Pregnancy is a time of joy, but it can also be filled with anxiety and stress for many women. Natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy can provide relief without medication or other treatments that may not be safe while expecting.
It's essential to understand what causes anxiety during pregnancy, its symptoms and effects, risk factors, and natural remedies such as supplements, herbs, homeopathy, and essential oils that are proven to help manage anxious feelings safely.
With lifestyle changes like diet modification and affirmations, we will explore how you can naturally reduce your anxiety levels so you feel more relaxed throughout your pregnancy journey!
What is Anxiety During Pregnancy?
Anxiety during pregnancy is a common experience for many women. It is characterized by worry, fear, and unease ranging from mild anxiety to severe panic attacks. Pregnancy anxiety can physically and emotionally affect the mother-to-be and her unborn baby if left to escalate without support.
What is Considered Pregnancy Anxiety?
Anxiety during pregnancy is characterized by worry, fear, or unease about the mother's health or her unborn child. It may be caused by hormonal changes in the body and external factors such as environmental stressors, life events, or genetics and family history.
Symptoms of Anxiety During Pregnancy
Symptoms of anxiety during pregnancy vary but typically include the following:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Racing thoughts
- Feeling overwhelmed or out of control
- Muscle tension/aches/pains
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure levels (hypertension)
- Nausea/vomiting due to stomach upset (gastrointestinal issues)
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
- Chest pain (angina pectoris)
- Dizziness (vertigo)
- Sweating excessively (hyperhidrosis)
In some cases, it can also lead to panic attacks with symptoms such as:
- Trembling hands/feet
- Rapid breathing
- Numbness or tingling sensations in extremities
- Hot flashes
- Cold sweats
The effects of anxiety during pregnancy are wide-ranging and can affect both the mother's physical health as well as her mental well-being.
Physically, it can cause fatigue due to lack of sleep, which affects concentration levels, making it difficult for pregnant women to focus and cause immense tension in the body. The physical exhaustion anxiety can create often leaves many women in a state of depression.
On top of this, there are higher risks associated with preterm labor and delivery complications and an increased risk for postpartum depression after childbirth if left untreated throughout the gestational period.
Emotionally speaking, it has been linked to low self-esteem and confidence issues which could further complicate matters when trying to bond with newborn babies once they arrive.
Anxiety during pregnancy can be a normal response to the physical and emotional changes that come with expecting a baby. Understanding the causes of anxiety during pregnancy is essential to manage it better.
Causes of Anxiety During Pregnancy
A woman's body undergoes many changes during pregnancy due to increased hormones. These hormonal shifts can cause anxiety and stress that may be difficult to manage. Hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and cortisol are all affected during pregnancy which can lead to increased levels of anxiety. These hormone fluctuations can also affect moods and sleep patterns, further contributing to anxiety.
Stressful Life Events
Stressful life events such as job loss or financial strain can also trigger anxiety during pregnancy. When faced with challenging situations, it is normal for pregnant women to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about their future. It is important for pregnant women experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety due to life events to seek professional help if needed to cope with the situation in a healthy manner.
Genetic & Family History
Genetics and family history are important in mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders. A family history of mental illness increases the risk of developing an anxiety disorder during pregnancy even more than other factors suggest.
It is important for pregnant women who have a family history of mental illness or any other form of psychological distress to speak with their doctor about how best they can manage their symptoms while expecting a baby.
Although the exact causes of anxiety during pregnancy are unknown, hormonal changes, stressful life events, and genetics can all contribute to it. Risk factors such as previous mental health issues or trauma, poor social support system, and substance abuse or addiction history should also be taken into account when considering potential sources of anxiety during pregnancy.
Risk Factors for Anxiety During Pregnancy
Previous Mental Health Issues or Trauma
Previous mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, can increase the risk of developing anxiety during pregnancy. These conditions may have a biological component that makes them more likely to recur in certain situations. For example, if a person has experienced trauma in the past, they may be more vulnerable to feeling anxious during pregnancy due to the heightened emotions during this time.
