Anxiety during pregnancy can manifest itself in many ways – headaches, fatigue, poor appetite/diet, lack of sleep, irritability, etc. During pregnancy we should strive for peace in our minds, bodies, and souls so that we and our babies can experience health and wellness.
How to Manage Anxiety During Pregnancy, Naturally
I am no stranger to anxiety, and struggle with it from time to time. The following is a list of amazing natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy (and beyond) that have worked for me and those in the Mother Rising community.
TIP: Don’t try to do all of these at once. Pick 2-3 that resonate with you, and go from there. Baby steps! You can do it!
Faith > Anxiety During Pregnancy
For me, the most helpful, natural remedy for anxiety during pregnancy is to press in to my faith. I would be lying if I said something otherwise.
The only way I’ve found true peace and total healing is to make my relationship with God priority number one. Restoration, grace, and peace come at the feet of Jesus.
Faith, Prayer, and Meditation
For me, what this looks like in the day in and day out is…
- realizing that any healing and peace is done by the grace of God through the work of the Holy Spirit, not by my own effort
- before my feet hit the floor I’m likely praying in my head or out loud
- taking small chunks of time (3 minutes, even) to devote myself to prayer throughout each day during pregnancy (and postpartum too!)
- praying with thankfulness, asking (the Prince of Peace) for wisdom, peace, and healing
- reading chunks of scripture and journaling in my bible (it doesn’t need to be pretty)
- spending time with other believers that offer wisdom and insight into my life (and vice versa!)
- writing bible verses for new moms on note cards and strategically place them around my home.
- singing and listening to praise and worship music throughout the day (I love my Amazon devices and music subscription for this!)
I really like the Jesus Calling devotional. It’s excellent for calming fears, no matter where they’re coming from.
Other Remedies for Anxiety During Pregnancy
Other than my faith, there have been lots of other things that I have added or subtracted from my life that has offered relief from anxiety during pregnancy. Here’s my list!
Notice the Breath
Noticing the breath, which is the starting point for mindfulness, has many benefits and is extremely helpful with anxiety. Noticing the breath forces our busy selves to slow down and become aware of our body. It allows us to sit in the present moment – not the past, nor the future.
A by-product of breath awareness is that our brains receive more oxygen, which also helps with anxiety!
“To start learning breath awareness simply notice what the breath is doing in this current moment. You don’t need to change it, but just notice what it’s doing. You may find that bringing awareness to the breath changes it – and that’s ok too. Keep watching the breath – the inhales and the exhales. Notice how long, or short each breath is. Keep going. And if you find your mind wandering, or even telling yourself you’re not doing it right, without judgement go right back to your breath. Yes, just like that.”
I don’t know about you, but reading and following the breath awareness prompt above calmed me right down. Try it!
Do you know what triggers your anxiety? Maybe it’s certain situations, foods, smells, or even people. If it makes sense, see if you can limit, or avoid these certain triggers for the remainder of pregnancy. If that doesn’t work, brainstorm effective coping mechanisms so that when you interact with a trigger, there is a game plan.
EXAMPLE: Maybe your mother-in-law is a trigger for your anxiety. However, avoiding her for the remainder of pregnancy isn’t a solution that would work. A possible solution is to explain that receiving text and phone calls throughout the day isn’t working for you and that you will call her once per week to chat. In your phone’s settings, change her texts to “do not disturb” so that notifications do not show up on the phone. Involve your partner as a sort of “gatekeeper” as well.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE: Perhaps you’ve noticed that every time you watch the news or go on social media, your anxiety increases. A possible solution is to stop watching the news and get off social media. However, since that’s not realistic for most of us, try designating one hour per day to access certain platforms, for certain information, at a certain time of day. You can always ask a friend to text you if something earth shattering happens so you’re not too much out of the loop.
Remember, your mental health is important and shouldn’t come second to peripheral issues! Be gracious, but firm. Boundaries are self-care.
Make a short list of 3-5 outdoor places that spark joy. Maybe it’s a lake, beach, particular park, hill, trail, mountain, whatever. Make it a priority to get outside and enjoy these places a few times per month.
Getting outside will fuel your fire, get your blood flowing, give you a healthy dose of vitamin d, and you’ll make fun pregnancy memories. Enjoy!
Speaking of getting the blood flowing, exercise is free, fun, accessible and a perfect remedy for anxiety during pregnancy. Of course, talk with your care provider before you jump in, but for most pregnant women there’s something you can do to exercise.
Walking, swimming, and yoga are easy, low impact forms of exercise that are perfect for pregnant women. If possible, exercise outside for a synergistic effect. You will feel gooooood, mama!
If yoga sounds appealing, you will love a prenatal yoga class. Stretching the body, learning to become aware of the breath in the context of pregnancy is a recipe for peaceful success. Check out Shiva Rae’s tried and true prenatal yoga dvd. You can stream that online, but there are many other great options too!
Singing and Dancing
Singing OR dancing are helpful for anxiety during pregnancy, but why not combine the two? Don’t worry, nobody needs to see or hear you! Just let go!
If you need something to get you started, try the Frozen II soundtrack, “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” or the “Hokey Pokey”. Not your jam? LOL How about “Single Ladies” by Beyonce?
