Severe Anxiety While Pregnant: Causes and Treatment

Severe anxiety while pregnant: What are the causes, effects and treatment options?

Pregnancy comes with different feelings, behaviors, cravings, hatred, and other moments. Some of the moments are exciting while others like anxiety and stress may occur in some women and are not nice at all.

Most of the pregnant women will worry about their health, the financial strain of raising a child, and the fear of the unknown. For example, some parents worry about what will become of their children.

Anxiety when occurring infrequently and without much intensity is nothing to worry about. However, severe anxiety while pregnant can be overwhelming.

For a woman, the worries discussed above and many others in addition to changes in the hormones in her body can leady to a cycle of anxiety and depression. This can be experienced by others through anger outbursts, crying, irritability, and extreme sadness.

Is Prenatal depression and anxiety common?

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG), Prenatal depression and anxiety are some of the most common mental health conditions that are experienced by pregnant women. It affects up to 70 percent of pregnant women.

Depression on its own affects up to 14-23 percent of all pregnant women. When evaluated, the following are the main worries for most pregnant women:

  • The health of the baby
  • Their own health and fear of complications
  • The financial burden of raising a child
  • Whether the spouse will be supportive
  • Risk of miscarriage
  • Fear of abuse by the spouse and others
  • Fear of getting postpartum depression as experienced in 600,000 American women

There are many causes of anxiety and depression while pregnant.

What are the symptoms of anxiety while pregnant?

There are several symptoms of anxiety while pregant. Some of the signs are quite common in all women. However, some of the symptoms signifies severe anxiety wile pregnant.

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Some of the common symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Being constantly worried
  • Having a fear or feeling that you are about to experience something bad
  • Having racing thoughts frequently
  • Lack of apettite or too much apettite sometimes
  • Lack of sleep or having discurbances in your sleep
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Dizziness and hot flashes
  • Nausea

These symptoms are the same symptoms in other anxiety disorders. The same symptoms can be experienced in persons having a generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety, and other anxiety disorders.

What can happen if you get severe anxiety while pregnant?

Having anxiety while pregnant can distabilize a woman completely. This can lead to the woman not being able to take care of herself or the baby. In addition, if left untreated, the anxiety can lead to both psychological and physiological issues.

Some of the issues that affects either or both the woman and the baby include:

  • Poor nutrition or poor feeding habits
  • Drug abuse to mask the symptoms
  • Smoking
  • Suicidal tendencies.

All these can lead to the following effects on the mother or the baby:

  • Getting a baby with a low birth weight
  • Giving birth prematurely
  • Getting a baby with developmental problems
  • Passing on of the anxiety disorder to the baby
  • Lack of proper bonding between the baby and the mother

Treatment of prenatal anxiety

While seeking treatment for your severe anxiety while pregnant, it is great to engage your doctor. The advice of your obstetrician-gynecologist is important before you decide on the method you will use to treat the anxiety.

In most cases, treatment may be through a lifestyle change or adaptation method or by using medication. For medication, note that you have to ensure that the benefits outweigh the risks.

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