• Mind + Mom + Baby

How to Tell If You Struggle with Prenatal Anxiety


"You're expecting a child! This must be one of the happiest times of your life!" Except, it's not. You feel like you are anxious about, well, nearly everything.

While finding out you’re expecting a child is one of the most exciting experiences in life, not all women feel the exact same way. Some women struggle with prenatal anxiety, and might have anxious and fearful thoughts all throughout their pregnancy. 


It’s essential to understand that dealing with prenatal anxiety in no way makes you a bad mother. It also doesn’t mean you won’t bond with your baby. 


Unfortunately, there is not nearly enough attention given to prenatal anxiety. So, if you have the symptoms but aren’t aware of the condition, it’s easy to think there might be something “wrong” with you. 


The more you know about prenatal anxiety, the sooner you can get the help you need to get through these next several months. 


How can you tell if you’re struggling with prenatal anxiety, and what can you do about it?


Common Signs of Prenatal Anxiety

The symptoms of prenatal anxiety aren’t much different from the symptoms of traditional anxiety. It’s more about what you’re fearing and why. Some of the most common signs include: 

  • A constant fear that something bad will happen

  • Racing thoughts

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Changes in eating habits

  • Physical symptoms

Everything from nausea and fatigue to dizziness could be a sign of prenatal anxiety. Far too often, women who are pregnant ignore those physical signs as they think they might just be the normal physical symptoms that go along with pregnancy. 


If the physical symptoms are combined with any of the internal symptoms listed above and you can’t seem to control your worrying thoughts, you may be dealing with prenatal anxiety. 


Who Is at Risk? 

Any expectant mother can experience feelings of fear or worry throughout her pregnancy. Feelings of anxiety tend to stick around, and they can be overwhelming. They are also often irrational. 


While any woman can experience prenatal anxiety, some might be more susceptible than others. If this isn’t your first child and you had a challenging experience with your first pregnancy, the fear and worry from that might be taking over. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, your fears could start to take over from there. 


You also may be at a greater risk of developing prenatal anxiety if you already were dealing with mental health issues before you became pregnant. Even if you had something like anxiety or depression years ago, this is a major life event. It can trigger many old thoughts and ideas. 


How to Treat Prenatal Anxiety

The good news about prenatal anxiety is that the “prenatal” part disappears after your child is born. However, various fears and worries can come into play after you have your baby that might feel even worse. You might start to worry if you’re doing everything right, or you live in constant fear over your baby’s health, etc. 


The best way to treat prenatal anxiety and to get any anxious thoughts under control for good is to talk to a mental health professional. A therapist can help you get to the underlying causes of your fears and worries. From there, you can learn management techniques to fight back against your fearful thoughts, especially when they are irrational. 

If you’re pregnant and you have been experiencing any of the symptoms of prenatal anxiety, feel free to contact me for more information or to set up an appointment. I offer a complimentary phone consultation to all potential clients. To schedule yours in a matter of seconds, please check here.


It’s okay to have some worries about your pregnancy. Let’s get to the bottom of those worries so you can feel the excitement about your pregnancy. Plus, you’ll have the management skills to combat irrational fears once your child is born.


To learn more about how counseling can help with prenatal anxiety, please click here.


BRINGING BABY HOME: A NEW PARENT WORKSHOP IS GOING VIRTUAL!!!! A workshop for couples who are thinking about or planning to have a baby, who are expecting a baby or who have children already. Based on years of research and experience and developed by the Gottman Institute, this 12 hour workshop is designed to repair communication skills and jump start your relationship with your partner. For more information, please click here.

Jennifer Perera is a mom, spouse and Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has over a decade’s worth of experience in mental health. She has a private practice in New Jersey, with locations in Cranford and Princeton. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual, group and couples counseling. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with a pregnancy loss or infertility. Her other passion is travelling to different parts of the world and her goal is to vacation in a different locale every time. She also has a great fondness for cats!

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