As I’ve been experiencing firsthand over the last few months, pregnancy is a rollercoaster of emotions.
It’s not uncommon for expectant moms to feel anxious and worried and experience anxiety due to the overwhelming amount of new information they’re thinking about, including what to eat and drink, whether the baby is doing well, their own pregnancy hormones, the body changes they’re going through, plans for after the baby comes, and more.
In fact, research shows that as much as 33% of pregnant women experience anxiety and depression during pregnancy.
I’m so grateful for being a life coach and being able to use the tools I have during my pregnancy. More specifically, I’m able to process feelings like high levels of anxiety, worry, doubt, or any other negative emotion in a way that is helpful to my every day life.
It’s very normal to feel anxious during pregnancy and there are plenty of ways to work through this and make pregnancy more enjoyable.
- Related: Mom-To-Be Mindset Tips (podcast)
How To Calm Anxiety During Pregnancy
Life coaching helps with managing anxiety during pregnancy by helping you shift your mindset, process your emotions, and normalize anxiety so that you have control over it, instead of feeling like it has control over you.
Here are my best tips to manage anxiety or panic attacks, feel calmer, and have a more present, enjoyable pregnancy.
Tip 1: Normalize Anxiety
Talking about maternal mental health is becoming more normal, but we still have a long way to go.
Something you can do to normalize your own experience of anxiety is to see that when you feel anxious, it’s because you’re thinking a thought that’s creating the feeling of anxiety.
Your thoughts create your feelings. So when you feel anxious it’s because of a thought you’re thinking.
I’m referring to the feeling you have in your body—anxiety (I’m not referring to a chemical imbalance in the brain, which requires a diagnosis).
For example, if you think, “I’m so worried about whether my baby will be healthy” this thought will create the feeling of anxiety in your body.
The feeling of anxiety is actually very normal. Your brain is trying to protect you by thinking about all the possibilities of problems in the future. The more you see it this way, the less of a big deal it becomes.
Tip 2: Name And Label Anxiety
Whenever you’re experiencing anxiety, name and label it.
Say, “this is anxiety.”
The simple act of naming and labeling your emotions, including anxiety, will help you increase your emotional intelligence and decrease the grip that negative emotions (including anxiety) have on you.
So the next time you’re feeling anxious, connect with your body and say, “this is anxiety.”
- How To Be Mindful Of Your Emotions (blog post)
- Processing Negative Emotions (podcast)
- How To Be A More Mindful Mom (free course)
Tip 3: Allow The Feeling Of Anxiety
One of my favorite thought work tools to treat anxiety is to allow it.
By default, your brain will resist it. Because anxiety is a negative emotion, your brain wants to avoid it (this is your brain’s survival mechanism).
However, if you’re on to your brain, you can allow it, without adding resistance. When you do this, you breathe into your anxiety, actually decreasing it.
It’s resisting anxiety that makes it worse, by compounding it (adding anxiety on top of anxiety), which can lead to panic attacks.
Simply welcome the anxiety and allow it to be there (almost like it was a friend visiting you).
- Related: Stress (podcast)
Tip 4: Practice Mindfulness
If you experience anxiety while you’re pregnant, starting a mindful practice can be a great way to feel calmer.
My favorite mindfulness practice to teach is 10 minutes of silence.
How it works is you sit down, set your timer for 10 minutes, close your eyes, breath deeply, focus on your breath and surrounding noises, letting thoughts pass you by.
This can help you with stress and anxiety, as well as reconnecting with your body (instead of staying in your head, which is what we tend to do all day).
- Mindfulness Meditation For Pregnancy (blog post)
- What Successful People Think With Jody Moore (podcast)
- Thursday Inspo (free weekly newsletter)
Tip 5: Sleep More
Suggesting you sleep more can seem at first glance like basic advice you may not have time for.
But the reality is that pregnant women need more sleep (and rest, too).
So it may mean cutting out some personal time, alone time, or even activities you genuinely love so that you can get more sleep.
The reason sleep is so important for pregnant women is that when you’re tired, your prefrontal cortex shuts down, which means your primitive brain starts to take over. This is the fight, flight, and freeze part of your brain that is more anxiety producing. So if you’re tired all the time, it’s harder to manage anxiety.
Bottom line—do whatever it takes to get a little bit more sleep.
Tip 6: Start Journaling
Starting to journal is a great way to get clarity around what you’re thinking. Since your thoughts create your feelings, something you’re thinking about is causing you to feel anxious. By writing down your thoughts, you can find what you’re thinking that’s causing the feeling.
Even if you have diagnosed anxiety or depression and you’re seeking a professional’s help (which I highly recommend), using thought work as a supplement—specifically journaling—can help.
Download my 75 Journal Prompts For Moms here.
Tip 7: Get A Life Coach
Finally, get a life coach to help you with anxiety.
In Grow You, my virtual life coaching program for moms and moms-to-be, I help you redefine, normalize, and process anxiety so it doesn’t affect your day-to-day life.
As the saying goes, “you can’t read the label from inside the bottle.” Meaning, you need a coach who is outside your brain to show you what your brain is thinking and how it’s creating the anxiety, as well as what you can do about it.
Learn more here: Grow You Life Coaching
A Final Note!
When anxiety is managed with thought work and life coaching, it isn’t so bad—in fact, it’s quite normal.
When symptoms of anxiety present, you can use life coaching tools (including those I listed above) to help you process your anxiety, instead of resisting it.
However, if anxiety starts to interfere with day-to-day functioning (and you find yourself dysfunctional), are diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder or postpartum depression, or you have a history of anxiety, seek a professional healthcare provider, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist who can help get you back to functioning.
I used therapy to go from dysfunctional to functional (after a breakup), and from there I used life coaching to manage my mind and use thought work to process my anxiety. Coaching has changed my life and it’s an honor to be able to help so many moms in this community do the same!