Fertility expert Zita West answers our question about feel anxious during pregnancy
Pregnancy can be overwhelming to the point that after wanting a baby for so long, getting a positive test can quickly turn into stress and anxiety. After the initial period of happiness, pregnancy can seem very lonely and scary, and your head can start to fill with thoughts of what might go wrong.
We all experience a host of emotions as we go through change, and most pregnant women’s feelings are heightened by the hormones rushing around their bodies. And the bottom line is, the process of having a baby is profoundly life changing. In extreme cases – if you notice you feel low, anxious or stressed without relief for more than a fortnight – you may be suffering from antenatal depression. It’s less commonly known about than postnatal depression, but affects one in 10 pregnant women. But for most of us, it’s just a case of emotional turbulence, which can be managed with a few simple techniques.
Firstly, don’t give yourself a hard time, it’s only natural to have some anxiety. It is essential to manage your stress, so I always advise techniques like visualisation to help you relax.
Having a healthy mindset is also linked with sleep – and during pregnancy, one of the first things to suffer is sleep. If you’ve been through an IVF cycle to conceive, you may already be physically and emotionally exhausted, and most women I see are working full-time jobs, renovating houses and running on energy reserves. Get to bed early and rest plenty, building up those reserves through eating a varied and balanced diet, and going out for gentle walks. This will all help you feel healthier and better about things.
Nutrition plays a key role, and at my clinic we stress the importance of taking multivitamins and Omega 3 to help supplement your diet. Finally, if you have any burning questions, ask your midwife for support. She’s there to help you. Never be afraid to share how you are feeling. You should also consider joining a local antenatal group.
Zita West is the founder of Zita West Fertility Clinic, which specialises in a holistic approach to IVF. Instagram: @the_first_1000_days