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Feeling of nervousness and anxiety during pregnancy can signal underlying anxiety disorder

Feeling of nervousness and anxiety during pregnancy can signal underlying anxiety disorder

“We, as people, tend to spend a lot of time and attention watering the weeds. And then, we’re growing the weeds rather than watering the flowers and rejoicing! I have worked hard on being a positive person. I want to reflect and be grateful for all of the beauty that I have experienced this past year.”

  • Khloé Kardashian

American television personality and socialite Khloé Kardashian has highlighted her anxieties pertaining to her pregnancy through her above-mentioned and other messages shared on New Year’s Eve on Instagram. Besides sharing her excitement for the upcoming year and resolving to remain positive, she expressed her gratitude toward the support system that is helping her grapple with her pregnancy-related anxieties.

By opening for the first time about her pregnancy, Kardashian shared the difficulties of this new experience with her fans and followers. Insisting her fans to stay positive by not dwelling on the past, she encouraged them to maintain a positive mind frame by indulging only in healthy reflection. She highlighted that during her pregnancy, she has been witnessing a string of feelings, ranging from extreme happiness to unexplained sadness.

The messages of Kardashian bring forth the challenges of pregnancy. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), pregnant women are extremely susceptible to the risk of developing anxiety disorders and depression. In fact, some women develop both the disorders simultaneously. The findings of the 2009 ADAA online poll showed that approximately 52 percent pregnant women reported high levels of anxiety or depression during pregnancy. Further, one out of 10 women may experience symptoms of depression after pregnancy.

Baby blues and mental disorders lead to delay in treatment

Past research has shown that nearly 20 percent of all pregnant women experience symptoms of an anxiety disorder or depression during pregnancy. However, due to the overlapping of symptoms of baby blues and mental disorders like post-partum depression, women tend to consider the warning signs of anxiety disorder mere consequences of baby blues. Depending on the woman and her context, she can experience moderate, mild and severe levels of anxiety. Therefore, it is essential to screen all pregnant and post-partum women to diagnose such underlying mental illnesses.

Some of the common pregnancy-related anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), post-partum depression, etc. Despite the fact that most pregnant women suffer from simultaneous mental illnesses like major depression and anxiety disorders, they have been included in a limited number of studies. A pregnant woman, due to an untreated anxiety disorder or depression, stands an increased chance of having disturbed sleep patterns, poor nutrition, weight gain, developing substance abuse, etc.

Moreover, such disorders pose a high risk to the unborn child. Besides the risk of preterm birth, he/she can suffer from low birth weight, delay in the development of cognitive functions, increased crying and problems related to bonding with the mother. Through appropriate screening and early intervention measures, it is possible to detect the initial symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders. This will promote the overall well-being of both the mother and her unborn child.

Screening essential to ensure early detection of anxiety disorders

One of the essential ways to overcome such disorders, during a life-changing phase of life like pregnancy, is to encourage women to share their emotions with others. Rather than hiding her innate feelings and fears, she should be motivated to speak about any negative feelings affecting her state of mind and health.

When a woman comes for birth admission to a facility, experts should record her fears related to childbirth and other situations to ensure effective remedial measures. All pregnant women must prepare themselves for self-monitoring the symptoms of anxiety disorders. When diagnosed with any kind of mental illness, pregnant women should be encouraged to consult a medical practitioner. One should also be aware of the consequences and side effects of medications taken during pregnancy and lactation.

Help pregnant women seek treatment for mental disorders

In order to ensure a good life for both the mother and the child, it is necessary to remove the stigma attached to psychiatric disorders. Besides providing adequate care and support, some of the structural changes like insurance coverage for pregnancy-related anxiety disorders in public and private plans can also play a crucial role.

If you or your loved one is suffering from anxiety disorders, contact the Anxiety Disorder Helpline. Call at our 24/7 anxiety hotline number 866-971-7951 or chat online with our counselors to access information related to anxiety disorder treatment centers in the United States.