Anxiety about getting pregnant: a problem that reverberates

Currently, problems when trying to conceive are more common that a few decades ago; this is probably mainly due to the tendency to postpone the timing of planning for the onset of the first pregnancy, as fertility declines significantly in the last stage of youth.

However, the reasons why many women fail to get pregnant go beyond the purely biological and fall within the realm of psychology. In such cases there is usually an emotional barrier to consider: anxiety.

    Pressure and anxiety to get pregnant

    Anxiety is more or less present in most psychological problems. For example, a high percentage of people diagnosed with depression also suffer from anxiety disorders (although apparently the two seem to operate on very different, almost opposite logics), and the same is true of disorders such as substance abuse, insomnia, post-traumatic stress, etc. .

    This is because the sphere of influence of excessive anxiety is so wide that it also covers issues considered to be of a medical or biological nature: the difficulty of conceiving a son or a daughter, the case before us, is an example of this.

    Why is this happening? The first thing to be clear about is that the distinction between psychological issues and medical type issues is fundamentally a mirage. A mirage that helps us understand reality through simplified explanations, but a mirage at the end and in the head.

    Almost everything that happens in a person’s living body has a biological facet and another psychologicalBecause the two are interconnected realities, they are part of the same thing. However, sometimes we want to focus more on one of them. This is why it is understood that anxiety problems have biological and psychological implications, and both promote the emergence of difficulties in a successful pregnancy.

    Anxiety-related biological problems to conceive

    Here we will focus on the case of people who, although they do not have medical conditions that prevent them from having a baby, find it difficult to conceive mainly due to anxiety.

    When we feel very anxious, our body mobilizes resources to react as quickly as possible to possible dangers or opportunities that could appear at any time in our path. this it does so by sacrificing functions that bring benefits in the medium and long termAnd of course, the possibility of having a baby is one of them.

    So, for example, it has been seen that even in gestational processes that do not end in miscarriage, the existence of high levels of anxiety during pregnancy significantly increases the risks of developing health problems such as preeclampsia. , as well as having premature births, such as having babies with less weight than normal and / or with a smaller head circumference, or more likely to develop psychopathologies and psychiatric disorders as they grow older. they grow up, for example.

    In the same way, the presence of high levels of anxiety significantly weakens the immune system and gives way to abnormal hormone production, Which have very varied effects both on the psychological level and on the functioning of organs and cellular tissues distributed throughout the body. The consequences of this situation are to some extent unpredictable and vary widely from person to person, but are usually associated with wear and tear on health, which affects fertility and the viability of pregnancies.

    Psychological problems conceiving related to anxiety

    As we’ve seen, excessive anxiety has a biological side to it, and now is the time to learn its psychological side a little better when it comes to how it affects a baby’s ability to conceive.

    The first aspect to keep in mind is that anxiety is a phenomenon capable of putting us in a loop of problematic behaviors that predispose us to continue to feel anxious. In that case, a clear example is of a woman who thinks that it will be very difficult for her to have a baby and because of this she begins to stress and trying to control all aspects of her life to try to conceive and make the pregnancy go well. The mixture of hyper-vigilant attitude and fear of failure brings these people closer to not achieving their goals due to unintentional self-sabotage.

    Example they could happen to us. All of these experiences not only cause a continuous increase in anxiety, but they are in themselves problems that on their own can reduce the chances of a successful pregnancy.

    On the other hand, in the case of women, we must not forget a potential source of stress that comes almost “standard”: social pressure and the expectations of loved ones and loved ones, Eager for everything to go perfectly. The role of women is strongly linked to reproduction and the ability to have children, so for many women the possibility of not being able to have children is almost a stressful existential crisis.

      What to do?

      The ideal for preventing pressure and stress from interfering with the ability to have a viable pregnancy is benefit from the professional support of psychologists. However, in addition to this, there are a number of habits and routines that generally help if we incorporate them into our daily life. Here is a summary:

      • Don’t try to block out all negative thoughts
      • Practice relaxation techniques daily
      • Rearrange the schedule to have time to rest
      • Follow a defined sleep schedule
      • Trust common sense to avoid risks
      • Limit the time you spend reading about pregnancy
      • Maintain hobbies beyond motherhood and pregnancy theme

      Are you looking for psychological support?

      If you are having difficulty conceiving and believing that some of the causes are psychological in nature, I invite you to contact me. I am a psychologist with many years of experience using the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention Model, one of the most effective and scientifically validated. You can count on my professional support both in my office located in Madrid and through online video call sessions. On this page you will find more information about my way of working and my contact details.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Dunkel Schetter, C. and Tanner, L. (2012). Anxiety, Depression, and Stress in Pregnancy: Implications for Mothers, Children, Research, and Practice. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 25 (2): p. 141 – 148.
      • Martini, J. and. at. (2013). Maternal anxiety disorders before conception, psychopathology in pregnancy, and early infant development: a prospective-longitudinal study. Women’s Mental Health Archives, 16 (6): pages 549-560
      • Shahhosseini, Z .; Pourasghar, M .; Khalilian, A. and Salehi, F. (2015). A review of the effects of anxiety during pregnancy on the health of children. Socio-medical subject, 27 (3): pages 200-202.

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