Is it normal to be anxious during pregnancy?

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked whether it is normal to be anxious during pregnancy, or not. So many women feel this way, for a whole range of reasons and I’ve got countless emails from women all around the world to prove it.

anxious during pregnancy

I’m really appreciating the anxiety practice geared toward the 1st trimester. I’m six weeks, and after a history of miscarriages I’m holding my breath most days.

Hi Bettina, thank you for your email. I’m from Hungary, living in Budapest and currently 6 weeks along. Last pregnancy I had some spotting and bleeding in the weeks 6 and 7 and was advised to avoid any exercise during the first trimester, so now I took it extra easy the last two weeks, but I feel I really need to incorporate yoga into my pregnant life. I don’t feel so bad. But I am anxious. Fear of miscarriage, and what if there is something wrong with my baby…

Hi Bettina! My name is Stacey and I’ve lived in Southern California all my life. Nice to connect with you! I downloaded your pregnancy series after watching you for quite some time on YouTube and using your yoga flows to enhance fertility while trying for our first. We had a struggle first at getting pregnant, then staying pregnant, it’s been a roller coaster physically and emotionally. Your videos were very helpful to keep a routine that was safe – which allowed me to relax and connect in a time that I desperately needed it.

Hi Bettina, Right now I’m 4 weeks pregnant (after two miscarriages). I’ve been doing regular yoga for about two years (mostly yin and hatha).
I’m a little anxious about doing something “wrong” and causing another miscarriage. But yoga brings me so much peace I really want to continue.

It’s still very early days (in my 6th week) and although we know we should wait, after all we’ve been through all of this, I just can’t resist being able to tell you because you’ve been there with me on this journey.
There have been so many emotions from the beginning already however and I’m still battling against daily anxiety and a constant fear of miscarrying. I’m also still suffering from hyperstimulation from the hormone treatment so having swollen ovaries and cramping isn’t helping (dreading every time I go to the toilet and constantly checking!)
I’ve recently enjoyed exploring your pregnancy videos for the first time (I never looked before because it made me so sad to not be there yet) and I absolutely love the routine you put together for the first 4-6 weeks and especially anxious mamas – thank you, it is much appreciated and exactly what I need!

So yes, it’s very normal and common to be anxious during pregnancy BUT this doesn’t mean you have to suffer with it. Don’t resign yourself to thinking you have to ‘put up with it’ for the entire forty weeks. There are definitely things you can do to help ease pregnancy anxiety and keep it at bay.

What to do when you’re anxious during pregnancy

Understand your anxiety

After my first loss I didn’t even know to call what I was feeling ‘anxiety’. Through a lot of my own healing work (counselling, yoga, meditation, and reading on the topic), I finally started to name my feelings ‘anxiety’ which helped me understand it and myself. I highly recommend the book First, we make the beast beautiful as a great place to start understanding your anxiety.

Find coping strategies that work for you

When your anxiety is raging you need strategies that work to help calm you down and bring you back quickly. While I could tell you that time alone, yoga (or other exercise), affirmations, meditation and writing work for me – you really need to find what works best for you (see point one basically). Use trial and error to find what works for you and then put the list of things somewhere you’ll see it regularly and can refer to when anxiety rages.

Learn how to minimise anxiety

As well as knowing how to get out of anxiety when you’re in it, it helps to know what makes you fall into it in the first place. Obviously a high risk pregnancy, or a pregnancy after loss is something you can’t change, but there are probably other factors that make your anxiety worse. Find them and try to stay away from them. For me, I found letting myself get too busy, too much caffeine and not looking after myself physically all made my anxiety worse. Do what you can to minimise what makes your anxiety worse.

Talk to someone who understands

Sometimes, you just need to talk to someone who ‘gets it’. A good counsellor can help you to understand how anxiety plays out for you and what you can do to manage it. Find a counsellor you click with and have them on speed dial for when anxiety gets the better of you. (Or better still, have regular sessions with them to stay out of the anxiety spiral altogether). If you can’t find someone locally, I offer online counselling sessions. Reach out if you need.

You might also be interested in this video I filmed when I was 16 weeks pregnant with my son Luca. He is my rainbow baby after 3 losses, so anxiety was very real for me at this time.

Or this pregnancy meditation for anxiety below.

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