Today's post is very personal and a bit different but it's something that i'd like to document and I thought I might be able to help someone in a similar situation so today's post is about Anxiety, specifically my anxiety during pregnancy.

I was diagnosed with Anxiety last year, I was having problems with my blood pressure and they thought it may have been down to my contraceptive pill, I was taking Microgynon which I had been taking for many years I was put onto a mini pill called Cerazette and I really didn't get on with it. I found it made me feel abit down and sad so I stopped taking it. Around this time I was having my blood pressure checked and then I started to get other symptoms like my chest would really hurt and I was getting pain in my neck and shoulders. After a few weeks I went to the walk in and was diagnosed with Anxiety, they now think that my blood pressure was also a symptom of my anxiety. I didn't realise that Anxiety caused physical symptoms. The doctor prescribed me a beta-blocker which is a tablet to reduce your heartrate which didn't do anything so I just put up with these physical symptoms for a few weeks/months. This was a very stupid thing to do because all that happened was it all got worse. I would get myself into such a state leaving the house for work that I would feel sick and panic. I actually started having panic attacks then I knew I needed to do something, I got signed off work for a few weeks and just stayed in bed, I stopped seeing friends and wasn't myself at all.

I went to my doctors and I asked for help, I was recommended CBT which is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I really didn't want to go onto medication, I don't have any problems with medication but I wanted to try talking to someone or a type of therapy before just going onto pills. Healthy Minds is a service within Birmingham and they provide a CBT course, this does mean that you have to sit in a room with other people but the wait for one on one sessions is so long on the NHS and I don't have the money to go private. I felt the course was brilliant, it was a 6 week course and each session was 2 hours. You didn't have to talk if you didn't want to, you could just listen but my group was really easy to talk to. I learnt ways to deal with my anxiety and why I was feeling like this and that it's normal to have some anxiety. If you are struggling with anxiety i'd say have a look into CBT and see if there's a similar course in your area, or even if you can afford to wait for the NHS or go private check out CBT before taking medication.

I felt alot better once i'd completed the course,  I felt like I had more control over the way I felt and I stopped having the physical symptoms. I honestly felt that because I could look at it logically and I knew that what I was thinking was probably never going to happen or my chest was hurting because I was getting myself worked up and I wasn't going to have a heart attack.

I found out I was pregnant a few months ago and i've noticed my Anxiety creeping back into my life, I had a meeting with a mental health midwife pretty early on and she was happy that the way I was feeling was completely normal and the level of anxiety I was showing was normal for any first time mummy-to-be. As the weeks have gone on i've found myself getting worse and again I didn't want to talk to anyone about it, I thought if I ignore it then it will just go away but it hasn't.

I find myself worrying about every little thing which I know is normal to an extent, i've never been pregnant before this is all new and different. A few examples include, the night before the scan I was tossing and turning, unable to sleep because I was that scared that they was going to tell me that there was something wrong with the baby or even that I wasn't actually pregnant. I've pretty much got myself worked up before every scan. I'm scared that something will be wrong but that hasn't been the case, shes been fine, wriggling and perfect in every way.

I finally told the Midwife a few weeks ago, I think it was at my 24 week appointment that I was struggling, that I was worrying about things being wrong with the baby. I think it's gotten worse since i've started feeling movements. My placenta is anterior which means I can have reduced movements, this has worried me a lot and i've gotten into quite a state on a few occasions because she hasn't moved for a while. We've had a few trips to the labour ward to get her checked over and each time she's been fine ( if you are pregnant and you are having reduced movements, even if you have an anterior placenta or not you should phone your labor ward/ midwife as soon as you start to worry and they will get you checked over, its better to be safe than sorry and they will check you, don't feel like you are being a nuisance or putting someone out the way. You will feel 100% better once you've heard that little heartbeat and they tell you that everything is ok)  If something is wrong this way they can monitor you and make sure you get any help you need.

After talking to my midwife we agreed that I would see her at 26 weeks instead of waiting till the usual 28 weeks, I knew that hearing the baby again in a few weeks instead of 4 weeks would make me feel a lot better and then if I had any questions etc I could ask her. At our 26 week appointment she measured my bump which they usually do between 26-28 weeks and bump measured small so she sent me straight for a growth scan which showed that she is measuring a little small. Since then we've had an appointment with a consultant who talked us through the scan and explained that we will have a few more scans and they would be keeping an eye on baby and myself. Today we had another scan so they could check the fluid around baby and the blood in the umbilical cord which is all looking good, they are going to keep an eye on this and we have another growth scan next week which will tell us if baby is growing ok, it's nerve-wracking but i'm glad they are keeping a close eye on us.

I am now seeing my midwife every week up until the birth or until I need to help with my anxiety and so she knows whats going on. She's really easy to talk to and i'm really lucky as I am very comfortable with her. I would say if you are struggling to talk to your midwife then do something about it because you need to be able to ask questions. You can phone your community midwife office and they will give you the details for a different midwife, it's very easy to sort out, (i've actually had to help my sister change midwifes and it's all sorted now and she is getting much better care.)

I am still struggling with anxiety and I know that talking to my midwife about my worries is helping, I am having another appointment with the mental health midwife and hopefully she will help abit, but the main thing I would say is have a good relationship with your midwife, talk to her about how your feeling because just having those extra appointments has helped me because I know I don't have a long wait until I next hear babys heartbeat or I can just ask the midwife next week if I have a quick question. I have also reduced my hours at work to 3 days a week which is such a big help and I've talked to my manager and she now knows how i'm feeling and I've been texting her about my extra hospital appointments etc so she knows exactly whats going on.

I hope that once baby arrives that my anxiety calms down again, I've looked back through my anxiety CBT course papers and i'm trying to look at everything logically and not jump to the worst possible conclusion and it's hard but i'm trying. Just talk to people and make sure that your doctor and midwife knows how your feeling, don't keep it all bottled inside because anxiety is hard and it's not nice but talking helps.

I really hope this post has helped or allowed you to understand more about anxiety throughout pregnancy, everyone is different and anxiety can be different to everyone. If you have any questions or need someone to talk to, i'm happy to help just send me an email or leave a comment. I'm not a doctor and i'm no where near qualified as we are all different. I just wanted to document my battle with anxiety throughout my pregnancy and hopefully this will help someone who is struggling to come to terms with their anxiety and they might seek the help they need.

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