Poor Social Support System
An inadequate social support system can also contribute to increased anxiety levels during pregnancy. If a pregnant woman does not feel supported by her family or friends, she may experience feelings of isolation and fear, leading to higher stress and worry levels. Pregnant women need to seek out supportive relationships with those around them who are willing to listen and provide comfort when needed.
Substance Abuse or Addiction History
Substance abuse or addiction history is another factor that increases the risk of developing anxiety during pregnancy. Pregnant women who have used drugs or alcohol in the past are at greater risk for experiencing high-stress levels due to potential withdrawal symptoms from quitting these substances cold turkey while pregnant.
Substance use disorders often come hand-in-hand with underlying mental health issues which can further complicate matters when it comes to managing one’s emotional state throughout the pregnancy journey.
It is essential to be aware of the risk factors for anxiety during pregnancy to prevent and treat it.
By understanding these risks, pregnant women can reduce their anxiety levels and move forward with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medications, supplements, or alternative treatments.
Treatments for Anxiety During Pregnancy
If you suspect that you may have postpartum depression, you must speak with your doctor to work on a solution to support your mental health.
I've included a few therapies that your doctor may suggest below.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Other Therapies
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps people to identify, understand, and change their thoughts and behaviors. It can help manage anxiety during pregnancy by helping the person recognize how their thoughts may contribute to their anxiety.
Other therapies, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction, acceptance and commitment therapy, interpersonal therapy, or dialectical behavior therapy can also help manage anxiety during pregnancy.
Medications and Supplements for Anxiety During Pregnancy
Medication should only be considered after other treatments have been tried without success.
Some medicines that are generally deemed safe for use during pregnancy include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), benzodiazepines, buspirone hydrochloride (Buspar), pregabalin (Lyrica).
Natural Remedies for Anxiety During Pregnancy
Below, we dive into all the good stuff! These techniques will help you ease anxiety, release tension, and help restore a sense of control in your life using natural methods.
Herbs for Anxiety During Pregnancy
Herbal remedies are a great way to reduce anxiety during pregnancy. Many herbs can be used to help relax and ease tension in the body, support a calm mind, and encourage restful sleep.
Some of the most popular include chamomile, lavender, milky oats, and lemon balm.
Chamomile is known for its calming effects and has been used as an herbal remedy for centuries. It can be consumed in tea form or taken as a supplement.
Lavender oil is also very soothing and helps promote relaxation when inhaled or applied topically (diluted) on the skin. This is my favorite lavender essential oil.
Milky Oats & Oatstraw
Both derived from the oat plant, milky oats and oatstraw are two of the best herbal remedies you can take for sustained nervous system support during pregnancy. They offer both nutritive and tonic properties that help build nutritive stores while also alleviating stress and anxiety.,
Lemon balm is another herb with relaxing qualities that may help reduce pregnancy stress levels. You can get lemon balm tea here.
Supplements for Anxiety During Pregnancy
Pregnant women often need extra nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, which they may not get from their diet alone, so taking supplements can provide these essential nutrients while helping relieve symptoms of anxiety at the same time.
B6 & Magnesium
Vitamin B6 helps regulate moods, while magnesium helps calm nerves by decreasing cortisol levels. These nutrients should be taken daily during pregnancy if possible.
Omega Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil capsules have also been linked with reducing symptoms of depression and improving overall mental health.
Probiotics offer beneficial bacteria that support digestive health, but studies suggest they could also play a role in reducing stress hormones like cortisol which contribute toward feelings of anxiousness - making them an ideal addition to any pregnant woman’s routine.
Essential oils were one of my favorite ways to reduce anxiety when pregnant with my first child. I had trouble sleeping, various physical discomforts, and lots of stress-related emotions.
Some of my favorite pregnancy-safe (after the first trimester when used topically) essential oils for anxiety include:
I often used these essential oils interchangeably in a diffuser that I ran a few times per day in the house.
You can add a few drops of each to a diffuser and run it as needed throughout the day.
