13 Best Natural Remedies for Anxiety During Pregnancy

13 Best Natural Remedies for Anxiety During Pregnancy

Writen By: Sana Ihsan
Reviewed By: Huma Khan
Publish Date: December 31, 2023

Embarking on the beautiful journey of pregnancy is a time filled with excitement and anticipation. However, it’s not uncommon for expectant mothers to experience moments of anxiety. In this exploration of natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy, we’ll delve into simple and natural approaches that prioritize your mental health. Have you ever wondered if natural anxiety remedies are safe for pregnancy? What practices or remedies have you considered or found effective? Let’s talk about this.

Experiencing anxiety during pregnancy, which we call Pregnancy anxiety, is a common and normal aspect of the journey. It’s entirely understandable for expectant mothers to feel occasional worries and concerns about various aspects of pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. These feelings are a natural part of the emotional spectrum during this transformative time. It’s essential for pregnant women to acknowledge these emotions and explore simple and natural ways to promote well-being, such as natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy. This can contribute to a more relaxed and positive pregnancy experience.

In this blog post, let’s dive into the most effective natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy. We’ll explore simple and calming remedies like herbal teas and gentle exercises that can bring comfort and ease anxiety. Stick around to discover these natural remedies for anxiety while pregnant to make your pregnancy journey more relaxed and joyful.

Table of Contents

Anxiety during Pregnancy 

Feeling very worried or scared when you’re pregnant is called anxiety or Pregnancy Anxiety. When you’re going to have a baby, feeling really worried or scared is very common. This might happen because you’re concerned about the baby’s health, how the birth will go, or taking care of the baby. It’s like having a lot of stress.  It’s normal, but finding ways to calm down and relax is important for you and your baby’s well-being.

You might keep thinking, “Is the baby okay?” or “How will I do as a parent?” It’s a bit like having a lot of stress or butterflies in your stomach. Sometimes, you might feel uneasy or find it hard to sleep. But here’s the thing – many pregnant people feel this way, and it’s totally okay. Finding ways to relax, like taking slow breaths or talking to someone you trust, can really help calm those anxious feelings. Remember, you’re not alone in feeling this, and there’s support available to make things easier for you.

This 2015 research talks about how feeling very sad, worried, or stressed during pregnancy can cause problems for both moms and kids. It says that being anxious during pregnancy, especially about that specific pregnancy, is a strong risk. The study suggests we need to learn more about different things that can cause issues and find ways to help moms with these feelings during pregnancy.

This 2008 study checked anxiety and depression in 100 pregnant women and a matched non-pregnant group. Results showed that 39% of pregnant women had anxiety, 18% had depression, and 17% received psychiatric treatment. The study suggests a need for better monitoring and treatment of mental health during pregnancy.

Symptoms of Pregnancy Anxiety

The following are the most common symptoms of Pregnancy Anxiety: 

  • Feeling excessively concerned about the well-being of the baby, the fear of pregnancy, or the responsibilities of parenthood.
  • A sense of unease or being unable to relax, accompanied by a constant feeling of being on edge.
  • Finding it challenging to focus on tasks or thoughts due to the mind being preoccupied with anxious thoughts.
  • Disruptions in normal sleep routines, such as difficulty falling asleep, frequent waking during the night, or restless sleep.
  • Experiencing bodily reactions to anxiety, such as stomach discomfort, muscle tension, or other physical manifestations of stress.
  • Feeling easily annoyed, agitated, or having mood swings that are not typical of the person’s usual demeanor.
  • Persistent feelings of exhaustion or being constantly on alert contribute to an overall sense of fatigue.
  • Physical sensations of a faster heart rate or noticeable heart palpitations, which can be associated with heightened anxiety.
  • Experiencing a flood of intrusive or uncontrollable thoughts related to pregnancy, childbirth, or parenting, which can be emotionally distressing.
  • Actively avoiding places, activities, or discussions associated with pregnancy or parenthood due to fear or anxiety, which can impact social and daily life.

