How to handle the Pandemic Anxiety during Pregnancy?

By Prapoorna M

Last Updated: November 27, 2021

Pregnancy is an exciting time for every mother. It is a crucial time for both the parents and for the whole family. The physical and mental health of the mother is of high prominence during the time of pregnancy because whatever the mother feels, it is carried to the child. The mental health of the mother plays a major role in the brain development of the child. Researchers found that the kids whose mothers experienced high levels of anxiety or depression have less development in their brain’s white matter.

When mothers are happy, babies in the womb also tend to be so happy. When the mothers get scared or become anxious, they too get worried. Hence, it is really important for the mothers to maintain good physical and mental health so that the baby develops well. Mother’s anxiety can show a surge in her blood pressure too, which is not a good sign. It is highly advisable to consult a psychologist online, so as to lessen the mental pressure that the mother carries.

Any repressed emotions or regrets in the past, or any unwanted fears or beliefs, or maybe the thoughts of the chances of getting affected by the deadly virus can trigger anxiety in pregnant women. Having an online psychological counseling session, can reduce the emotional weight and make them enjoy their motherhood.

How does the Mother’s Anxiety affect the Unborn?

The physical and mental changes that occur in a pregnant lady are better be monitored periodically to know what’s on her mind, what’s going on with her body or what steps that she needs to take to keep herself and her unborn happy and healthy. The mother, who carries the baby in her womb, feeds it through her own body. The kind of communication established between mother and baby is more than just awesome. When the baby in
the womb, feels hungry, the mother feels hunger too. When the mother consumes some food, the baby gets fed through the umbilical cord. Every feeling of the mother gets carried to the baby. When a pregnant woman is scared or feels anxious, then the baby might also get scared. Researchers found that the kids whose mothers experienced high levels of anxiety or depression have less development in their brain’s white matter. White matter in the brain is the one that is responsible for processing information, forming connections between areas of the brain that are involve in bodily movements and managing emotions.

A pregnant lady
A pregnant lady

While depression and anxiety symptoms of the mother are correlated with the development of the white matter of the baby in the womb, the ill-effects would be high in case of a boy child rather than a girl, as the development of white matter can take longer in male infants. This could be one of the reasons why among the children who are born Autistic, boys outnumber the girls. Hence it is highly important to understand the maternal and infant health so as to develop interventions that might help improve mental health during the pregnancy.

What is Anxiety and why does it Occur?

An increased arousal accompanied by generalized feelings of fear or apprehension can be termed as Anxiety. A vague concern that something bad can happen like an apprehension can trigger anxiety. Some people feel anxious throughout a certain period while some make it a habit of getting anxious always. Anxiety experienced in a specific way, is identified as a specific anxiety condition.

The most common symptoms found when someone is anxious are palpitations, heaviness in breathe, uneasiness around neck and chest, excessive sweating, headaches, and inability to relax etc. Any thought usually springs from our past experiences and belief system. We tend to get both helpful and unhelpful thoughts, while it’s these unhelpful thoughts that do a lot of damage to our mental wellbeing. Thinking affects our mood, anxiety and stress levels. The unhelpful thoughts are the faulty ways of thinking that reinforce negative thoughts or emotions.

Pandemic Anxiety

Though anxiety is caused in a situation where our body detects a threat, (physical or psychological) there are certain factors which maintain anxiety and keeps it going. Corona virus pandemic has already extended its clutches all over the world not leaving even the higher officials of various countries. Knowing that it has no boundaries and the pace with which it is conquering the global health is making people anxious already. It is taking a toll on the mental health of those who have been suffering from anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses. Hence, the number of people facing psychological illnesses are also increasing day-by-day.
If someone is already having some physical health problem, the amount of tension, stress, anxiety, or other emotional conditions are sure to elevate the existing physical conditions. Otherwise if someone has a weakness in their physical health, like having blood pressure issues or nervous weakness or maybe back pain, those symptoms are most likely to get increased because of the negative thoughts or bad emotional health.
Being out of control and unable to tolerate uncertainty can act as triggers for anxiety disorders. People with pre-existing anxiety face problems during such tough times. Hence it is necessary to stay away from those triggers probably like reading and watching things, which are not making you feel better. As the spread of Coronavirus Pandemic is literally creating havoc all over, staying away from such news, saves you from being anxious. Muting the social media notifications would also benefit you if you notice yourself jumping for every beep sound on your mobile.

How to reduce your Anxiety?

The news of some of the pregnant ladies getting affected by Coronavirus might make you anxious. Please remember that only a small portion of the pregnant ladies are getting affected and majority of them who got affected are getting cured. Keep this thought in mind and be positive. You may stop your anxiety triggering conditions from affecting you, if you can willingly work on reducing it.

Try to sit calmly in a corner of the room and visualize those bothering thoughts as some clouds wandering outside you. Imagine them coming and going but not affecting you. Visualize yourself as a sane person sitting there in the corner and being a spectator of what’s going on. This kind of thinking is necessary as you really cannot do anything by getting anxious.

Understand how you are feeling when you are not worried, maybe like the present moment, while reading this. Feel the air, your breath and the ground beneath you. This pleasantness is what you miss when you are worried. Identify the triggers that create such bout of anxiety in you and make a list of them to work on. In case, you are unable to do this on your own, never hesitate to seek help.
Taking the help of experts in reducing your anxiety levels is a better decision in these tough times. Wellness Hub has a curated list of psychologists who are well-experienced, empathetic and non-judgmental. Log on to Wellness Hub and book an appointment for your online counseling session, to equip you with the skills of dealing with your anxiety.

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