You can also make a roll-on by adding 2 drops each of your favorite oil from the above list and topping off the bottle with a carrier oil. Roll between your palms to mix.
However, if you use cold-pressed lemon essential oil in your blend, apply it in areas without direct sunlight, or you will get an awful sunburn. You can use steam-distilled lemon essential oil to avoid this problem.
Avoid what triggers your anxiety to the best of your ability. If it's caused by scrolling social media, perhaps you must avoid the accounts that increase your stress levels when you see hurtful comments, judgmental content, or stressful pregnancy stories.
Deep Breathing Exercises & Meditation
Taking a moment to clear the mind and center yourself is often all you need to alleviate pregnancy-related anxiety.
Find a quiet spot in your home that makes you feel calm and relaxed and either lay down or sit comfortably for 10-15 minutes. Breathe in deeply through the mouth for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and then exhale for 4 seconds. Do this 5 times in a row if possible. If you have more time, do this for a few minutes.
Sometimes I only had time to do one or two small breathing exercises but it was enough to get my head back on straight.
During this time, you can listen to a relaxing meditation or practice your hypnobirthing routine (this was one of my favorite ways to incorporate my pregnancy meditation practice into my day). The addition of a guided positive thought routine will make your deep breathing exercises even more powerful against anxiety.
Getting in daily exercise is an effective way to reduce anxiety during pregnancy. Studies have shown that even just one 10 minute walk per day can lower anxiety and increase endorphin levels in the brain.
A simple stretching or yoga routine can also be a great way to relieve anxiety. The key is to find an activity you enjoy and stick to it!
Here are a few exercise ideas:
- Cycling on a stationary bicycle
- Walking on a treadmill or outside in nature
- Following a pregnancy-safe exercise routine with light weights
- Hit your favorite hiking trail (make sure the difficulty level is mild)
Before diving into herbal and natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy, consult your healthcare provider to ensure it's safe for your unique situation. Some herbs interact with anxiety medications and should be avoided.
Chamomile is a potent herb to help with stress relief, and it is one of the most commonly used herbs during pregnancy. It has a pleasant yet slightly bitter flavor that can be consumed as tea or capsules. Research suggests chamomile may reduce anxiety and stress levels whileit improving sleep quality due to its flavonoid content.
To make chamomile tea, steep 1-2 teaspoons of dried flowers in hot water for 10 minutes; you can sweeten it with honey and milk if desired.
This tea is the perfect addition to your bedtime routine. You can get my favorite chamomile tea here.
Spearmint is milder than peppermint, making it the perfect option for those who desire a soothing remedy without the intensity. The naturally occurring menthol found in spearmint is known to have relaxing properties that help reduce nervousness and anxiety.
To make spearmint tea, steep 1 rounded teaspoon of dried spearmint in a mug of boiling water, covered, for 10 minutes. You can drink this twice daily.
You can get my favorite spearmint tea here.
Lemon Balm Tea
This one is my personal favorite! Lemon balm is related to peppermint and has a slight menthol-y, lemony, herbaceous flavor that is perfect for sipping hot or iced. It has soothing properties that help reduce anxiety, stress, and overwhelm.
I enjoyed having it before bed to help encourage restful sleep, ease stress-related headaches, and calm the mind.
To make lemon balm tea, steep 1-2 teaspoons of dried lemon balm, covered, in a mug of boiling water for 10 minutes. Drink as needed throughout the day.
You can get my favorite lemon balm tea here.
I enjoy lavender mixed with chamomile to round out the flavor, but you can undoubtedly enjoy lavender as a tea all on its own.
Lavender has a wonderful floral aroma known for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety, promote restful sleep, and instill a feeling of calm and balance.
Drinking it as tea is a great way to savor its benefits.
Milky Oats and Oatsraw Tea
It may sound strange to make tea with the stuff you see growing out in many agricultural fields, but I can assure you that milky oats and oatstraw are powerful allies to have when anxiety is making your pregnancy difficult.
In case you didn't know, oatstraw is the stalk of the oat plant, while milky oats are milk-filled seeds used to make the oats you buy at the store.
