You’ve probably heard of Postpartum Depression (PPD), and you might even be familiar with Postpartum Anxiety.
However, fewer people discuss what happens when you’re dealing with anxiety during your pregnancy.
As an expectant mother, it’s normal to feel a little nervous sometimes. However, there’s a difference between “new mom” jitters and anxiety that feels crippling and overwhelming.
If that sounds familiar, know that you’re not alone.
Let’s cover a few tips you can start using right away to cope with anxiety while pregnant.
Get Enough Sleep
It’s not always easy to get adequate sleep while pregnant, especially during the third trimester, when everything feels uncomfortable.
However, there’s often a direct correlation between anxiety and a lack of sleep. The less sleep you get, the more anxious you’ll feel. The more anxious you feel, the harder it is to sleep.
You can combat that problem by establishing a healthy sleep routine. Try to go to bed around the same time each night. Avoid eating or drinking (especially caffeine) for several hours before bed and don’t use electronics for at least an hour before you plan on sleeping.
By establishing a nighttime routine, you’ll “train” your mind and body to know it’s time to sleep, and it’ll be easier to get the rest you deserve while calming your anxious thoughts.
Keep a Journal
Sometimes, managing your anxiety is as simple as writing down your worries.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they’re anxious is keeping everything inside. However, if you’re not ready to open up to anyone yet, a journal can serve as the next best thing.
Jotting down your thoughts and feelings can make them seem less overwhelming, and it can help you differentiate reality from what you’re fearing. Additionally, a journal gives you the opportunity to look back on your worries and see how well you’ve managed to cope in the past.
Mindfulness has gotten a lot of attention over the last few years, but it’s much more than some kind of gimmick or buzzword.
When practiced correctly, mindfulness can help you remain in the present. It allows you to let go of any worries you might be struggling with about the past or future. Those thoughts will still come, but instead of holding onto them, you’ll let them pass by like clouds.
Mindfulness has been proven to reduce stress levels and make it easier to manage anxiety. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with fear about the baby or what to expect, even a few minutes of sitting quietly and breathing deeply can make a difference.
It might feel a little strange, at first, but there’s no “perfect” way to do it. Focus on remaining in the present, the sensations around you, and how you feel at that very moment.
Talk to a Professional
When you’re expecting a little one, you’ve got a lot on your plate. From getting a nursery together to doing everything you can to ensure your newborn’s health, it’s understandable to be worried about some things.
However, allowing that worry to take over every aspect of your life isn’t healthy for you or your baby.
Don’t be ashamed of your anxiety. Instead of letting it consume you with guilt, choose to be proactive for yourself and your child and seek the help of a professional. A therapist can help you get to the root of your anxiety, identify your triggers, and make it easier to apply everyday management skills.
By learning how to manage your anxiety now, you’re less likely to struggle with it after your baby is born. If you’re ready to take charge of your negative thoughts, feel free to contact me to set up an appointment for parenting counseling.