Anxiety While Pregnant
Experiencing anxiety during pregnancy is a side effect experienced by many women. In some cases anxiety while pregnant can become dangerous leading to depression and suicidal ideation. Even mild anxiety while pregnant can be incredibly uncomfortable when added to all the other physical side effects often experienced during a pregnancy. Making the problem worse is the fact that many of the drugs which can effectively treat anxiety can be harmful to the fetus and its development. Fortunately, there are ways to effectively treat anxiety while pregnant as well as minimize any side effects which may develop in the fetus.
Preexisting Anxiety Disorder
Often women will enter a pregnancy with a preexisting anxiety disorder. Women are already statistically more likely to suffer from anxiety than men. The most common form of anxiety that appears in women is general anxiety disorder or GAD. The two most common ways in which to treat GAD are with either benzodiazepines or serotonin reuptake inhibitors which are also known as SRIs. benzodiazepines are only recommended for short term treatment of anxiety disorders due to their ability to build physical dependence. However, some doctors often prescribe benzodiazepines for long term treatment leading to some women entering pregnancy with a physical dependence to a benzodiazepine.
Preexisting Anxiety Disorder During Pregnancy
There are several ways in which preexisting anxiety disorders can be treated during a pregnancy. It largely depends upon which medications if any are being taken upon entering pregnancy. If benzodiazepines are being taken upon entering pregnancy many doctors will recommend tapering the dosage down gradually to limit the risk of birth defects. It is not advisable to stop taking benzodiazepines immediately as there may be withdrawal effects which can be damaging to both the mother and developing child. SRI's also increase some risks during pregnancy. Many studies however indicate that the risks only increase a small percentage. The biggest risks are during the third trimester of pregnancy. Because of this some doctors will have their patients discontinue the SRI during the third trimester of pregnancy.
Pregnancy Related Anxiety
Sometimes women will develop anxiety during pregnancy even if they were not experiencing anxiety directly before becoming pregnant. Due to the risk posed by taking benzodiazepines and SRIs women who develop anxiety while pregnant must seek alternate means of treatment. One alternative is counseling. Counseling will teach how to deal with anxiety without needing medication. There are also many herbal products that a doctor may recommend for treating the anxiety condition. It is important to be careful when using supplements due to the fact that many are not FDA approved for medical use which means possible side effects have not been as thoroughly evaluated as FDA approved medication's side effects have been. The safest way to treat anxiety while pregnant is to find a way to alleviate anxiety that is natural. Many have found meditation or light exercise to be very beneficial for relieving their anxiety during pregnancy. The most important thing to remember however is to listen to the doctors advise before trying new ways in which to treat anxiety while pregnant.