How Much Anxiety is Too Much?
Ask yourself the following questions to help gauge whether your anxiety is reasonable or too much:
- How long have I been experiencing this high level of anxiety?
- How much is it upsetting to me or causing me distress?
- Is it starting to interfere with my daily life?
- Do others in my life think I am too anxious?
- Is my anxiety negatively affecting my relationships?
- Is my anxiety negatively affecting my enjoyment of this pregnancy?
Remember that some anxiety is normal and to be expected
It is also normal for anxiety levels to wax and wane over your life. This is true during pregnancy as well. Some days or even weeks you may feel more anxious than others. Then something shifts and you feel better again. For example, you may feel more anxious waiting for test results for a week, or during the days leading up to your first ultrasound.
For some, normal levels of anxiety can escalate and turn into an anxiety disorder
An anxiety disorder is when the anxiety is severe enough to interfere with your daily life at home and/or at work over a longer period of time. It feels like incapacitating fear.
For example, some women (like Susan) begin to feel terrified of even leaving the house. They may begin to experience frequent panic attacks and avoid certain places. Others may spend hours obsessively washing or checking things, or feel completely exhausted by constant worries (like Anjali).
An untreated anxiety disorder can often put a person at increased risk for future problems with anxiety and depression. If you think your anxiety is significantly interfering with your life, discuss it with your maternity care provider or family doctor.