Coping with Anxiety in Pregnancy

I remember that feeling, as I watched the little pink line appear on the pregnancy test stick…Omigosh, I am pregnant! I was filled with excitement and anxiety.
So many thoughts ran through my head in a flash – Am I ready for this? Wait, is that really a positive test? Do I scream with joy or fear? After a few moments, I realized that the major feeling was joy and I called my husband over to come and look, in awe, at the pink line with me.
If you have found yourself in the same situation, congratulations! Take a breath and know you can make this a magical and trans-formative time for yourself.
If you’re like me, you struggle with anxiety. Well, now is the time to let it go, you don’t want baby feeling any of that negative, anxious energy! I know it is easier said than done, but you can do it. This tiny little human inside of you is depending on you to stay calm and strong so they can grow into a healthy little baby.
I was able to find peace and calm and enjoy my pregnancy, so I would love to share with you My Top 10 Tips for Coping with Anxiety in Pregnancy.
Mantras. Choose a mantra and repeat it often. It can be anything that makes you feel empowered, calm and strong. Repeating mantras are a powerful way to inhibit fear and anxiety and create space for the outcome you desire. Anytime I started to feel anxious about anything, I would block those anxious thoughts and replace them with one of my mantras. I would repeat the mantra until I forgot what I was getting anxiety about.

Here are some example mantras:

“All is well”
“I love my body for growing my baby so well”
“Baby, you are welcome and wanted here, we love you so.

Nutrition. Good nutrition promotes a healthy mind. Start by taking a good prenatal vitamin so you can rest assured you and your baby are getting the necessary nutrients you need. My Integrative Women’s Health doctor recommended Thorne Prenatal vitamins as the best prenatal vitamins out there. They don’t contain any synthetic chemicals and provide the active forms of folate (5-MTHF) and vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) which are essential to growing a healthy baby. These vitamins also have iron that is easy to absorb and won’t cause constipation. Be sure to take the vitamins with food. You can find them at Arcana in Carmel Valley (San Diego) or on-line here. Also, be sure to eat nourishing and clean foods. Fill your plate with whole foods, organic fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water.

Nausea. Nausea gives me anxiety, I would rather just throw up and be done with it. To combat morning sickness, be sure to eat small, frequent snacks throughout the day and keep a handful of almonds or other nuts at your bedside to snack on in the middle of the night. Low blood sugar upon rising in the morning increases nausea. B6, Magnesium and Ginger all help to decrease nausea. I loved ginger tablets (find them at Sprouts) and drinking ginger infused water (find it at Trader Joes) throughout the day. The Thorne Prenatal vitamins also contain the active form of B6.

Relax. You’re going to feel tired in the first and third trimesters. Give yourself extra time to rest and relax.. I diffuse essential oils in my home during the day and the night to decrease anxiety, create a sense of balance and promote relaxation. Diffusing ginger or citrus blends also helps to decrease nausea in addition to decreasing stress. Play around with different blends and choose one that works the best for you. Epsom salt baths are an excellent way to relax at the end of the day and a great way to get in an extra dose of Magnesium, which is great for easing anxiety.

Acupuncture. I can’t recommend acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) enough. I have used acupuncture and TCM to treat many ailments including anxiety. Acupuncture in pregnancy is safe and effective in decreasing anxiety, promoting sleep, balancing your energy and strengthening your pregnancy. It can also be helpful in decreasing back pain and other discomforts experienced during pregnancy. You don’t have to pay a lot for acupuncture, some insurances pay for it or usually your medical Flex Spending Account will cover it. You can also seek out community style acupuncture which is a lot more affordable.

Sip Herbal Tea. I have really enjoyed tea throughout my pregnancy. Drinking tea can be ritualistic and brings about a sense of peace and calming. Earth Mama Organics tea is my favorite pregnancy tea. Their Morning Wellness Tea, as well as the Heartburn Tea, were life savers for me during my first and second trimesters. I also really enjoyed their Peaceful Mama tea to help ease stress and anxiety and promote a good night’s sleep. Not to mention, all Earth Mama Organics products are safe for pregnancy and babies, plus their website has a ton of resources! (Side note: I also used Earth Mama stretch oil on my belly and perineum, plus the nausea spray). I also love Traditional Medicinals Tea and drink their Pregnancy Tea often.

Practice Yoga. Early in my first trimester, I had pre-natal consultation at my local yoga studio to teach me the pregnancy modifications so I could continue to practice yoga safely. Yoga has helped me to stay balanced and calm during pregnancy as well as remind me how powerful my breath can be. For me, yoga is a moving meditation, a way to release anxiety and stay present in the moment with my breath. I would recommend looking for a studio that offers prenatal yoga classes or if unavailable, look for “slow flow” or “relaxing vinyasa flow” or “mellow hatha” type yoga classes – nothing too advanced or strenuous. However, you don’t need to attend a yoga class to reap the benefits – practice in your own home, at your own pace.

Meditate. I am terrible at silent meditation where you have to sit still and think of nothing. I simply cannot think of nothing, my mind is always thinking. That’s why I choose guided mindfulness or guided imagery as a way to meditate. Being guided through a meditation is so helpful for me because I am able to focus and stay present with the voice that is guiding me. I have been enjoying a podcast called Expectful and just signed up for their free trial of guided meditations for pregnancy and motherhood. It’s been extremely helpful in decreasing anxiety! There are tons of free apps you can download to your phone to practice with, try Insight Timer or Calm.

Sleep. Sleeping is my happy place. Sleep is essential for decreasing stress and anxiety. Be sure to get enough sleep and even take naps. We all know when the baby arrives, we won’t sleep much so why not take advantage of being pregnant and get extra sleep. I got a pregnancy pillow at the start of my second trimester to help me get comfortable so I could sleep better. When you are well rested, you are better able to care for yourself and your growing baby.

Find Support. I have continued to see my therapist throughout pregnancy to help me cope with my anxiety. If therapy isn’t for you, try finding a support group or spend time with a group of women who you feel supported by. If you live in San Diego, check out The Birth Education Center. Their website is full of resources and classes. They will also match you up with a Doula or provide you with more information on one. I highly recommend getting a Doula, they are an amazing support person. A great online holistic resource for pregnancy support is the Mother Rising Blog & Website.

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