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Anxiety Attacks During Pregnancy

How to Recognize and Handle Anxiety Attacks During Pregnancy

Anxiety is a highly unwelcome condition during pregnancy. To know about the implications of anxiety attacks during pregnancy, keep reading ahead!
Narayani Karthik
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Everyone experiences bouts of stress at some time or the other. The reaction to the daily stress is known as anxiety. It does not ring an alarm of concern until it culminates into a disabling disorder, which can further lead to an attack. Now, an anxiety attack is a sudden surge of an overpowering fear, which can strike a person for no rhyme or reason (or at times due to mental pressure caused by multiple reasons). It may also come to a person without any prior warning. And things cannot get any worse in a pregnancy if the woman experiences anxiety attacks during this vital phase of her life.
Panic Attacks During Pregnancy
Anxiety, although concerns the mind, affects the physical aspect of the body too. Some of its prominent symptoms observed are heart palpitations, shortness of breath, sudden headache, stomach ache, and chest pain. There is an increase in blood pressure, and in some people sweating and trembling are significant symptoms.
For a pregnant female, there need not be a reason for anxiety attacks experienced by her. This is because there are many factors pertaining to both physical and mental health conditions. Some of the common reasons could be attributed to hormonal changes within her changing body (Change in hormones always brings changes in the physical and mental condition of a person) or some already existing ailments.
One of the palpable reasons for anxiety attacks during pregnancy is alteration in levels of serotonin hormone (which is responsible for producing emotions, like fear or worry). Due to an imbalance, this can trigger mood swings, panic attacks, and depression. Hormonal changes can lead to erratic mood swings in a pregnant lady, which can aggravate the anxiety in her, leading to an anxiety attack during pregnancy.
Apart from the physical concerns, psychological concerns can be more disturbing reasons for causing anxiety disorders during pregnancy. These concerns could be her doubts regarding her motherhood, financial concerns, loneliness, or hearing negative things about life over a prolonged period of time. Anxiety attacks during pregnancy is not really an unusual thing, but in due course of time, if the recurrence is high, it does indicate that something is not right.
Below listed are prominent anxiety attack symptoms in women who are pregnant:
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Hot flashes, chills, and excessive sweating
  • Numbness in limbs
  • Shortness of breath
  • Emotional issues, like detachment or unreality
  • Irrational fears (like 'going to die' or 'impending doom')
  • High blood pressure
Providing Relief from Anxiety During Pregnancy
Practice Breathing Exercises
Anxiousness has never gotten anyone anywhere. So, whenever anxiety strikes you, try to strike it back! Place your left hand on stomach and take deep breaths. Inhale slowly and deeply. While you take long breaths, you can feel the expansion and contraction of the stomach muscles within. Breathing exercises and yoga help a pregnant woman in complete relaxation of body and mind.
Eat Healthy Diet
A healthy balanced diet is essential for a pregnant woman. Healthy food helps in sustaining a healthy body, and a healthy body will sustain a healthy mind. Protein rich food (like lean meat, fish, poultry, egg whites, and beans) aid in producing nerve calming chemicals within the body. A lot of fruits, juices, and fiber vegetables are recommended.
Sleep well
Needless to say, a sound sleep is a very essential for a healthy life. In fact, sleep is the time when the immune system of our body strengthens itself. And for a pregnant woman, a sound sleep is a must. It is the best self-healing therapy which need not be taught. And if a lady finds it difficult to sleep, she can listen to soothing musical notes, which can help in calming down her nerves.
Now, coming to the medication part, pregnancy and consumption of antianxiety drugs is definitely not a good combination. However, in extreme conditions, antidepressants are recommended by doctors to combat depression symptoms in pregnant women. Below is a list of anxiety cure medications that include anxiety relieving drugs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and mood stabilizers:
  • Citalopram
  • Fluoxetine
  • Amitriptyline (antidepressant)
  • Nortriptyline
  • Bupropion
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
  • Benzodiazepine
  • Sertraline
*Caution: The medications listed here are to be taken under doctor's guidance only.
Anxiety attacks during pregnancy can be a trying time for the woman and her family and can get quite depressing for the family. The best way to combat such unavoidable situations is to keep the mind engaged in activities, like reading good books, hearing soothing music, eating healthy food, practicing pregnancy exercises, and enjoying a good sound sleep in the night. Herbal medications can also be given to pregnant ladies as an alternative to the prescribed depression medications.
Anxiety is quite a peril for a pregnant lady, as it also induces stress into the unborn life budding inside her. Consequences of anxiety disorders during pregnancy can lead to premature births and children born with cleft lips. So, help your woman to overcome anxiety and depression. Make her happy and create an ebullient atmosphere around her! After all, happy women produce happy children. Isn't it?
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and it should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.