How This Helps

How can you deal with stress naturally during pregnancyThe first step may be to discover your triggers and causes. Is there anything special that makes you nervous? Pay close attention to what's happening when you feel stressed out. Then try to relax by one or more of these ideas.

Sleep & Rest -- Exhaustion or irregular sleeping habits may result in increased negative emotions, such as stress. Make sure you are allowing yourself plenty of sleep.

Healthy diet: A well-balanced diet can help reduce anxiety, in addition to keeping you and your baby healthy.

Light exercise: Thirty minutes of moderate to moderate exercise a few days a week is tremendously beneficial. It may also help lower your cortisol levels, the hormone that causes anxiety.

Yoga & Meditation: Meditating can help clear your mind and decrease your stress levels.

If your stress levels are still high and become unbearable, you might choose to look for a therapist, to explore potential underlying issues beneath your nervousness, in addition to healthy ways to deal with your feelings. Consult your doctor as there are many medications that are safe to take while you're pregnant. Stress is normal during pregnancy, and there's nothing wrong with seeking treatment, in whatever manner works best for you.

What causes anxiety during pregnancy?

During the nine months of gestation, pregnant mothers are likely to experience conditions of psychological distress, episodes of depression, stress, and anxiousness. [1] The state of anxiety and stress is prevalent in women during the prenatal period. The duration of pregnancy is itself perceived to be a stressful one as it comes with various physical and psychological challenges for the woman's body to adapt. The major contributory factors for this stress and anxiety is the fear of childbirth and pain during labor. It is also related to fear, worries, irritation, loss of interest, and low energy levels. [2].

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Why anxiety is not good during pregnancy?

Anxiety during pregnancy effects

Anxiety is considered a risk factor for pregnant mothers as it is related to adverse outcomes. In recent years, the physical care of a pregnant woman has seen significant improvements, but the same cannot be said about the emotional care and support. Many prospective studies have revealed that an anxious mother is susceptible to adverse effects of neural developments. [3] A study was carried out on pregnancy anxiety, and it was found that it is a distinctive syndrome. Pregnancy anxiety is different from the anxiety condition a normal human being faces. According to this study, the three-dimensional anxiety model was based on anxiety regarding pregnancy, childbirth, and hospitalization. [4] A population-based community study was done to estimate the prevalence of maternal anxiety. The results indicated that the anxiety symptoms start to kick in in the first trimester of the pregnancy. Around 15.6% of women under the age of 25 are at a high risk of anxiety symptoms in the initial months. Women with the background of little education, unemployment, nicotine addiction, and history of psychiatric disorders are vulnerable to anxiety symptoms during pregnancy. [5]

 

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Sources of anxiety in pregnancy

Causes of anxiety during pregnancy

Anxiety during pregnancy is prevalent in younger women lying between the range of 18 to 25 years. The main reason that can be traced back to the onset of the condition is related to the newborn and the pregnant woman herself. The causes are further bifurcated as follows: 

● The possible disorders of neonatal developments

● Birth trauma caused to the newborn baby

● Breathing problem faced by the newborn immediately after birth

● Vaginal trauma

● Complications or risks during pregnancy

● The first breastfeeding will be successful or not

● Birth stimulations

● Physical changes of body during pregnancy

● They will be a good mother or not

All these anxiety traits are due to physical and hormonal changes but evolve into a mental disorder if the response is exaggerated and starts to impact daily life. [6]

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Stress during pregnancy

Stress in pregnancy

Stress does not have a much different impact than anxiety on the health of a woman during pregnancy. If a pregnant woman is exposed to stressful conditions in the prenatal period, it hampers the mental development of the newborn baby. A finding stated that around 17% variance in the cognitive ability of an infant was an outcome of prenatal stress. [7]

Stress during pregnancy is harmful to the infant as it is known to delay the mental and motor development of the baby. The prenatal maternal stress can be a risk factor for the healthy development in daily activities of the baby resulting in a delayed balance reaction, slow response speed, and lack of coordination. [8]

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What causes stress during pregnancy?

