Pregnancy is a phase that turns the life of the expecting parents. An exciting time for most mothers and expectant parents, but it also comes with worries and anxiety. With it comes many changes both mentally and physically in the life of the pregnant woman. These changes are new to the expectant mother, so it is always advisable to be aware of them and have a thorough know-how of the steps to be taken to ensure one is healthy. Being healthy is extremely important for the mother as well as the fetus. Bringing a new life in the world is not easy and one needs to be extra cautious and vigilant on the symptoms and report it to the doctor when they feel uneasy. Apart from consultation there are many natural remedies that can be used as well to reduce the anxiety levels in pregnancy at any stage. We are now going to study about the natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy.
What Causes Anxiety During Pregnancy?
Anxiety during pregnancy is common and experienced by the majority of the women. It is nothing abnormal and there are many factors behind it. Due to the physical, hormonal and mental changes, anxiety comes across as a normal reaction. Since all mothers are different and so are their bodies, struggle is experienced by some, while others react differently. Due to this even the intensity of anxiety differs with women as well. What is strange to one, can be disturbing for the other. A woman may not experience anxiety symptoms the same way during different pregnancies.
Doctors always check the symptoms and the mental health of the pregnant women on the prenatal appointment. You should discuss any worries and concerns you have with the doctor so they can provide the best advice on how to reduce or fight them.
The major underlying causes of anxiety during pregnancy are1:
- Excessive stress of the unknown
- Hormonal imbalances
- Changes in the levels of blood sugar, circulation and breathing patterns
Related Reading: 9 Early Warning Signs Of Postpartum Depression To Watch Out For
How Does Anxiety Affect Your Baby?
Anxiety can sound very normal for women during pregnancy. Anxiety can be at any time of the day, pregnancy anxiety at night can be extremely disturbing as it can interrupt sleep and is one of the many causes of sleep deprivation during pregnancy. A research states that there is increased risk of separation disorders, developmental delays, ADHD and ADD, childhood anxiety, premature birth, low weight babies etc. Not only is the anxiety bad for the mother but even for the baby.
Let us have a look on how anxiety can affect the baby:
· Biological effects of anxiety during pregnancy
Research states that there is an important relationship between anxiety and its biological effects. Some of them are
- The height of the infant
- Low birth weight
- Short head circumference
· Mental effects of anxiety during pregnancy-
As per studies, mental anxiety also has a co-relation with many other things like
- Emotional issues
- Mental ailments
- Lack of concentration in babies
- Hyperactive babies
- Cognitive development delays in babies
- Language development problems
- Delay in speech
· Behavioral effects of anxiety during pregnancy
Results show that behavior wise, anxiety during pregnancy can lead to many results like2:
- Irritation and restlessness
- Prolonged crying in the neonatal period
- Weak interaction between mother and the child
- Fear in dealing with life events
- Nervous system ailments
· Medical effects of anxiety during pregnancy
As per research babies of anxious mothers can have some medical issues both in their childhood as well as adulthood. Some of them are:
- Shortness of breath
- Coronary disease in adulthood
- Reduction in heart rate
- It affects the glucose metabolism
- Cleft palate
- Cleft lip
- Brain ailments
- Hypersensitivity to stress
- Child Anxiety
Related Reading: 12 Signs Of Healthy Baby In Womb- Trimester Wise
7 Natural Remedies For Anxiety During Pregnancy
Anxiety is undoubtedly a disturbing phase and even has complications. There are, however, natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy. These remedies reduce feeling anxious during early pregnancy. They can even act as a treatment for anxiety during pregnancy and can even be natural ways to calm anxiety while pregnant3.
The following are a few of them:
1. Workout helps to reduce anxiety
Anxiety or without anxiety, it is advisable that the pregnant lady should take care of herself and the developing baby by keeping fit and having an active lifestyle. Walking, running and cardio workouts during pregnancy help in releasing endorphins which are natural antidepressants and mood alleviators and even help in reducing anxiety. But before getting into physical fitness, it is always recommended to have a word with the doctor and enquire about the time duration that should be used. A better way than cardio is yoga which helps to calm the mind and body. Experts suggest a 10- minute walk during pregnancy has many benefits and can also work well for being healthy.