Prevalence 

According to this 2019 study, 1 in 5 pregnant women experience anxiety disorders during pregnancy and postpartum, highlighting the need for mental health support during pregnancy.

Causes of Anxiety During Pregnancy

This 2015 study examined the anxiety of 150 pregnant women during pregnancy. Most anxieties were related to concerns about the newborn’s health and development, followed by concerns about the pregnant woman herself. The research emphasizes the varied sources of anxiety during pregnancy.

The following are some of the causes or risk factors of pregnancy anxiety:

1. Hormonal Changes

During pregnancy, hormones like estrogen and progesterone fluctuate, impacting mood and emotions. These hormonal shifts can contribute to feelings of anxiety.

2. Fear of the Unknown

The uncertainty surrounding childbirth, parenting, and the changes ahead can be overwhelming. The unknown aspects of this new chapter can trigger anxiety.

3. Previous Trauma

Past traumatic experiences, such as difficult pregnancies or personal challenges, may resurface, heightening anxiety during the current pregnancy.

4. Relationship Changes

Adjusting to new roles as parents can strain relationships. This shift in dynamics may lead to increased stress and anxiety for expectant parents.

5. Health Concerns

Worries about the baby’s health, potential complications, and the overall well-being of both the mother and the child can contribute to heightened anxiety levels.

6. Support System

The absence of a strong emotional support system, including friends, family, or a partner, may leave the expectant parent feeling isolated, adding to anxiety.

7. Financial Worries

Concerns about providing for the baby and managing the financial aspects of parenthood can be a significant source of stress during pregnancy.

According to this 2023 study conducted in Tabriz, 37.5% of expectant mothers felt anxious during their pregnancy. Income and unplanned pregnancies had a significant impact on maternal anxiety. Unintentional pregnancy increased the odds of anxiety, but women with somewhat adequate income had lower odds. 

8. Body Changes

The physical transformations that occur during pregnancy may lead to self-esteem and body image concerns, influencing an expectant mother’s emotional well-being.

9. Sleep Disturbances

Changes in sleep patterns, common during pregnancy due to discomfort or hormonal fluctuations, can contribute to heightened anxiety as fatigue sets in.

10. Social Pressure and Expectations

External societal expectations and pressures, whether related to parenting skills or societal norms, may lead to increased anxiety as individuals try to meet perceived standards.

Impact of Anxiety on Women’s Mental Health And Fetal Development During Pregnancy 

Anxiety impacts women’s and babies health in the following ways:

This 2015 study looks at how feeling very worried during pregnancy can affect children’s health. It found that anxiety during pregnancy can cause serious effects in four areas: the body, the mind, behavior, and overall health. The researchers say it’s crucial to check for and help with anxiety issues during pregnancy to keep children healthy.

Impact on Women’s Mental Health

  • Higher chance of feeling very sad after giving birth.
  • Finding it hard to connect with the baby.
  • Trouble sleeping and feeling more stressed.
  • More risk of worrying too much about the baby.
  • Struggling to talk about feelings and get help.
  • Difficulty taking care of oneself during this time.

Impact on Fetal Development

  • Premature birth risk.
  • Lower birth weight.
  • Developmental delays in the child.
  • Elevated stress hormones affect the fetus.
  • Higher vulnerability to respiratory issues after birth.
  • Impaired immune system functioning in infancy.

Natural Remedies For Anxiety During Pregnancy

This 2021 study identified effective non-pharmacological interventions for reducing anxiety during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. Strategies included behavioral activation, cognitive behavioral therapy, yoga, music therapy, and relaxation during pregnancy. Aromatherapy was effective during childbirth, while antenatal training, partner massage, and self-guided book reading with professional assistance worked during pregnancy and postpartum. The study suggests that nurses and midwives can play a role in implementing these methods that act as natural anxiety relief during pregnancy and for expectant and new mothers.

