Anxiety during pregnancy: causes, symptoms and how to deal with it

A state of anxiety is a warning reaction the body experiences in the face of a threat. However, these states of alertness can also occur in the face of major vital changes such as the delivery of a baby.

Anxiety during pregnancy is a fairly common occurrence, especially among teenage 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

While most women experience pregnancy as an overall fascinating experience, the physical changes and vital changes that will occur can lead to anxiety states in the pregnant woman.

It is common for doubts, fears, and certain needs to begin to appear throughout the pregnancy process, which in many cases gives way to recurring thoughts and worries. Which, if not managed properly, can lead to anxiety disorders.

So, just as anxiety states have a number of consequences on the body of the person who suffers from them, it is logical to think that they can also have unwanted effects on the baby. Some studies have shown that anxiety during pregnancy can cause the following effects in children:

  • premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Less attention in children
  • Long-term emotional and behavioral problems

Therefore, while feeling certain levels of anxiety during pregnancy is a natural thing, it is vitally important to know how to distinguish between normal worries and more severe anxiety situations.

In the case of the second case, it is recommended to consult a doctor or a specialist to combat the symptoms, reduce stress and enjoy a healthy and peaceful pregnancy.


As mentioned above, knowing how to recognize the symptoms of an anxiety disorder during pregnancy is very important. Here is a list of symptoms related to this type of anxiety.. It is also recommended that, if in doubt as to whether or not you are suffering from any of these symptoms, the pregnant woman consult a professional.

Characteristic symptoms of anxiety during pregnancy:

  • excessive worry
  • Problems controlling recurring thoughts
  • Ruminating thoughts
  • Tremors or small convulsions
  • muscle pain
  • Paresthesia (feeling of numbness in muscles or limbs)

  • dry mouth
  • Cold and wet hands
  • excessive sweating
  • tachycardias
  • Feeling of suffocation or tightness in the chest
  • fear of heights
  • Tunnel vision
  • Strange perception of the environment, unreality
  • Unusual nausea
  • An upset stomach
  • diarrhea
  • Swallowing problems

It can also sometimes lead to the famous “nest syndrome”. This syndrome is an unconscious defense mechanism in which the pregnant woman adopts a series of behaviors that help her calm her anxiety.

These behaviors appear especially at the end of pregnancy and consist of an obsessive need to prepare everything concerning the child.. Fixing the baby’s room, obsessively cleaning any space in the house, etc. thus generating a level of physical activity not recommended at the stage of pregnancy in which the mother is.

the causes

Throughout pregnancy, a woman experiences a series of personal needs and affection that differ from those experienced by others. If we add to this the large number of bodily, organic and vital changes that pregnancy involves, it is somehow understandable that feelings of anxiety begin to manifest.

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

  • In young mothers, feelings of fear of inexperience are common, as well as fear of not being able to properly play the role of mother.
  • Fear of dying or suffering from serious sequelae after childbirth.
  • Excessive worry about the child’s health.
  • Decreased self-esteem caused by physical changes and feelings of vulnerability.
  • Stress caused by external demands that accompany pregnancy.

As repeated several times throughout the article, it is natural to experience moments or situations of nervousness during pregnancy. However, if the symptoms persist over time, interfering with the woman’s daily life, she will need to seek professional help.

Tips for Managing Anxiety During Pregnancy

Of course, the ideal way to manage anxiety is through a series of behaviors and activities that directly prevent its onset. To achieve this, it is essential to be able to recognize the times or situations in which the woman experiences the appearance of recurrent negative or obsessive thoughtsSo you can control them and focus your attention on other more comforting or other activities.

Some behaviors or tasks that can be performed once symptoms of anxiety appear are:

1. Breathing exercises

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

By breathing abdominal type, the woman will avoid hyperventilation as well as dizziness and paresthesia.

2. Walking or light physical activity

Taking a walk while breathing deeply, exercising or doing gymnastics for pregnant women, or even yoga are extremely effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety.

Plus, these activities help keep the mind busy and distract from recurring worries and negative thoughts.

3. Get help from others

Seeking the support of others such as your partner, family, or friends with whom the woman feels confident enough to express her feelings and concerns is essential for a healthy way out of anxiety.

4. For negative thoughts

Slowing down the avalanche of negative thoughts inherent in anxiety states through mental exercises or mindfulness or mindfulness activities will help a woman calm her feelings of overwhelm and anxiety.

5. Sleep and eat well

While this advice is already helpful in people who are not going through a pregnancy process, it is reasonable to think that with more reason it helps pregnant women. Eating a complete, healthy diet, as well as getting all the recommended hours of sleep, will help reduce emotional tension.

6. Have moments for yourself

Finding moments of relaxation for yourself and being able to let go of worries is essential for improving both your own health and that of the baby. Finding the time for a good relaxing bath, reading or listening to music without any interference are small pleasures that will help make pregnancy much more bearable.

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