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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Anxiety Attacks During Pregnancy

 by Dr. Lindsay Kramer, psychotherapist and staff writer at The April Center For Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles

A lot of people associate pregnancy with a joyous experience in which new life is being brought into the world.  There are terms such as “pregnancy glow” or “miracle of childbirth” that lead us as a society to presume pregnant women are happy, excited, and blissful.  This is not always the case.  Pregnancy can be very stressful, uncomfortable, and scary.  And for first-time expectant mothers, the body experiences drastic changes that inevitably affect daily functioning.  That is why it is important to be aware of all aspects of pregnancy.  

Though it is not often spoken or announced, pregnancy can cause high levels of stress and anxiety.  Anxiety attacks are actually very common amongst pregnant women, even if they have not had prior attacks.  It's been reported that as much as 10 percent of woman struggle with panic attacks during pregnancy.
Let’s review what comprises a panic or anxiety attack.   
Panic attack symptoms can include
-racing heartbeat
-chest pain or feeling like you're having a heart attack
-trembling or shakiness
-shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing
- feeling like you're "going crazy, dying or losing control".

 Panic attacks generally frequent no more than ten minutes, but can occur multiple times throughout a day.   

Women who have a history of anxiety or panic attacks are more likely to experience them in pregnancy.  Anxiety attacks when pregnant can be triggered by a multitude of different reasons.  Some of the most common issues are listed below:

-Increased anxiety due to hormonal changes that can initiate a panic attack.
-Anxiety due to fears of the future (being an adequate parent, increased responsibility, financial stress).
-History of anxiety prior to pregnancy, becoming more frequent while pregnant.
-An anxiety attack may result from coping with changes in your appearance and body.
This is by no means a definitive list of the causes for anxiety attacks during pregnancy.  The causes depend on the individual and can vary in severity and frequency of attacks.  It is important, especially for pregnant women, to seek out help to manage anxiety.  So what can you do to best ensure health for yourself and your baby?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been the most successful treatment for anxiety and panic attacks.  This type of therapy involves facing fear gradually with strategies and techniques.  It also involves training people to replace negative thoughts with realistic thoughts, helping people gain more control over their patterns of thinking, behaving, and feeling.  This type of therapy can also aid pregnant women in identifying the triggers for their anxiety and can reduce the amount of anxiety attacks in the future.  Therapists at The April Center specialize in the treatment and management of anxiety.  Pregnancy can be a vital time to seek out professional help and learn different techniques and tools to overcome anxiety, so that you and your baby can lead a happy and healthy life.
All the best,  
from The April Center For Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles

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The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles and The South Bay

The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management is committed to helping you remove the destructive barriers of anxiety, so that you may lead a calmer, healthier, happier life.

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