1. Aromatherapy: Use calming scents like lavender through diffusers for essential oils

Aromatherapy involves pleasant smells, like lavender, that can help calm your mind. Using diffusers for essential oils in your space can create a soothing atmosphere and can serve the role of a natural anxiety medication while pregnant. 

This 2021 study suggests that inhaling lavender oil twice daily for a week significantly reduced nausea, vomiting, and anxiety in pregnant women. This suggests that lavender aromatherapy can be a helpful tool for managing these common pregnancy discomforts.

This 2010 study further suggests that pregnant women who used aromatherapy with essential oils rich in linalyl acetate and linalool daily from 28 weeks of pregnancy experienced significantly reduced anxiety compared to a control group.  While larger studies are needed, this suggests aromatherapy with these specific oils can be an effective self-care tool for easing anxiety during pregnancy.

2. Warm Baths: Soak in a warm bath to relax your muscles and ease tension

Taking a warm bath is like giving your body a break. It helps relax your muscles, can be a comforting way to unwind and de-stress during pregnancy, and is a good addition to the natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy.

This 2021 study suggests that warm showers during the first stage of labor significantly eased pain and anxiety in first-time moms, with lower pain scores and higher comfort compared to those who didn’t take showers.

This 2010 study further suggests that Hydrotherapy in labor demonstrably reduces maternal anxiety. Immersion for an hour in a 37°C bath was associated with decreased anxiety scores and lower levels of stress hormones, suggesting a positive psychophysiological effect on women.

3. Mindfulness Meditation: Focus on the present moment to reduce anxiety

Mindfulness meditation involves paying attention to the current moment without judgment. It’s a way to shift your focus from anxious thoughts and find a sense of calm. According to a 2017 study, pregnant women who practice mindful meditation may experience less anxiety.

This 2022 study further shows that mindful meditation can really lift your mood, especially mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) done in short bursts starting early on.

4. Herbal Teas: Some teas, like chamomile, may offer soothing effects 

Certain teas, like chamomile, passionflower, peppermint, ginger, raspberry leaves, ashwagandha, hibiscus, and green tea, have calming properties and are good herbal remedies for anxiety during pregnancy. This 2019 study in rural Ghana found that pregnant women consistently use herbal medicine, including ginger and chamomile, throughout pregnancy. 

Another 1993 study says that pregnant women, especially those planning home births, tend to increase their herbal tea consumption during pregnancy as it reduces stress and has other benefits as well. The most popular choices are chamomile, raspberry, and peppermint.

Since not all herbal teas are thought to be safe to drink while pregnant, so it is important to check with your doctor to be sure the tea or the herbs are safe for you. 

5. Maternal Massage: Consider a prenatal massage for physical and mental relaxation

A maternal massage, specifically designed for pregnant women, can ease physical tension, promote mental relaxation, and act as a natural anxiety medication safe for pregnancy. Always choose a certified prenatal massage therapist.

This 2020 study says that massage therapy significantly reduces depressive symptoms in pregnant women compared to standard care. Although it has a moderate effect on anxiety, more research is needed.

According to this 2021 systematic review, pregnancy massage can be an effective, non-invasive intervention for reducing anxiety, stress, and depression in pregnant women. Longer and more frequent massages seem to lead to greater reductions in anxiety and stress.

6. Guided Imagery: Picture calming scenes in your mind for stress relief

Guided imagery is like making a happy movie in your mind. You can imagine calm places, like a beach or a forest, to help your mind feel peaceful.

This 2021 study adds guided imagery to the arsenal of effective stress-reduction techniques like muscle relaxation and deep breathing. All three demonstrably enhance psychological relaxation in healthy individuals.

A 2019 research study further provides compelling evidence for the efficacy of guided imagery in alleviating anxiety during pregnancy.

This 2014 study also suggests that guided imagery could be a helpful tool for managing stress and related symptoms in pregnant African American women, although further research is needed to confirm long-term benefits.

