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Anxiety during pregnancy: causes, symptoms and how to manage it

Anxiety during pregnancy: causes, symptoms and how to manage it

June 24, 2024

A state of anxiety is a warning reaction that the body experiences in the face of a threat. However, these alert states can also occur in the face of vital changes of great importance, such as bringing a baby into the world.

Anxiety during pregnancy is a fairly common phenomenon, especially in first-time mothers . This article will describe its symptoms, effects and causes, as well as a series of tips to avoid or manage it in the best possible way.

Anxiety and its effects on pregnancy

Although most women experience pregnancy as a fascinating experience on a general level, both the physical changes and the vital changes that will occur can lead to anxiety states in the pregnant woman .

It is common that throughout the pregnancy process, begin to appear doubts, fears and certain needs that, in many cases, give way to recurring thoughts and concerns. Which, if not handled correctly, can end in anxiety pictures.

In this way, just as states of anxiety have a series of consequences on the body of the person who suffers, it is logical to think that it can also cause unwanted effects on the baby. Some studies have revealed that the anxiety suffered during pregnancy can cause the following effects in the child:

  • Premature delivery
  • Low birth weight
  • Reduced attention span in the child
  • Long-term emotional and behavioral problems

Therefore, although it is natural to experience certain levels of anxiety during pregnancy, it is of vital importance to know when it comes to normal concerns and when we are facing a more serious anxiety picture.

When it comes to the second case, it is recommended to visit a doctor or a specialized professional, in order to combat the symptoms, reduce stress levels and enjoy a healthy and affable pregnancy.


As mentioned above, it is very important to know how to recognize the symptoms of anxiety during pregnancy. Below is a list of symptoms related to this type of anxiety . Likewise, it is recommended that, in the doubt of whether or not some of these symptoms are suffered, the future mother should consult a professional.

Characteristic symptoms of anxiety during pregnancy:

  • Excessive worry
  • Problems controlling the recurrent thoughts
  • Rumination of thoughts
  • Tremors or small seizures
  • Muscle pain
  • Paresthesia (feeling of muscles or limbs asleep)
  • Oral dryness
  • Cold, wet hands
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tachycardia
  • Feeling of choking or tightness in the chest
  • Vertigos
  • Vision in tunnel
  • Strange perception of the environment, unreality
  • Nausea outside the usual
  • Stomach ache
  • Diarrhea
  • Swallowing problems

Also, sometimes the well-known "nest syndrome" can originate. This syndrome is an unconscious defense mechanism in which the future mother carries out a series of behaviors that help calm anxiety.

These behaviors appear especially at the end of pregnancy and consists of an obsessive need to prepare everything related to the child . Fix the baby's room, obsessively clean any space in the house, etc .; thus generating a level of physical activity not recommended for the stage of pregnancy in which the mother is.


Throughout the pregnancy, the woman feels a series of personal needs and affection that differ from those felt by other people. If to this the great amount of corporal, organic and vital changes that the gestation supposes to him is added, it is in a certain way understandable that feelings of anxiety begin to arise.

Some of the main causes or thoughts that can generate an anxious picture in pregnant women are:

  • In new mothers are common feelings of fear of inexperience, as well as fear of not being able to adequately correspond to the role of mother.
  • Fear of dying or suffering serious consequences after childbirth.
  • Excessive concern about the health status of the baby.
  • Decrease in self-esteem caused by physical changes and feelings of vulnerability.
  • Stress caused by external demands that accompany pregnancy.

As it is repeated on numerous occasions throughout the article, It is natural to experience moments or situations of nervousness during pregnancy . However, if the symptoms persist over time and interfere with the daily life of the woman, it will be necessary for her to request the help of a professional.

Tips to manage anxiety during pregnancy

As is logical, the ideal to manage anxiety is to carry out a series of behaviors and activities that directly prevent their appearance. To get it, It is essential to be able to recognize the moments or situations in which the woman experiences the appearance of recurrent, negative or obsessive thoughts , in order to control them and focus their attention on others more comforting or another activity.

Some behaviors or tasks that can be carried out once the symptoms of anxiety appear are:

1. Breathing exercises

Performing breathing exercises, in which deep and calm inhalations and exhalations are carried out, will help the pregnant woman to slow down the palpitations and calm the symptoms of anxiety.

Through abdominal breathing, the woman will avoid hyperventilation, as well as dizziness and paresthesias.

2. Rides or light physical activity

Going for a walk while performing deep breaths, performing exercises or gymnastics for pregnant women or even yoga are extremely effective in reducing anxious symptoms.

In addition, these activities help to keep the mind occupied and divert attention from worries and recurrent negative thoughts.

3. Have the help of others

Requesting support from other people, such as a couple, family members or friends with whom a woman feels confident enough to express her feelings and concerns, is essential to provide a healthy outlet for anxiety.

4. For negative thoughts

To manage to stop the alluvium of negative thoughts proper of the states of anxiety by means of mental exercises or through activities of mindfulness, will help the woman to calm the sensations of overwhelm and anxiety.

5. Sleep and eat properly

If this advice is already useful in people who do not go through a gestation process, it is reasonable to think that with more reason it helps the pregnant woman. Carrying a complete and healthy diet, as well as resting all the recommended sleep hours, will help reduce emotional stress.

6. Have moments for the same

Finding relaxing moments for yourself and being able to get away from worries is essential to increase both your own health and your baby's. Finding the time for a good relaxing bath, to read or listen to music without any interference are small pleasures that will help make pregnancy much more bearable.

Coping with Anxiety and Depression During Pregnancy (June 2024).

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