Patient Care

Anxiety During Pregnancy

What is Anxiety During Pregnancy?

We all have experienced anxiety and worries before, especially during times of increased danger and stress. Pregnancy, while being a happy event, can also be associated with an increase in uncertainty and lead to anxiety.

It is not uncommon to experience increased anxiety during a pregnancy due to the uncertainties that one may face. Feeling anxious is a normal response when one is facing any threat, danger or uncertainty.

Stress and anxiety in small doses are unavoidable during pregnancy, but if left uncontrolled, they can lead to poor outcomes for the mother and baby. The mother’s lifestyle can be adversely affected by constant and prolonged tension and worry, and the baby’s growth might also be affected by prolonged exposure to stress hormones.

Some Anxiety Disorders include:

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, where recurrent and unpleasant thoughts or images that lead to increased anxiety are experienced. For example, some women may think that their baby has stopped breathing and check on them constantly. In some cases, medication may be required to manage and control the anxiety.
  • Panic Disorder entails episodes of intense anxiety together with a cluster of symptoms like palpitations, increased perspiration, and a feeling of losing control or collapsing. These may occur on their own or on top of increased anxiety.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is generally uncommon. However, a previous childbirth may have been so traumatic that recurrent intrusive thoughts of the birth increase.

There may be a very good reason for your anxiety, but if you are feeling anxious most of the time and for more than two weeks, it is recommended you seek medical advice.

What are the signs & symptoms of Anxiety During Pregnancy?

These may include:

  • Excessive worrying
  • Difficulty in relaxing
  • Increased muscle tension or soreness
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration and/or
  • Sleep problems

Consider seeking medical help if you experience severe symptoms, or if the symptoms have continued for more than two weeks. Examples of symptoms include not feeling like your usual self, and being unable to perform your usual roles at work or at home.

What are the treatment options for Anxiety During Pregnancy?

Firstly, seek a proper doctor's assessment. You may know why you are experiencing anxiety, but you should be assessed for any other possible factors which might increase your risk for having an anxiety disorder.

There are non-medication treatment methods available such as relaxation techniques, cognitive-behavioural therapy, and mindfulness-based therapy are some options.

Find A Doctor

Click here to access our Find A Doctor directory for a list of doctors treating this condition across our NUHS institutions.

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