I've been feeling strangely calm during this pregnancy, not too worried about things going wrong or having an awful labour. There are a few concerns at the back of my mind but mainly I've been pretty serene. This could be caused by the pregnancy hormones or the lack of PMT, who knows?
But many women can feel almost overwhelmed during pregnancy by a combination of unpleasant symptoms, money and relationship fears, job stress, dealing with small children, elderly parents, or a pre-existing mental or physical illness.
These can all be a trigger for anxiety. Unfortunately doctors and midwives often fail to identify women struggling with anxiety, despite the high risk during pregnancy. Studies show a quarter of pregnant women will experience significant anxiety, particularly those who have had complications in previous pregnancies, but only a small number are offered treatment.
Both drug and non-drug treatments are available, although no treatment was found to be risk-free in a recent review of the evidence. The long-term effects of exposure to either medications or severe maternal anxiety are as yet unknown, say the researchers.
It's quite common for women want to be as well-informed and prepared as possible, however sometimes the information we receive can trigger worries rather than alleviate concerns. Luckily there are some reliable and honest websites that can put our minds at rest. A few days ago I noticed something I hadn't expected, and within five minutes I discovered it was completely normal and healthy, thanks to www.mumsnet.com (highly recommended).
I'm definitely one of the women who likes to be well-informed. In fact, there's been a pile of childbirth books waiting patiently on the coffee table for some time. Perhaps there is an element of nerves after all! Fortunately one of the books contains a relaxation DVD. Sounds like a very good idea.