Reasons for stress during pregnancy 

If you're stressed, you might encounter difficulty sleeping, headaches, racing pulse, and obsessive thoughts. It's essential to not forget anxiety and stress does not affect you alone. Research suggests that consistent high-stress levels might affect the growth of your baby. But, there are a number of ways to deal with stress.

Research suggests that consistent high-stress levels might affect the growth of your baby. But, there are a lot of strategies to deal with anxiety, obviously, without resorting to anxiolytics.

The incidence of maternal anxiety and stress is quite common based on data collected from 11 countries and has been estimated that around 36% of pregnant women have faced more than three stressful phases in their life before childbirth. The possible reasons for stress during pregnancy are as follows:

● Educational and income status of the mother or the family

● Use of drugs and chronic health problems

● Domestic violence, separation from a partner, and marital issues

● Smoking and alcohol consumption

● Complicated related to pregnancy 

● The notion that pregnancy will adversely impact the career of the mother

● Low socioeconomic status of the family

All these factors contribute to maternal stress and affect the growth and development of the infant. [9]

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Natural remedies for stress & anxiety in pregnancy

How to combat stress and anxiety during pregnancy with natural remedies

There are a number of natural treatments & remedies that are helpful to keep stress and anxiety at bay during pregnancy. Some of the commonly used natural stress-relieving methods are as follows: 

- Massage therapy: A pregnant lady undergoing massage therapy sessions twice a week has reported a reduced feeling of anxiousness and leg pain after the first session. The massage sessions help the anxiety hit pregnant ladies to lift up their mood, induce better sleep, and less back pain. The effect of the massage is also reflected with a drop-down in the level of norepinephrine. The low level of norepinephrine facilitates smooth labor and fewer chances of premature childbirth. [10]

- Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy has been a part of traditional medicine to reduce stress and pain during labor. The best result of aromatherapy in pregnant women is observed with the use of lavender essential oil. As anxiety is closely related to the fear of childbirth and labor pain, aromatherapy helps to improve the mental state of the pregnant woman. The lavender oil reduces the cortisol secretion and increases the level of serotonin in the body. It helps to reduce anxiety and alleviate the mood of the mother. [11]

- Yoga: Yoga and physical activity are one of the best ways to relieve stress and anxiety during pregnancy. It helps to fight the symptoms of depression and is a preferred form of natural remedy in pregnant women. Prenatal yoga is safe throughout the duration of pregnancy and also helps in easier childbirth. [12]

- Meditation: Meditation is a form of therapy that has been for a long time to help stay focused and reduce stress. The calming effects of meditation can help ease anxiety during pregnancy. The central part of the many meditation practices is controlling the breath. This means focusing on allowing your body to locate its own natural, relaxed rhythm through deep breathing. There are several other kinds of meditation, making it customizable to what works best for you. For people who want more education for their pregnancy meditation practice, you will find in-house team guided meditations, meditation programs, and yoga courses that incorporate meditation. Each has its own particular benefits and methods to promote a calmer mind and body.

- Exercise: Physical activity enables your body to release endorphins, which function as a pure de-stressor for your system. Based upon the stage of your pregnancy, your physician may recommend specific exercises that work better than others. Stretching, walking, or swimming can do wonders to lift your spirits and get the blood circulating. Find a form of exercise that you could stick with during the week. Join a class or ask a friend to walk around the park or nearby hiking trail with you. Do whatever motivates you.

- Communication: When in doubt, talk it out. The concerns that creep into your head while you're getting ready for the arrival of your little one can feel overwhelming. Talk to a trusted friend, spouse, or a mom-to-be group to talk about your thoughts and why you're feeling anxious. It can allow you to feel connected to people who understand what you are going through. Whether they're pregnant women or not, they could have tips for how they have coped, which will help you also.

When we do not talk about what's bothering us, stress and anxiety continue to accumulate in an unhealthy manner. Share how you are feeling and identify where the feelings of depression or anxiety are rooted.

- Sleep and rest: Make the most comfortable space for sleeping. The ideal sleeping conditions for a pregnant woman are cool, dark spaces with limited sound. Lowering the temperature in your bedroom can immediately make a difference. The more regular sleep patterns it is possible to maintain, the better it is for your general health and well-being. Start a relaxing night routine. A couple of hours before bed, begin to end up with self-care activities. These may entail giving yourself a mini facial, watching a favorite show, or listening to music.

