For many women, the early days of pregnancy feel exciting and almost surreal. However, that excitement can quickly fade away as your brain starts filling with all those little "What Ifs" and worries about the future. Sometimes those worries can spiral into prenatal anxiety — a condition one in five expectant moms deal with.
Luckily, you can ease that prenatal anxiety with these five tips and coping skills.
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5 Talk It Out
When your mind fills with worries, the natural tendency is to close yourself off and keep those fears to yourself. Unfortunately, though, this doesn't help you deal with the anxiety or provide any sort of release. In many cases, keeping those worries to yourself can actually make them feel worse over time.
If you're experiencing prenatal anxiety, one of the best things you can do is find someone to talk to about it. Whether it's your partner, your mom, or another loved one, find someone you feel comfortable talking to who can offer you support. You may find that simply sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone else reduces your prenatal anxiety to a manageable level.
Also, don't be afraid to seek out help from a therapist if needed. They are specially trained to help people with anxiety work through it, and some even focus exclusively on prenatal and postnatal care.
4 Get Active
Physical activity releases endorphins, and endorphins can lower stress levels within the body. Endorphins work as a natural painkiller and also reduce levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body. In other words, exercise can help you ease your prenatal anxiety in a safe, healthy way.
The experts at Healthline recommend activities like walking, jogging, or yoga for expecting moms. However, any type of physical activity that your doctor says is safe to perform while pregnant is great. The important thing is that you're moving and releasing those endorphins to lower those anxiety levels!
Studies show that just five minutes of physical activity can help lower your anxiety levels, so why not give it a try?
3 Use Relaxation Techniques
Sometimes anxiety can cause you to feel panicked or out of control. You may feel like your mind is racing along with your heart, and you may find it difficult to breathe. In those moments, you need easy-to-implement activities that will lower your heart rate and calm your racing mind — like relaxation techniques.
The experts at Tommy's say activities like paced breathing or guided meditation can really help ease your prenatal anxiety when it feels out of control. These activities are simple to do anywhere, and they require as little as five minutes to test out. You can find many free guided meditations online, or you can simply try breathing in for 4 and out for 4 if you need something easy to do.
2 Rest Up
Many pregnant women struggle with sleep, especially the closer they get to their due date. Unfortunately, inadequate rest can wreak havoc on the brain and cause an uptick in prenatal stress as a result.
As an expectant mom, you should try to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night. If you find that hard, though, try to schedule in time for a nap or two during the day to help you balance out your rest. Naps can also be a great way to lower your anxiety levels at the moment as sleep naturally calms your body.
If you just can't seem to get comfortable or fall asleep at all, the team at What to Expect says some sleep aids are safe to take during pregnancy, so you could try those after consulting with your doctor.
1 Study, Study, Study
Sometimes prenatal anxiety has a specific cause, like a lack of knowledge about childbirth or infancy. This isn't surprising given that many expectant moms have never been through this process before. If you feel like your prenatal anxiety is caused by a lack of knowledge or fear of the unknown, don't panic: You can arm yourself with knowledge and overcome this.
Most of the time, knowledge is power and reading up on what is worrying you can help ease your fears. If you're worried about childbirth itself, you can even take a childbirth class to learn more about the process and the worst-case scenarios. If you're worried about caring for your newborn, ask a friend or family member if you can watch their baby for a day to get some practice in. No matter what you're worried about, chances are there's a way to study the topic and gain confidence before your baby arrives.
Pregnancy and childbirth can seem scary, especially in the early stages. If you're experiencing prenatal anxiety, though, it doesn't have to rule your life. Test out these five simple suggestions and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy — you deserve it.
READ NEXT: Becoming Pregnant After A Miscarriage: Ways To Manage Fear
Sources: Healthline, What To Expect, Tommy's
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