You're about to be responsible for another human life -- so some anxiety is normal during pregnancy. But because extreme stress and anxiety during pregnancy are tied to preterm delivery and delivery complications, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, don't write off anxiety as harmless. Retraining your brain can help ease some of those worrisome thoughts.
When visions of mammoth college tuition bills float into your head, try replacing them with positive imagery, wrote physician and psychiatrist Dr. Robert London in 2014 for "Psychology Today." He suggests hypnosis and relaxation techniques, including imagining pleasant images, for a pregnant woman with anxiety. Try envisioning several positive images -- like snuggling with your baby and celebrating her first Christmas -- when an anxious thought arises.
Obsessing over things you can't control can cause anxiety to build. Try accepting your worries as facts, suggests clinical psychologist Dr. Pamela Wiegartz, then focus your attention on the present. So when you start to feel overwhelmed by fear about the pain of childbirth, tell yourself that labor might hurt but it will be temporary and there's nothing you can do about it now. Turn your attention toward a good book and a cup of tea.
Getting answers to questions that worry you may help put those fears out of your mind. Schedule a tour of the birthing center where you'll have the baby. Ask your doctor about prenatal-care groups that include women who are all at the same stage of pregnancy for regular sessions. These groups lower stress and create a kind of support group, Peter Bernstein, a specialist in maternal fetal medicine at Montefiore Medical Center, told the "Wall Street Journal" in 2010.
Ask for Help
If people have responded to your pregnancy with offers to help with anything you need, take them up on those offers now. When an anxiety attack strikes, turning to a trusted friend or your partner can help you see straight. Wiegartz suggests you come up with reassuring statements and ask those around you to repeat them to you when you're anxious. Scheduling walks and yoga sessions with friends to combine exercise, laughter and companionship: all things that will help you feel warm and supported during pregnancy.