- Positive thinking: Taking tasks one at a time and see how much progress you can make each day, week, or month. It is more than you think. Turn your focus to being thankful for your pregnancy and what a new addition to the family will feel like. Consider how to make happy memories throughout your pregnancy, such as beginning a baby book or going on a babymoon with your spouse. You can not avoid anxiety or wish it away, but you can consciously train your brain to think more positive thoughts. This sort of cognitive-behavioral treatment takes practice, but the more you can shift your focus to happy thoughts, the less stress, anxiety, or depression you'll begin to feel.

As you understand how to calm anxiety while pregnant, refer back to the techniques which help you the most. Listen to what your body should feel better. Some days it can be a few quiet moments to yourself, while others might call for a meaningful conversation with a buddy. Switch to these natural remedies and never feel like you must struggle alone.

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Summary

Pregnancy is related to hormonal and physical changes to the body of the pregnant woman. Pregnant women are likely to face anxiety and stress issues in the first trimester of their gestation period. There are a number of factors that contribute to the factor like birth-related trauma, social issues, pregnancy complications, etc. Prenatal anxiety can cause adverse health complications in newborn babies like loss of coordination, impaired balance behavior, etc. Natural remedies like massage therapy, regular yoga, physical exercise, and aromatherapy are helpful to keep anxiety and stress at bay during pregnancy.

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References10

1. Colman, A. D., & Colman, L. L. (1971). Pregnancy: The psychological experience (pp. 1-39). New York: Herder and Herder.

2. Staneva, A. A., Bogossian, F., & Wittkowski, A. (2015). The experience of psychological distress, depression, & anxiety during pregnancy: A meta-synthesis of qualitative research. Midwifery, 31(6), 563-573.

3. Glover, V. (2014). Maternal depression, anxiety, and stress during pregnancy & child outcome; what needs to be done. Best practice and research Clinical obstetrics & gynecology, 28(1), 25-35.

4. Huizink, A. C., Mulder, E. J., de Medina, P. G. R., Visser, G. H., & Buitelaar, J. K. (2004). Is pregnancy anxiety a distinctive syndrome?. Early human development, 79(2), 81-91.

5. Rubertsson, C., Cross, M., Hellström, J., & Sydsjö, G. (2014). Anxiety in early pregnancy: prevalence & contributing factors. Archives of women's mental health, 17(3), 221-228.

6. Deklava, L., Lubina, K., Circenis, K., Sudraba, V., & Millere, I. (2015). Causes of anxiety during pregnancy. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 205, 623-626.

7. Bergman, K., Sarkar, P., O'CONNOR, T. G., Modi, N., & Glover, V. (2007). Maternal stress during pregnancy predicts cognitive ability & fearfulness in infancy. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 46(11), 1454-1463.

8. Huizink, A. C., Robles de Medina, P. G., Mulder, E. J., Visser, G. H., & Buitelaar, J. K. (2003). Stress during pregnancy is associated with a developmental outcome in infancy. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44(6), 810-818.

9. Kingston, D., Heaman, M., Fell, D., Dzakpasu, S., & Chalmers, B. (2012). Factors associated with perceived stress & stressful life events in pregnant women: findings from the Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey. Maternal and child health journal, 16(1), 158-168.

10. Field, T., Hemandez-Reif, M., Hart, S., Theakston, H., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (1999). Pregnant women benefit from massage therapy. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 20(1), 31-38.

11. Makvandi, S., Mirteimoori, M., Mirzaiinajmadi, K. M., & Sadeghi, R. (2016). A review of randomized clinical trials on the effect of aromatherapy with lavender on labor pain relief. Nurse Care Open Acces J, 1(3), 1-6.

12. Davis, K., Goodman, S. H., Leiferman, J., Taylor, M., & Dimidjian, S. (2015). A randomized controlled trial of yoga for pregnant women with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 21(3), 166-172.

13. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961

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