Anxiety During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, it is normal for parents - whether they are having their first child or their fifth - to experience varying levels of anxiety. Worries about the health of the child, the status of the pregnancy, and the short- and long-term impacts on them and the family as a whole are all common concerns during these critical ten months. However, when this anxiety becomes excessive, when it impacts a person's ability to concentrate or function at home or work, it is called antenatal anxiety and is worthy of consideration by a medical professional.
There are a variety of symptoms of antenatal anxiety: a frequent sense of panic or dread, obsessing about different concerns both rational and irrational, and generally losing interest in things one previously enjoyed, among many others. Physical symptoms can also manifest in antenatal anxiety, including increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, and muscle tension; more than the psychological impact, these physical symptoms can impact both the parent and the unborn child. It is important that women who experience antenatal anxiety seek treatment for their symptoms, as studies have shown that they are more likely to experience postpartum depression if anxiety occurs during gestation. Studies have also suggested that long-term anxiety during a pregnancy can result in a greater risk for premature birth, low birth weight, and emotional or behavioral problems as a child grows up. Together with one's physician, a parent can develop and appropriate treatment plan that provides relief of symptoms while still maintaining the safety of the child.