shifting physically, emotionally, and hormonally to prepare a home for this little miracle for the next nine months.
Some of the many hormonal changes that you are experiencing may play a role in your newfound anxieties. It takes a lot to be a mom-to-be, and your body just may be going through some big changes and bringing about some anxieties in the meantime.
3. Previous Miscarriages or Complications
Experiencing a miscarriage or a previous (or current) pregnancy complication can most definitely be the source of your anxiety during pregnancy. The loss of a child is a traumatic, life altering event. If you’re expecting your beautiful rainbow baby or have just learned that your little miracle is going to have some struggles and complications, it is completely understandable to experience some intense anxieties.
Being pregnant is hard. You want to do everything that you can to protect and take care of your baby while it is in your belly, and it is so hard to learn firsthand that you have very little control.
In general, pregnancy can be stressful. As mentioned previously, there are countless occasions throughout your pregnancy where you are left wondering and worrying about the health and wellbeing of your baby. This alone is enough to give you anxiety.
But, if you have excess stress on top of the typical pregnancy stress, it may be causing you some unwanted and extra anxiety. If you are experiencing difficulties with your job, homelife, or family circumstances, you may be experiencing some signs of heightened anxiety.
6 Tips for Coping with Pregnancy Anxiety
Now that we understand what to look for and what may be causing anxiety during pregnancy, let’s look at how we can better cope!
Also, be sure to check out my blog post about Natural Remedies for Anxiety During Pregnancy!
1. Get Moving
One way that you could help alleviate some of these unwanted feelings is to find an activity that gets you moving in a fun and safe way! Whether it’s jogging, walking, hiking, yoga, swimming, or anything in between, find something that gets your heartrate up, releases some endorphins, and gets you focusing on something other than your woes.
Moving your body has countless benefits, even for women who are expecting, and one of those is that it can act as a stress relief! So, find something fun to do and see if it doesn’t help minimize some of your worries!
2. Get Journaling
Journaling is great for any point in your life, but it could be especially wonderful for the 9 months that you are expecting your precious little one! Not only can it help relieve stress and anxieties by writing out your fears and worries and hopes and dreams, it would also be a wonderful gift to share with your child when they get older!
Keeping a record of all your thoughts and feelings throughout your pregnancy can not only be therapeutic for you, but it can be so meaningful for your child to see how much their mom loved, cared for, and worried about them before they even arrived!
Contrary to the first tip for coping with anxiety during pregnancy, it could also help to make sure that you are getting adequate sleep. While restlessness and struggles with sleeping both go with pregnancy and anxiety, making sure that you are resting adequately and getting 7-9 hours of sleep can really make an impact!
4. Talk with Your Doctor
Do yourself a favor and just talk with your doctor or midwife. There’s a lot going on, and it is completely normal to occasionally feel some of the signs listed above. However, if your pregnancy anxiety, also known antenatal anxiety, is persistent to the point that it is starting to affect your quality of life, it may be time to talk with your doctor or a professional.
Your healthcare provider can offer even more tips for coping with your anxiety!
5. Talk with Someone
Your doctor may recommend that you speak with a specialist depending on the severity of your anxiety. However, no matter how many signs you are experiencing, it is always good to talk with someone about what you’re going through.
Whether it’s other friends who are expecting, a Facebook group of moms-to-be, your family, or a professional, taking time to talk with someone is a great way to cope with all that you are going through.
Praying for your future child. Pray for your mental health. Pray about all of your worries and concerns. God is there for you, and talking with Him is not only a way that you can cope with your worries, but also a great for your relationship with God.
You could take time out of each morning or evening to set aside to pray specifically about your anxieties. Or, you could even use my 40-week pregnancy devotional where you can start your day getting focused on what matters most!
It seems like whenever people talk about pregnancy, they tend to focus on all of the wonderful things that are to come. While it is an exciting time and there are amazing things coming, it’s also important to know that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.
Pregnancy, at times, can be hard, and that’s okay. It’s okay to not feel excited all the time. It’s okay to seek help when you’re feeling overwhelmed. By making sure that you are taking care of yourself, you are, in turn, taking care of that amazing miracle that will be here in just a few short months!
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