While everyone feels a bit anxious at times, some people are more prone to struggling with anxiety, and this is especially true during pregnancy. During my first pregnancy, I was anxious from the start. In the early weeks, it felt exhausting worrying about my baby in between appointments, desperate to hear the reassuring sound of her little heartbeat.
While anxiety can look a little different for everyone, if you are constantly worrying, your mind is racing, or you are struggling to eat or sleep normally, anxiety might be to blame. Keep reading for natural anxiety remedies to try while pregnant.
Best Anxiety-Reducing Practices While Pregnant
1. Make time to workout
Regardless of whether or not you are struggling with anxiety, one of the best ways to take care of yourself and your baby during pregnancy is to maintain an active lifestyle! Walking, running (if you didn’t run before you were pregnant, stick to walking), and other cardio workouts are great ways to get your heart rate up and release some endorphins.
Endorphins serve as a natural mood booster and antidepressant, and they can do wonders for helping reduce anxiety! Though not always as cardio-focused, yoga is also a great workout to calm your mind when you are feeling anxious.
2. Fill your mind with truth
Ultimately, much of anxiety is caused by lies that our minds believe. When we are intentional about filling our minds with truth, it leaves less room for these lies to sneak in! Here are a few easy ways to keep truth at the forefront of your mind.
Put together a playlist of songs that fill your heart with hope. Worship music or songs focused on empowerment are a great place to start! If you don’t have the energy to create a playlist for yourself, try this one!
Use sticky notes to fill your home with truth. Write down some Bible verses or truth declarations that encourage your heart and put them around your house or car in places you will see them often (bathroom mirror, kitchen sink, steering wheel, etc.). You could also change the background on your phone to a verse or declaration.
Spend time sitting, breathing deeply, and paying attention to your thoughts. When your mind starts filling with anxious or worried thoughts, choose a Bible verse or quote to replace the negative thoughts. If anxiety is creeping in and you don’t have time or a place to sit in quiet, at least take a few deep breaths!
Read a book
There are endless options for books that can help you in the battle with anxiety, but these are a few that I’ve found to be really helpful.
- Anxious for Nothing, Max Lucado – Full of practical advice, this book walks you through a four-step practice to help combat anxiety each time it strikes.
- Trade Your Cares for Calm, Max Lucado – This is a small book with beautiful artwork and life-giving encouragement for anyone struggling with anxiety and fear.
- Waiting in Wonder, Catherine Claire Larson – This devotional book is not directly written about anxiety, but it does address worries, specifically those common in pregnancy!
3. Stay busy
I don’t know about you, but the more time my mind has to wander, the more I find myself fixated on worries about what might happen. While it is never a good idea to hide from our pain and problems instead of dealing with them, it can still be healthy to fill your life with lots of good things to help you spend less time worrying and perpetuating a cycle of anxious thoughts. Schedule coffee dates or go on a walk with a friend, read a book, or sign up for a webinar about a topic that interests you.
4. Get your thoughts out
Sometimes all you need to stop your spinning mind is a chance to get all of your thoughts out through prayer, calling a friend, or journaling. I often find that once I’ve spoken or written my fears, they tend to lose a little bit of their power over my mind. If you want to try journaling but aren’t sure where to start, a prompted journal might be helpful!
When I’m feeling extra anxious, being grateful is often the last thing I want to do, but it’s also one of the most helpful things I can do. Anxiety fills our minds with thoughts of what bad things could happen, while gratitude brings joy to our hearts, thinking about all the good things that have already happened. Next time you are feeling anxious, try thinking of ten things you are grateful for. The more specific you can be, the better!
5. Get outside
Getting some fresh air and spending time in nature is another great natural remedy for anxiety while pregnant. Even better, you can easily combine this with a walk or run for extra anxiety relief! If you don’t have time to be outdoors very often, at least try to open your car, house, or office windows when possible.
Best Herbs & Supplements For Anxiety
There are a number of studies that suggest magnesium might be helpful for anxiety! Some ways to up your magnesium intake include Epsom salt baths, using magnesium oil or lotion, using magnesium deodorant, or taking a magnesium supplement.
Make sure to check if your prenatal vitamin includes magnesium to ensure that you don’t consume more than the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) for pregnant women. You could also try adding more high-magnesium foods to your diet, like almonds and spinach.
2. Vitamin D
The sunshine vitamin! There are not a lot of non-fortified foods with high quantities of vitamin D (though salmon can be a good option!), but extra vitamin D can be obtained by spending more time outdoors or taking a supplement. Like with magnesium, make sure to check how much you are already taking in your prenatal so you don’t take too much.
3. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm tea is also said to be effective in treating anxiety. While most sources suggest lemon balm is a safe tea for pregnancy, remember to check with your doctor before trying this, or any other herbal teas, as they are not regulated by the FDA. If you aren’t a fan of lemon balm, other soothing teas include chamomile and peppermint.
4. Lavender Essential Oil
Diffusing soothing essential oils is another great way to combat anxiety. Lavender is the perfect gentle and safe oil for pregnancy! If you have other oils that you want to try, Plant Therapy offers a great resource for which oils are safe in pregnancy and/or breastfeeding.
Therapy for Anxiety in Pregnancy
While it is a bit different from the other natural remedies for anxiety that we’ve shared, therapy is another great option to help you manage anxiety in pregnancy. If you haven’t been to therapy or counseling before, it may feel a bit intimidating, but the truth is everyone can benefit from therapy at some point or another in their lives. Just like going to the dentist or the doctor, going to a therapist is another way to be proactive about your whole-body health!
Medications for Anxiety in Pregnancy
If you find yourself stuck in a deep struggle with anxiety in pregnancy after trying some of these natural remedies, don’t beat yourself up over it! Lots of people need the help of medication, and the most important thing you can do to take care of yourself and prepare for your baby is to make sure you are not just physically healthy, but mentally and emotionally healthy as well.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers some helpful information on the safety of medications during pregnancy, but you will, of course, need to talk to your doctor to pursue this option.
If you are getting a prescription through your family doctor, it may also be a good idea to double check with your OB and pediatrician to see which anxiety medications are most compatible with pregnancy. If you plan to breastfeed, you will also want to ensure that the medication you take is compatible with breastfeeding, so that you don’t have to make any immediate changes when baby comes.
Again, you will want to talk to your doctor, but the LactMed Database is a great resource to ensure your anxiety medication (or any other medications) are safe to take while nursing your little one.
Dealing with anxiety during pregnancy is certainly not fun, but remember that you are not alone. Anxiety and other mood disorders are common both in pregnancy and postpartum, and the important thing is that you take action to be as healthy as possible!
As we’ve covered, the good news is, there are LOTS of different natural remedies for anxiety that are safe while pregnant. If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, pause right now, take a couple of deep breaths, and make a mental list of what you are grateful for!
And remember, before you know it your little one will be in your arms. While baby snuggles aren’t a cure for anxiety, they do add extra joy!
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