7. Deep Breathing: Practice slow, deep breaths to calm your nervous system

Taking deep breaths helps slow your heart rate and relax your body, easing the tension caused by anxiety during pregnancy. It’s like giving your body a signal to calm down and acting as a natural anxiety medication safe for pregnancy.

According to a research study in 2022, pregnant women who learned skilled breathing and relaxation techniques in their antenatal classes felt more confident, less stressed, used less pain medication, and felt labor pain less intensely. 

This 2023 study further suggests that a simple relaxation technique combining muscle relaxation and deep breathing significantly reduces stress levels in pregnant women working during the pandemic.

8. Gentle Exercise: Engage in activities like walking, swimming, or prenatal yoga for relaxation

Simple exercises, like swimming, walking, or gentle yoga designed for pregnant individuals, can improve mood and can act as natural anxiety relief during pregnancy without putting too much stress on the body. It’s an enjoyable and natural way to keep your body moving and promote overall well-being.

According to a 2003 study, swimming can be a beneficial part of a pregnancy exercise routine for inactive women, promoting fitness and stress relief without compromising maternal or fetal well-being.

This 2019 study further suggests that regular physical activity, like even just walking at least once a week, can significantly reduce anxiety symptoms and even help prevent them during pregnancy.

Another 2019 study compared prenatal yoga and deep breathing relaxation and found that both were effective in reducing anxiety during the third trimester of pregnancy. While their efficacy didn’t statistically differ, this suggests diverse anxiety-management tools that can benefit expecting mothers.

9. Gratitude Journaling

Take a few minutes each day to write down the things you are grateful for. This simple journaling practice can shift your focus to positive aspects of your life, promoting a sense of gratitude and reducing anxiety during pregnancy. This is confirmed by a 2020 research study, which found that pregnant women who received writing therapy sessions had significantly lower anxiety scores compared to those who didn’t. 

A 2014 study highlights common physical and emotional challenges during pregnancy, including stress, sadness, and feelings of being overwhelmed. Gratitude journaling encourages focusing on positive aspects and finding appreciation for the changes and experiences, which could potentially act as a counterpoint to these negative emotions. 

10. Acupuncture: Some find acupuncture helpful; consult your healthcare provider

Acupuncture involves using tiny needles to stimulate specific points in your body. Some people find it helpful for reducing anxiety as it is a good alternative to medication for anxiety during pregnancy, but it’s crucial to consult your healthcare provider first.

This 2017 study suggests that acupuncture may be a useful tool for perinatal mental health care for vulnerable women. 

This is also confirmed by another 2020 study, which suggests that prenatal acupuncture could be a promising tool for managing depression, stress, and anxiety in pregnant women.

11. Music Therapy: Listen to calming music or nature sounds for relaxation

Music has a powerful impact on emotions. Listening to calming music or natural sounds can create a peaceful atmosphere, reducing stress and anxiety.

According to this 2019 study, music therapy significantly reduces anxiety in pregnant women, both in controlled settings and at home. Additionally, 2023 research also suggests that listening to classical music during pregnancy can be a simple yet effective way to manage anxiety for both expectant mothers and their newborns.

12. Laughter Therapy

Engage in activities that make you laugh, whether it’s watching a funny movie, reading a lighthearted book, or enjoying a comedy show. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals, promoting a positive mood and alleviating anxiety during pregnancy. Laughter therapy is one of a safe and effective natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy.

This 2023 research found that laughter yoga positively impacted pregnant women’s mental well-being and prenatal attachment. The women demonstrated improved mental health and a stronger bond to their unborn child after engaging in laughter yoga, indicating that the practice is beneficial during pregnancy.

Incorporating these natural anxiety remedies safe for pregnancy can be an effective way to manage stress. Always consult with your healthcare provider to ensure these practices align with your specific pregnancy needs.

13. Supportive Social Connections: Talk to friends or family for emotional support

Sharing your feelings with people you trust, like friends or family, provides emotional support. Having a strong support system can make a big difference in managing anxiety.

