When to seek help as a Mum to be
Anxiety and worry in pregnancy is very common. It can be an emotional and overwhelming time, which can make it difficult to know whether what you are feeling is “normal”… or whether it’s something that you might need help with. You know yourself best, so if you feel like something is wrong – trust your instinct and think about talking to your healthcare provider.
If you are not sure whether or not to ask for help, ask yourself the following:
- Do your symptoms feel excessive?
- Do you experience anxiety and worry even when you are not in a stressful situation?
- Do you feel like you can’t stop worrying, even though you want to?
- Do your symptoms make you feel physically unwell (e.g. with rapid pulse and breathing, excess sweeting, feeling dizzy, faint or sick) or stop you from getting a good night’s sleep?
- Are you experiencing regular panic attacks?
- Do you have persistent, unwelcome intrusive thoughts that you feel like you can’t control?
- Do your symptoms interfere with your life (e.g. relationships, your ability to work or carry out daily tasks, or how you look after yourself)?
If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, you might want to consider asking for help.
It is also common to feel a bit anxious about childbirth, and in most cases, this is totally normal. However, if you are experiencing overwhelming feelings of fear and anxiety about anything to do with your pregnancy (e.g. labour itself, or possible aspects of treatment such as needles), we suggest that you talk to your midwife or GP about this, as they may be able to advise you of things you can do to feel more positively about labour; and in cases of phobias (e.g. tokophobia), they may be able to refer you for treatment with a mental health professional.
When should I ask for help?
The sooner you get help the quicker you will get better and can get on with enjoying your pregnancy. So, the answer to when to seek help is now! Professionals would rather talk to you to make sure you are OK than for you to suffer in silence. If there is nothing wrong with you at least you have got some reassurance from them and if you do have a problem they can help get on the road to recovery. It is a win win. We know it is not as simple as this when you are overthinking and understand there are many reasons telling a professional is hard and sometimes scary. Below is a list of reasons to get help and things that make it difficult for many women. There are links to helpful resources to explore tools to make telling professionals easier, issues of stigma and possible conditions that can occur if your anxiety is not treated.
Reasons to get help
- You are not alone it is a very common experience
- If perinatal anxiety is left untreated it can get worse and may become a long-term condition
- Research has shown that untreated perinatal anxiety may increase your chances of developing postnatal depression
- Untreated perinatal anxiety has been linked to preterm delivery and low birth weight
Reasons that may make it difficult for you to seek help
- Don’t know what to say
- Don’t want to waste professionals time
- Not sure there is a “real” problem
- Worried you are going mad
- Scared professionals will think you are a bad mum
- Worried you will not be taken seriously
- Do not want a diagnosis or to be labelled
Remember: Seeking help means you are a good mum
See the link below for help in taking the first steps in seeking help.