“Study suggests that Today’s moms-to-be are more likely than women from their mothers’ generation to become depressed while pregnant. Stresses of the modern world may be driving the increase, said the study’s lead author Rebecca Pearson, a lecturer in psychiatric epidemiology at the University of Bristol in the UK.
While postpartum depression is a well-known problem, in the past decade there’s been a paradigm shift to recognizing that symptoms usually appear before the baby is born, usually in the third trimester, said Dr. Priya Gopalan, psychiatrist. The paradigm shift has done away with all the myths that have been perpetuated about pregnancy being a happy time for all moms.
Factors that Pearson suspects are driving higher rates of depression in the younger generation include, “the rise in the female workforce putting pressures on young women to juggle families and careers, social media and the internet , which can increase social comparisons and information overload, financial pressures, and less family and community support and increased pressures on intimate partner relationships.”
“They’re anxious about expectations around motherhood and balancing that with their other obligations,” said Burnett-Zeigler, clinical psychologist “A lot of them are feeling overwhelmed and are worried about who is going to help them. They are worried about whether the baby will be OK and whether they will be OK as moms.”
Another factor is that people don’t live as close to family as they once did, Burnett-Zeigler said.
“A lot are not surrounded by family to support them,” she said. “Even though they have partners, they still feel isolated.”
An expectant mother may have a host of worries: her baby’s health and well-being, her changing body, or even how to support her growing family, some may even be very individual to her. It is, however, important to find ways to cope with the anxiety so that it doesn’t have an effect on her little one’s health.
How to Manage Anxiety During Pregnancy
1. Educate yourself about pregnancy. If this is your first pregnancy, much of your anxiety may come from feeling unprepared. Reading up on pregnancy as well as talking with your doctor and health care providers can help you feel better equipped to handle the next several months.
2. Understand what is making you feel stressed. Write down all the negative thoughts or fears that may be coming to you with regard to what might happen and what do you feel may not go the way you wish for it to. Once you understand your fears and negative thinking try to turn it into positive, to rationalize with your fears.
3. Practice positive thinking. You may find yourself thinking about a lot of worse-case scenarios that only heighten your anxiety. Attack negative thought patterns and “what ifs” with positive thinking.
For example, you say “I’m really worried that my baby will be premature…” To combat these, remind yourself that the majority of pregnancy complications won’t actually happen, but, if they do, you will take the necessary actions to ensure your baby’s health.
4. Learn how to say “no.” Force yourself to take it easy and start bowing out of excessive responsibilities. Say “no” to unreasonable demands on your time.
5. Say “yes” to offers to help. Another way to manage stress during pregnancy is to accept your friends’ and relatives’ offers to assist you. Delegate chores and tasks to those around you. Odds are, they will be happy to lighten your load.
6. Doing Relaxation Exercises. Do deep breathing exercises, Try progressive muscle relaxation, Do visualization exercises (envision a peaceful, stress-free environment), Get a massage.
7. Nurturing Your Health and Wellness. Engage in light exercise (Certain types of yoga, gentle stretching, walking, and swimming are all generally approved for pregnant women), Get enough sleep (Not forcing yourself to sleep; if you can’t go to sleep, get up and do something like reading, journaling, or taking a bath),
If you have trouble managing anxiety and stress on your own, schedule an appointment with a mental health provider. A therapist with experience treating anxiety in pregnancy can work with you to relieve worries and concerns and promote relaxation or/and Join a support group.