This 2022 study says pregnancy anxiety is common in China, affecting over 40% of pregnant women. Strong family support and good relationships ease anxiety, likely by boosting resilience.

This 2022 study was conducted among black pregnant women, and it shows that close family ties during pregnancy can be a real shield against depression, stress, and anxiety for pregnant women.

Lifestyle Modifications to Ease Anxiety

The following lifestyle modifications can help you ease your anxiety and act as natural anxiety relief during pregnancy.

1. Creating a Supportive Environment at Home 

Arrange your space to feel comfortable and safe. Surround yourself with things that make you happy, like pictures or soothing colors.

2. Balancing Work and Personal Life during Pregnancy

Plan your tasks, take breaks, and communicate with your boss or colleagues about your needs. Make time for self-care and relaxation.

3. Seeking Social Support and Connecting with Others

 Share your feelings with friends or family. Talking to someone you trust can make you feel understood and supported.

4. Positive Daily Routines

Establish simple routines, like regular meals and short walks. Predictable daily activities can bring a sense of stability and reduce stress.

5. Limiting Stimulants

Reduce your intake of caffeine and sugary snacks, as they can affect your mood. Opt for healthier food and drink choices.

6. Nature Breaks

Spend some time outdoors, even if it’s just sitting in a park. Nature has a calming effect on the mind.

7. Quality Sleep Habits

Create a comfortable sleep environment. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule to improve the quality of your rest.

The importance of Consulting Healthcare Professionals

Healthcare consultations can guide you in the following ways:

  • Healthcare providers offer advice tailored to your specific health condition and pregnancy.
  • Ensures that specific natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy or treatments are safe for both the mother and the baby.
  • Regular consultations allow healthcare professionals to monitor your well-being, provide support, and guide you about whether natural anxiety medication is safe for pregnancy.
  • Sometimes, natural things can mess with your regular medicines or cause problems. Your doctor can help stop that from happening.
  • Doctors can check if there’s something else making you anxious and suggest things that might help.
  • Helps identify and manage any potential risks or complications early on.
  • Regular visits to the doctor help make sure the natural things you’re trying don’t cause any bad reactions or issues.
  • It enables you to make well-informed decisions about your health and the health of your baby.
  • Allows for the early detection and prevention of potential health issues during pregnancy.

Ensuring Safety And Suitability of Natural Remedies During Pregnancy

Ensuring the safety and suitability of natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy is crucial for the health of both the mother and the baby. It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider before using any natural remedies or herbal supplements while pregnant. Some herbs and natural remedies might not be safe during pregnancy and could potentially harm the baby or interfere with the pregnancy. Always inform your doctor about any natural remedies you’re considering using, as they can advise you on what’s safe and appropriate during pregnancy. Prioritizing caution and seeking professional guidance helps ensure the well-being of both the expecting mother and the baby.

When to seek Professional Help for Anxiety? 

You need professional help for your Anxiety If you are:

  • Feeling really anxious for a long time during pregnancy.
  • If anxiety interferes with daily tasks or enjoying your pregnancy.
  • If talking to friends is not helping with pregnancy anxiety.
  • If anxiety is causing physical discomfort, like headaches.
  • If pregnancy anxiety is affecting your sleep.
  • If feeling overwhelmed by anxious thoughts about childbirth.
  • If anxiety is affecting your relationships or communication with your partner.
  • If coping with past traumas is surfacing during pregnancy.
  • If anxiety is accompanied by mood swings during pregnancy.
  • If you are struggling with body image concerns during pregnancy.
  • If anxiety makes it challenging to make decisions during pregnancy, seeking help can offer clarity.

Therapy-Providing Organizations

Here are some of the online platforms that provide therapy and support that can help you overcome your Pregnancy Anxiety.

  • BetterHelp: Online therapy with licensed therapists and a variety of self-help resources.
  • Talkspace: Online therapy with licensed therapists, group therapy, and psychiatry services.
  • Talkiatry: Online psychiatry with medication management for mental health conditions.

