by Dr. Julie Meyer
Pregnancy can be an exciting, yet overwhelming time. It is not uncommon for anxiety to accompany pregnancy and often peak in third trimester or after delivery. With anxiety, you may experience feelings such as: nervousness, excessive worrying, irritability or agitation, concentration or relaxation difficulty, shortness of breath, tension and pain, racing heartbeats, dizziness and/or lightheadedness.
There is so much to think about when preparing to have a baby and even after you bring your baby home. Feeding, sleeping, routines, finances, work, childbirth, supplies/baby items, prenatal wellbeing/baby’s health after birth, vaccinations, family dynamics and changes, parenting, insurance, college planning and developmental milestones are just some of the things that may be on a pregnant woman or new mom’s mind.
Some of the best tips we give our moms-to-be to help lessen or prevent anxiety during pregnancy and after delivery include the following:
- Take Care of Yourself: exercise as tolerated, get an adequate amount of rest/sleep, try to maintain a healthy diet, practice relaxation/meditation/breathing techniques
- Talk to Someone: let your doctor know about your concerns, fill in a trusted friend/family member, utilize prenatal/new parent support groups
- Educate Yourself: research available community resources, take a class in childbirth/breastfeeding/parenting, learn about car seat installation/safety, navigate your insurance/financial resources for underinsured
- It Takes a Village: ask for help and accept offers to assist with meal preparation, housework, child care, etc. Take time to get away occasionally to recharge and regroup, find a pediatrician/family practice provider for your baby that you are comfortable with and surround yourself with people in the same life stage
- Remember Yourself: don’t forget that you matter too! Keep up with your interests, or pursue new interests – this will all help you continue growing as an individual
Anxiety left untreated can lead to poor obstetric outcomes, inadequate nutrition/rest, increased alcohol/drug use, deficits in mother-infant bonding or disruptions in the family environment. It is important to recognize when your symptoms are interfering with daily activities so that you can be in your best health for yourself and your new baby.
Remember, we are here to help and if you have any questions on what is normal or how to seek additional help, please call us at (920) 749-4000.