They are rich in vitamins and minerals that will help support your body during pregnancy (it's excellent for iron deficiency anemia) while also providing therapeutic benefits for your nervous system. If you had to choose one herb, I would choose this one for pregnancy anxiety.
Passion flower is not safe for use during pregnancy.
Kava Kava is not safe for use during pregnancy.
Ask your spouse or significant other to give you a relaxing massage on hard days. Getting your tense shoulders and sore feet rubbed can make a difference in your mood, especially when you're uncomfortable as the pregnancy progresses.
This is easy to add to your daily routine if you're into music. All you need to do is listen to your favorite upbeat songs to help get you back into the right frame of mind to feel energized, motivated, and in control of your emotions.
This one is one of my top self-care tips for pregnant mamas, and it's still something I do weekly! Taking a luxurious bubble bath with all of your favorite additions, candles, the right music, or a trashy TV show can really help reset your whole week.
Warm baths help reduce muscle tension, increase breath awareness, and calm emotional turmoil.
Make sure that you only soak in water 100 degrees F or less during pregnancy, and be sure to have plenty of electrolyte water on hand for hydration.
Frequently Asked Questions for Natural Remedies for Anxiety During Pregnancy
What can I take to calm my anxiety while pregnant?
If you are experiencing anxiety while pregnant and are not in the first trimester, you can drink lemon balm, chamomile, or lavender tea 2-3 times daily. These herbs are known for their stress-relieving and sleep-supportive properties. You can also supplement with magnesium during times of elevated stress and anxiety. A good brand to try in Natural Calm.
What herbs can you take for anxiety while pregnant?
Herbal remedies for anxiety during pregnancy can be a great way to manage symptoms without the use of medications. Some herbs that may help include chamomile, lemon balm, and lavender.
Speaking with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal remedy while pregnant is important, as some herbs like passionflower and kava kava, are not safe during pregnancy.
It is also important to follow dosing instructions carefully and discontinue use if any adverse effects occur.
Can my anxiety affect my unborn baby?
Yes, anxiety during pregnancy can affect your unborn baby.
Stress hormones released by the mother can cross the placenta and enter fetal circulation.
This can cause changes in the brain development and behavior of the baby after birth. It is important to manage stress levels during pregnancy through relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation, talking to a therapist, or getting support from family and friends.
Why is my anxiety so high during pregnancy?
Pregnancy can be an incredibly exciting and overwhelming time. It is normal to experience heightened levels of anxiety during this period, as your body goes through many changes and you are faced with many new responsibilities.
Hormonal fluctuations, physical discomforts, and worries about the future can all contribute to increased anxiety. Finding ways to manage stress through relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or yoga may help reduce feelings of anxiousness.
Talking to a mental health professional or joining a support group for pregnant women can also provide additional resources for managing anxiety during pregnancy.
You CAN Overcome Anxiety During Pregnancy
Anxiety during pregnancy is a common issue that can seriously affect both mother and baby. It’s important to be aware of the causes, risk factors, and treatments for this condition so you can take steps to reduce your symptoms.
Natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy such as supplements, herbs, homeopathy, essential oils, lifestyle changes, diet modifications, and affirmations may help alleviate some of the stress associated with anxiety during pregnancy.
It’s also important to avoid certain things that could worsen your symptoms, such as caffeine or alcohol consumption. If you are feeling overwhelmed by anxiety during pregnancy, it’s best to speak with your doctor about natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy before trying any at-home solutions.
Pregnant women often experience high levels of anxiety, which can cause uncomfortable physical symptoms such as vaginal dryness.
If you're looking for natural remedies to help reduce your anxious feelings and alleviate the discomfort associated with vaginal dryness during pregnancy, don't wait any longer!
Many safe and effective home remedies can provide relief without putting your baby's health at risk.
Research herbal supplements or teas designed specifically to ease anxiety in pregnant women, try aromatherapy using calming essential oils like lavender or chamomile, or practice deep breathing exercises or yoga poses tailored for expectant mothers - there are so many options available!
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