This week I am sharing my top 5 tips that will help you to to cope so that you have the best chances of having the calm birth that you deserve.
As part of our fortnightly series ‘Calm Conversations’ over on the Gram, I had a fantastic chat with Manisha Sheth who is a doula and runs Nurturing Mama here in Nottingham.
She specialises in supporting women with high levels of anxiety, just like I do so it felt appropriate to put our heads together to explore this very important topic.
ANXIETY DURING PREGNANCY
Anxiety is something that is very common for all of us to experience at some point in our lives. Statistics show that more 1 in 10 pregnant women have it so it’s important not to feel like a failure because you feel that you cannot cope.
CAUSES OF ANXIETY IN PREGNANCY
Pregnancy is a time of tremendous change! Whilst there is sometimes an expectation that this is supposed to be a time of joy, there are many of you who will be feeling anything but.
Most often, anxiety is caused when your brain goes into overdrive and you spend a lot of time worrying about future events that have not happened yet and are outside of your control. Hormonal changes during your pregnancy will also affect the chemicals in your brain, which also causes anxiety.
SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY IN PREGNANCY
There are a range of symptoms to look out for when it comes to anxious feelings and how these present themselves. The key thing is to notice them, make a note of what is happening and how you are feeling so that the right type of help can be sought if needed. A few things to look out for includes:
- Sleeping Poorly (which does happen in pregnancy, however, note if it starts to become problematic whereby you cannot sleep at all due to worrying so much)
- Feeling agitated or irritable
- Unable to concentrate on anything for very long
- Excessive worrying, especially about your health and that of your baby
- Feeling out of control
Mild cases of anxiety usually don’t require any specific treatment, though it’s a good idea to keep a track of your feelings with a view to mentioning it to your doctor or care provider at the soonest opportunity.
Here are my 5 top tips for reducing anxiety during pregnancy
- 1 Find Rest and Relaxation! You are growing a human and that can be exhausting! Be kind to yourself and find ways to get as much rest as you can muster. If you need to sneak in a cheeky nap in order to top up your sleep hours then so be it.
- 2 Write it down. Writing out your thoughts and feelings is a great way to process what is going on in your mind as well as acting as a release. Writing down your thoughts and feelings onto a page can also help to give you some much needed perspective and will help you to organise your thoughts.
- 3 Get Moving Physically. Moving your body and doing physical activities will help to release endorphins. Endorphins help to lower your stress levels and increase feelings of happiness and calm. Can you do some pregnancy yoga, go for a swim or take a nice long walk in nature? Trust me, I do this too because it just makes me feel much better. It can work for you too, decide what you like and just do it!
- 4 Get Moving Mentally. What I mean by this is that there are additional ways that you can increase your endorphins without having to work up a big sweat! Work with your mind and find quiet and stillness to bring your awareness back into your body. You can do this by:
- Deep Breathing Exercises
- Massage Therapy
For example, doing some deep breathing exercises will help provide more oxygen to your brain and stimulate your nervous system, allowing you to feel immediate calm in your body and mind.
- 5 Do a Hypnobirthing Course. I have to include this one for obvious reasons! Doing a course will help to provide you with the information and skills you need that will enable you to feel more confident and in control. Knowledge is power right? So arm yourself with knowledge and be prepared. My courses teach you all about the different stages of labor, what your body is doing, what to expect at each turn and more! Learning this will help demystify the process and will give you (and your partner if you have one) the space to ask lots of questions.
So….to conclude, please remember that anxiety during pregnancy is very common. You are not alone in how you are feeling so please reach out and speak to someone you trust and/or your care provider.
Have a go at trying some stress management techniques I have outlined above and remember to note when your symptoms begin to escalate and tell the GP.
If you are on Instagram, then please do head over there to watch the full episode with myself and Manisha where we go a little bit deeper into this subject for you, click here to watch.
If you would like to book a course with me then please head over to the course booking page where you can see all the dates for courses that are coming up and book on. You can hold your spot by paying a deposit of £50. If you’re not sure then please do book a FREE 30 minute 1 to 1 taster with me to see if Hypnobirthing is right for you.