Every pregnant mom, from first timers to seasoned pros, will face some level of anxiety. Pregnancy can evoke fears and uncertainties about your health, your baby, and your life after the baby comes. While you may have been perfectly calm during your first and second trimesters, as your baby's birth day grows closer, you may feel more anxious. What is third trimester anxiety?
By the third trimester, pregnant moms are preparing themselves to go through labor, to care for the new baby, suffer sleepless nights, and adjust their lifestyles to accommodate the newest member of the family. That's a lot to think about, and being worried or anxious is common during pregnancy. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 52 percent of pregnant women report increased anxiety or depression during pregnancy.
Pregnant women tend to be more at risk of developing anxiety, explained Calm Clinic, because of their changing hormones, the stress of pregnancy, and the stress of labor. If a mom has previously suffered from anxiety or is an age where anxiety is more common, her risk of developing anxiety during pregnancy also increases. Calm Clinic noted, however, that some women find their anxiety decreases during pregnancy, so there's no general cause and effect measure for it.
While some amount of anxiety is normal during pregnancy, there are signs that may point to an unhealthy level of anxiety, which can require treatment. According to What To Expect, if your anxiety is getting in the way of your day-to-day activities, hindering your focus, making you fearful or restless, causing obsessive thoughts, making you unhappy, or even causing physical symptoms like heart palpitations or muscle tension, you should definitely talk to your doctor.
Getting treated for your anxiety can even reduce your risk of postpartum depression with treatment methods ranging from medications to therapy, and can include simple approaches like eating a well-balanced diet or getting more sleep. What To Expect also suggested that staying active, socializing with loved ones, and finding time to relax, whether it be through yoga, acupuncture, or meditation, are good ways to treat anxiety during pregnancy.
If you are experiencing third trimester anxiety, you may want to prepare yourself for the things that are worrying you most. For example, if you are worried about labor, you might want to take a childbirth class or talk to your doctor in detail about delivery scenarios. If you are worried about breastfeeding, you may consider talking to a lactation consultant who can tell you what to expect when the baby comes. Anxiety is normal during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, but talking to your doctor, or arming yourself with knowledge and support, can help you through it.