Effective treatments are available for anxiety during pregnancy.
High levels of anxiety during pregnancy can affect not just the parent but the baby too. Anxiety is associated with preterm deliveries and low birth weight, and can affect the baby’s social-emotional development and the mother’s ability to bond with the infant, research suggests.
“We have a lot of data that say that women being depressed or anxious in pregnancy can have detrimental effects on themselves and on their future children,” Dr. Osborne says.
The good news is that treatments can help expectant mothers cope with their anxiety and feel better. This can include talk therapy with a mental health professional and medication.
If you are already on medication for anxiety or depression, don’t stop taking it without talking to your doctor, Dr. Osborne says. About 70% of those who have preexisting depression will have a relapse if they stop their medications during pregnancy, she adds. And changes in metabolism during pregnancy mean that you may need more rather than less medication.
“The risks of many medications are extremely minimal,” Dr. Osborne says. “I talk with my patients about the risk of taking the medication versus the risk of not treating your illness.”