Lavender (and other Essential Oils)
Lavender, a safe essential oil for pregnancy, has been shown to alleviate anxiety. My favorite way to use lavender is in a diffuser, however, if you’re unfamiliar with essential oils here’s simple way to get started.
This is an easy recipe for a calming aromatic spray:
Instructions: Mix ingredients in a small, glass spray bottle. When feeling stressed, spray in the room like an air freshener. You’ll love it!
Rescue Remedy is a great natural remedy for anxiety during pregnancy. The small bottle contains essences of specific flowers that help take the anxiety down a notch.
- Rock Rose for confidence & composure
- Impatiens for patience & tolerance
- Clematis for focus & motivation
- Star of Bethlehem for comfort & reassurance
- Cherry Plum for self-control & stability
- All naturally preserved in grape alcohol.
Eliminating caffeine has been KEY to controlling my anxiety. It’s not that caffeine causes anxiety, it just that caffeine stimulates the nervous system so that if there is anxiety, the feeling will be exaggerated. Ugh.
If you love your coffee, switch to decaf, or if at all possible just stop drinking it. I promise it will be worth it.
If you plan to ignore the advice above (LOL!) make sure to stop drinking caffeine by 2pm so that it will not impact your sleep. Trust me on this.
The Basics of Good Sleep During Pregnancy
Do you know the basics of good sleep during pregnancy? Feeling rested has a significant impact on mental health! If you’re not sleeping well, head over here to check out my tips! Your anxiety is sure to decrease.
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
Eating well can naturally decrease symptoms of anxiety and the key to eating a well-balanced diet is to create a meal plan.
It took me until my 30s to figure that out. Save yourself the trouble, and just pick a day and meal plan on that day once a week every week. With a plan in place you won’t be caught off guard by the lack of food at meal time. It sounds so silly, but meal planning makes such a huge difference!
If you would like to brainstorm some more about this, you’ll love my post about creating a pregnancy meal plan.
Drink Hot Tea
Have you ever tried to drink hot tea quickly? It doesn’t work very well. Drinking hot tea regularly is not only nutritious, but demands life to slow down for just a bit.
There is always time for tea. And tea during pregnancy is a lovely way to meet your daily water intake.
Magnesium can reduce anxiety and also eliminate those pesky middle of the night leg cramps! Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
Magnesium can be applied topically or mixed in a bit of water to be taken orally. Make sure to follow the instructions and start off with very small amounts! (Some people take too much initially, and then experience diarrhea.)
Admittedly, I have limited experience with acupuncture. However, from what I hear it is an amazing remedy for anxiety – even during pregnancy!
“Acupuncturists insert each needle half a millimeter away from a nerve. Depending on where the needles go, acupuncture can cause the nervous system to produce painkilling chemicals, jump-start the body’s natural ability to heal itself, or stimulate the part of the brain that controls emotions, including anxiety. All of these results, Hsu adds, can help people feel more balanced and treat a variety of illnesses.” (source)
A warm bath or shower can feel amazing after a long day. I don’t know about you, but after some hydrotherapy I feel like a new woman.
WARNING: Don’t let the water in the tub get above your body’s temperature of 98.6 degrees. Your body has methods of cooling itself down, but your baby does not.
Process painting and sculpting are two fun ways to ease anxiety. For some pregnancy themed prompts, check out the beginning of the Birthing From Within book.
Birthing From Within is one of the top ten best pregnancy books out there, so not only will you be trying something new (pregnancy art) but you’ll have access to wildly popular book!
Sometimes anxiety during pregnancy is about something specific, possibly something you would like to avoid or are fearful of about your upcoming birth, for example. (Dad’s have fears too!)
In this situation, the best course of action is to actively name what you’re hoping to avoid and be as specific as possible. “Loss of control” and “transferring to the hospital” can be vague, so try to narrow it down.
What exactly about transferring to the hospital is a problem for you? What specifically about receiving an epidural is a problem for you?
Now that you’ve named it, visualize yourself coping through this specific unwished for experience. Don’t try to make it not happen, but see yourself coping through it. You don’t have to like what’s happening – you can still be sad or angry about it – but see how you would cope through this experience.
Grab a journal and write down your thoughts.
Talk it Out
The last idea on this long list of natural remedies for anxiety during pregnancy is to find a good listener and talk it out.
Ladies, this may or may not be your partner, a friend, or a trained counselor. I don’t know who that person is for you, but being heard calms the soul. Find the best listener you know, FaceTime them while you sip on some hot tea, and have a good conversation. Talking it out is good medicine!
TIP: Many therapists now offer tele-therapy, especially right now. Modern technology is awfully convenient, making it tough to make excuses!
How to Manage Anxiety During Pregnancy, Naturally
- Faith, Prayer and Meditation
- Notice the Breath
- Avoid Triggers
- Explore Nature
- Prenatal Yoga Class
- Singing and Dancing
- Lavender Essential Oil
- Rescue Remedy
- Eliminate Caffeine
- Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
- Drink Hot Tea
- Magnesium Supplementation
- Art Therapy
- Name It
- Talk It Out
What did I miss? Leave me a comment and let me know your best remedy for anxiety during pregnancy. Thank you!