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Pregnancy can be an extremely turbulent time emotionally. The body undergoes numerous physical and hormonal changes to deliver a baby. It is natural to feel a certain amount of worry during this period. Concern over the baby’s and mother’s physical wellbeing is normal. However, in certain cases, people might experience anxiety during pregnancies. Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry, or fear that can be mild or severe. Everybody can get anxious in the course of life, but for some people, anxiety can affect day-to-day functions. Anxiety can be diagnosed as a problem when it starts to affect daily life. Anxiety during pregnancy is normal and expected- to a degree. Statistics show that 1 in 10 women suffer from anxiety during their pregnancies. Managing anxiety can substantially improve the pregnancy experience.

Anxiety is not something a person can ‘snap out of’; it is a mental health condition. Symptoms of Anxiety include:

• Feeling an uncomfortable sense of anxiousness all or most of the time and not being able to control it

• Excessive worrying, especially about your health or the baby

• Feeling irritable or agitated

• Feeling a sense of dread

• Restlessness and inability to concentrate

• Difficulty falling or staying asleep

• Having tense muscles

• Feeling constantly on edge

Occasionally, anxiety can peak into a panic attack. These attacks may start very suddenly with the symptoms above and progress. A panic attack is an extremely uncomfortable experience. Panic attacks can come on very quickly with no apparent reason. Most panic attacks last from 5 to 20 minutes. During a panic attack, symptoms may be very physical, which can make the experience much worse. Symptoms of a panic attack include:

• Shortness of breath

• A feeling of dread or fear of dying

• Chest pain

• Racing heartbeat

• Feeling faint

• Feeling like something awful may happen

• Shaky limbs

• Sweating

• Dizziness

• Churning stomach

• Feeling like you’re going crazy

• Tingling

Anxiety is more than feeling anxious about a particular situation. Anxiety occurs when the feelings of dread and unease can’t be controlled easily and don’t go away. It can be set off without an apparent trigger. People who suffer from anxiety disorders are more likely to develop anxiety during pregnancy. It is important to get proper care during antenatal treatment for anxiety. Anxiety can get worse over time if left untreated. Antenatal anxiety might involve developing one or more of the following conditions during pregnancy, or a worsening of symptoms while pregnant:

• Generalized anxiety- Anxiety is present most days

• Panic disorder- Suffers from panic attacks

• Agoraphobia- Fear of open or public spaces

• Obsessive-compulsive disorder- Obsessive need to carry out compulsions

• Post-traumatic stress disorder- Anxiety is based on a past traumatic event

• Social phobia- Fear of being criticized or humiliated in public

Medication can help with anxiety disorders. However, the effect of these drugs on the developing baby is something that still needs to be studied. Consultation with doctors can help in deciding the course of action, including dosage and type, required in consuming the drugs. Some alternative methods to manage antenatal anxiety include:

• Sleep: Lack of sleep can make anxiety worse. Getting sufficient time sleeping can help manage anxiety levels.

• Diet: A well-balanced diet can go a long way in managing mental health. Consuming nutrient-dense, whole and unprocessed foods (like fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, dairy and whole grains) instead of processed and fast food can help lessen anxiety.

• Exercise: Research shows that people who get regular exercise are 25 per cent less likely to develop anxiety or depression.

• Knowledge: Anxiety preys on uncertainties. Knowing the details about pregnancy can help in feeling prepared. Knowing what to expect can help reduce stress and worry levels.

• Therapy and support systems: Therapy sessions with a psychologist, psychiatrist, or counsellor can help pinpoint the cause of anxiety. From there, you can develop a plan to reduce triggers or learn relaxation techniques. Surrounding yourself with people who know the ins and outs of pregnancy and other people who are expecting can also help contribute to lessening anxiety levels.

Maintaining proper mental health is an essential part of antenatal care. Regular checkups with gynaecology doctor in Wakrah can help ensure the mother and child is at optimum health levels. At Naseem al Rabeeh, we have highly-skilled doctors who can provide you with the best care Qatar can provide. Head over for a consultation with our gynaecologist in Wakrah and our other clinics. Get started on your journey to motherhood without worries.

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