2. Music is anxiety reliever
There is evidence that music-based interventions can reduce anxiety during pregnancy4. Music helps in calming down the mind so it is best to compile a playlist with soulful songs which could be songs focusing on empowerment and worship songs. Music has a soothing effect on the body as well as emotions. It increases alertness and concentration. Music also helps with stress management and relaxation.
3. Massage therapy
Massage therapy has been demonstrated to be effective during pregnancy. Women who received massage therapy reported decreased depression, anxiety, and leg and back pain. As massage therapy can evidently reduce the cortisol level, it is considered one of the best natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy5.
4. Reading books can help to combat anxiety
Reading devotional books or motivating and inspiring books helps in bringing positivity and calms the mind by reducing anxiety. Reading also refreshes the mind and broadens the thinking so one can reduce anxiety by reading good books. In a research study, after just six minutes of reading, participants displayed slower heart rates, less muscle tension, and lower stress levels6.
Related Reading: 12 Simple Ways to Prevent Pregnancy Nausea
Meditation is a good activity and helps to breathe deeply and be focussed on the thoughts. Meditation calms the mind and soul and keeps worries at bay. It helps to focus the breath and keep the mind free from any worries. A clinical trial has shown that mindfulness-based therapy can effectively treat anxiety and depression.
6. Don’t let yourself go idle
Keeping oneself busy and not letting the mind wander also helps to keep worries away. In a way it is not a good way to hide the problems, instead one should face them. It is, however, considered healthy to indulge in activities to be healthy by mind and body and that way one does not unnecessarily worry of the unknown. One can be busy doing activities, catching up with old friends, going for a walk with a friend or partner, watching a movie etc.
Related Reading: Household Work During Pregnancy – What Do And What To Avoid
7. Spend some time outdoors to calm anxiety
Fresh air always relaxes the mind and staying near nature is a natural way to be relaxed. It is always refreshing to stay close to nature and admire its beauty. One can even go for small walks or jog a bit in the same surroundings. Even if one cannot go outside, one can be outdoors in the balcony, open the windows or car windows etc. One can even plant a room if angry or stressed. Staying close to nature and in fresh air helps to lower the heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension and reduce anxiety.
3 Simple Tips To Prevent Anxiety During Pregnancy
Even though anxiety during pregnancy is not good, there are ways and means to prevent the same. In order to calm anxiety while pregnant there are many simple tips that can be adopted for preventing anxiety during pregnancy. Knowing that anxiety in pregnancy is just not right for the mother and the baby, it is important to adopt measures to calm anxiety while pregnant.
Some of the simple steps Following simple tips that can be adopted are:
- Caffeine– Caffeine intake is not good and caffeinated beverages & a few other drinks that should be avoided during pregnancy as it increases the heart rate, and the blood pressure levels. It also increases the urination frequency, reducing the fluid levels in the body also resulting in dehydration7
- Hydration– Staying hydrated during pregnancy is a very good way to prevent anxiety as dehydration can result in heart palpations. It even reduces stress levels. Dehydration during pregnancy results in higher cortisol or the stress hormones which obstructs to deal with stress
- Sleep– Being sleep deprived can worsen anxiety issues, so sleeping and resting well is very important. Sleep is a powerful stress reducer8. It restores and calms the body, boosts the concentration, alleviates the mood etc
Related Reading: What A Pregnant Woman Wants From Her Husband – 18 Simple Things
These rules ensure to stay calm and a healthy mind and body which helps to keep the worries away. It is also important to dedicate time for oneself to reduce the stress and anxiety as anxiety can have major complications if not treated at the right time.
Oranges have vitamin C that helps to reduce anxiety and a diet rich in that helps in calming it.
Berries on the other hand are loaded with antioxidants that offer protection to the cells from stress and anxiety.
Foods like cakes, cookies, candy, sugary foods, processed meats, coffee, tea, energy drinks, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, gluten and alcohol can worsen the anxiety.
This is a simple process that allows you to change your focus. Begin by taking notice of three things around you (you can choose anything).
Next, take note of the sounds around you. Pick out 3 sounds you hear.
Next, move three parts of your body. You can move fingers, arms, ankles, toes, legs or even tighten and release your shoulders.