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Anxiety can plague women during, after pregnancy

Main Line Health Newtown Square September 23, 2014 General Wellness

When you’re preparing for baby, some worrying is expected. Will my baby be healthy? Will I have the nursery ready on time? How will I balance my time fairly? But when casual worrying becomes constant and the fun of preparing for a new arrival becomes overwhelming, it can be time to seek support.

“There are a number of different reasons for women to experience anxiety during or after pregnancy. It’s not just new moms who are experiencing these feelings, either,” says Liz Bland, LCSW, Program Manager for the Women’s Emotional Wellness Center (WEWC) at Main Line Health Newtown Square. “Whether you’re expecting your first child or your fourth, welcoming a new baby is an adjustment.”

Anxiety during pregnancy

There are a number of reasons to be anxious during pregnancy, a time when some women may not know what to expect when their newborn arrives. Physical and hormonal changes, changes in dietary needs, and feelings of stress about labor and delivery are some of the most common reasons for women to experience anxiety.

For some women experiencing fertility issues, anxiety and other feelings surrounding difficulty getting pregnant and the potential for a miscarriage can also be distracting.

Anxiety after birth

Unfortunately, women’s anxiety and worries don’t cease after delivery. During the postpartum period, women can experience feelings of anxiety about issues such as lack of sleep, difficulty breastfeeding, a changing sleep schedule, demands from other children or partners, and figuring out ways to soothe or bond with baby.

Fortunately, anxieties like these can be addressed through support and therapy programs like those available at the WEWC.

“Women need to know that emotional difficulties, such as anxiety, during pregnancy and in the postpartum period are generally temporary and respond well to professional assistance. We don’t want women to suffer in silence,” says Bland.

Support at Main Line Health

Main Line Health offers a variety of support services to women and their families struggling with anxiety during and after pregnancy. Childbirth education classes—offered at all four Main Line Health hospitals—include Happiest Baby, Breastfeeding Mothers Group, Labor and Delivery Class, and Sibling Preparation Class for future big brothers and sisters.

In addition, each hospital offers inpatient hospital social workers that are available to provide emotional support and resources to mothers after their delivery. The WEWC provides a place for women to receive ongoing emotional support.

“At the WEWC, women are able to speak one-on-one with a therapist, address specific areas of motherhood or daily life that contribute to anxiety, and learn coping skills to decrease anxiety,” says WEWC's psychotherapist Deena Newman, PsyD.

“The treatment team at the WEWC is highly skilled in working with mothers experiencing anxiety before, during, and after pregnancy. We understand the stressors moms are and under during this period, and we can work with them to develop effective coping tools,” says Bland.