Self-Help Books

  1. The Natural Pregnancy by Aviva Jill Romm

Guiding expectant moms through a holistic approach to pregnancy, Aviva Jill Romm aims to empower women to make informed choices about their pregnancy experience by integrating natural solutions with evidence-based information, addressing both the physical and emotional well-being of mother and child.

  1. Finding Calm for the Expectant Mom by Alice D. Domar

Alice D. Domar’s book focuses on offering insights and strategies to manage stress during pregnancy, providing a guide to a more serene journey.

  1. Stress Solutions for Pregnant Moms by Susan Ring Andrews

Susan Ring Andrews provides practical solutions for pregnant moms to cope with stress, promoting overall well-being during this transformative period.

Conclusion

In wrapping up, dealing with anxiety during pregnancy involves looking at risk factors and finding effective ways to cope. Trying natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy is essential for the well-being of both the mom and the baby. Understanding what can cause pregnancy anxiety helps in finding the right approaches to handling stress.

When thinking about whether a natural anxiety medication is safe for pregnancy, it’s crucial to check with healthcare providers to make sure it’s okay for you. By focusing on creating a supportive environment, seeking social support, and consulting healthcare providers when needed, you can explore natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy.

Remember, every pregnancy is different, and finding the right mix of natural ways with professional advice ensures a safe and complete plan to manage anxiety during this special time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

The following are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this topic:

How to Treat Severe Anxiety While Pregnant?

  • Talk to your doctor about your feelings.
  • Consider therapy or counseling sessions.
  • Learn and practice relaxation techniques, like deep breathing or gentle exercises.
  • Surround yourself with a supportive environment, including friends and family.
  • Ask your doctor about safe medications if needed.

How to Stop an Anxiety Attack While Pregnant?

  • Focus on slow and deep breaths.
  • Find a quiet space to sit or lie down.
  • Ground yourself by noticing and naming things around you.
  • Use positive affirmations to calm your mind.
  • Reach out to someone for support if you feel comfortable.

How Can I Reduce My Pregnancy Anxiety?

  • Talk openly with your healthcare provider.
  • Create a calming daily routine.
  • Engage in activities you enjoy.
  • Share your feelings with friends or family.
  • Consider prenatal classes to feel more prepared.

How Does Anxiety Affect the Fetus?

  • Prolonged anxiety might impact a baby’s development.
  • It can influence the baby’s stress response.
  • Seek guidance from your doctor for personalized advice.

What Can I Take for Panic Attacks During Pregnancy?

  • Consult your doctor for personalized advice on managing panic attacks during pregnancy.
  • Explore non-drug options like mindfulness or therapy under professional guidance.
  • Avoid self-medication and rely on your doctor’s expertise for safe solutions during pregnancy.

These are some emergency helplines that you can contact in moments of crisis: 

  • Call on this number 1-800-273-8255 or
  • Text the word CARE to 839863
  • You can call 6389 2222 for immediate help.
  • You can simply call 911.

Does Pregnancy Anxiety Go Away?

  • Pregnancy anxiety can vary among individuals, and for many, it diminishes with time, support, and coping strategies.
  • Seeking professional guidance, engaging in mindfulness practices, and creating a supportive environment can contribute to alleviating anxiety.
  • Communicate openly with your healthcare provider.

Is Pregnancy Anxiety Normal?

  • Yes, many pregnant individuals experience anxiety due to various reasons and it’s perfectly fine and normal.
  • Talking to your doctor is a normal and helpful step.
  • Seeking support is a positive choice.

Can Anxiety Be Passed From Mother to Child?

  • Some studies suggest a link, but it’s still being determined. According to this 2019 study, even mild maternal stress or anxiety during pregnancy may have long-term consequences for infant and child development.
  • Focus on managing anxiety with professional help. A supportive environment benefits both mom and baby.