Pregnancy Related Anxiety – Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

Apr 19, 2022 | Anxiety Stress and Panic Attacks | 0 comments

Pregnancy related anxiety - hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket


Pregnancy Related Anxiety – Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

Life can be funny when you’re a parent. One minute they are on the way, and then they arrive and the life is full of ups and downs, and laughter and telling offs and getting stuff done (and then even more needing to get things done!). In no time at all, old photos are popping up on social media memories and you realise how much has gone on and is still to happen in their lives (and your own too).

Recently my youngest had her birthday and, amongst all the fun, we talked about some of early memories of her. There where the moments when we first met her at the hospital, when her sister excitedly saw her for the first time, the laughs, the chats and the other little quirks that we love so much and that happened along the way. A friend brought her little baby around to our house and you suddenly remember there was actually a time before they could even answer you back!

And pregnancy and babies seems to have been very much the theme at home recently, with my wife currently training to be a doula (which I think she’ll be fab at) so that she can provide guidance and support to new mum’s, especially during those early days when everything goes haywire and the level of demands and challenges massively magnify.

I often work with women during pregnancy where they may be struggling with anxiety and a sense of overwhelm. There may be anxiety about health, about being in hospital and coping with the birthing process, and about how well they think they will cope with having the responsibility of a new born to look after. There is no doubt that there are a lot of demands, challenges and things to learn through pregnancy and into parenthood (as well as a lot of love, happiness and joy, of course!!).


Anxiety and Pregnancy

Anxiety appears to be a relatively common issue during pregnancy, with research suggesting that perinatal anxiety is highly prevalent  (Dennis, Falah-Hassani and Shiri, 2017 found that 15.2% of pregnant women are diagnosable with an anxiety disorder).

And pregnancy related anxiety can lead to fear, worry and dread about any and all of the specific issues, demands, challenges, events and changes that surround each stage of pregnancy and child-birth. There can be issues around health (your own and the baby’s), hospital visits and the process of childbirth. There may also be social, relationship or  financial issues, concerns about fulfilling the role of parent and about your physical appearance and the impact upon your body and the physical changes from pregnancy (Hadfield et al, 2022).

On a broader level, there can be more social or generalised anxiety that is linked to pregnancy and birth. There can be health anxiety issues, excessive worry and overthinking about daily issues or how world events may impact upon the future. There can be social anxiety about going to appointments, meeting other pregnant women/parents and the pressure to be a good parent.

Not only do you want to feel calm and positive during pregnancy and during the early years for your own sake but there is some evidence that elevated anxiety, depression and stress during pregnancy can have an impact upon baby’s early cognitive development (Wu et al, 2022).

I can well remember when my wife was pregnant with our eldest, the pregnancy related anxiety and worry about all being well with the baby when we went for scans, the increased level of stress during the birth and the sense of overwhelm and uncertainty when we brought her home for the first time, as well as the sense of responsibility driving for the first time with a baby in the back (I mean, what are you supposed to do when the baby arrives home? I think we ended up taking her around the house and giving her a tour and showing her each room!!). All of those changes were even before having to learn and adjust to a new routine, trying to get some sleep, making sure the bottles were sterilised, trying to get better at changing nappies and learning the joy of ear plugs when she was screaming in my ear!

With all the changes, demands, challenges and responsibilities that come with pregnancy and parenthood, it’s no wonder that anxiety can be so prevalent.


Help For Pregnancy Related Anxiety

Over the years I’ve helped many pregnant women with anxiety about pregnancy, child birth and adjusting to being a parent. It is certainly possible to calm that anxiety and stress to a level where you feel able to handle, deal and cope with whatever challenges come your way (and where you can enjoy the journey of parenthood!).

Research has looked at the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy for perinatal maternal depression, anxiety and stress (Li et al, 2022). This systematic review drew upon the results of nearly eighty randomised controlled trials that assessed the efficacy of CBT during pregnancy and during the first year after birth. Overall, cognitive behavioural therapy was effective for perinatal maternal depression and anxiety in the short and long term.

Whilst not part of this research, we already know that adding hypnosis to cognitive behavioural therapy increases it’s effectiveness and increases the likelihood of achieving positive outcomes. And, of course, there is strong, positive evidence for the effectiveness of hypnosis in the treatment of anxiety (which I’ve written about before).

A further study has also suggested that mind-body interventions like hypnotherapy may be effective for reducing anxiety during pregnancy. Hypnotherapy can help with learning mental relaxation and in altering negative thinking related to anxiety to change the perception of a stressful event and leading to better adapted behaviour and coping skills (Marc et al, 2011).

And so, despite all of the many physical, social, financial and emotional changes that take place during pregnancy and beyond, it remains possible to learn how to manage your thoughts, feelings and behaviours in ways that are beneficial and positive for your mental health and happiness.

Becoming pregnant and giving birth to your little one can be a truly exciting and magical time. By combating the unwanted thoughts and feelings of anxiety, you can feel calmer, more in control, and more able to cope with, and adapt to, the many things that go with having a new member of the household. So whether it’s in the form of cognitive behavioural therapy or hypnotherapy, or you seek the support and help of a doula, do be certain to look after yourself and baby and enjoy this exciting chapter of your life.

To your happiness,

Dan Regan

Anxiety Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket


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Dennis, C.L., Falah-Hassani, K. and Shiri, R., 2017. Prevalence of antenatal and postnatal anxiety: systematic review and meta-analysis. The British Journal of Psychiatry210(5), pp.315-323.

Hadfield, K., Akyirem, S., Sartori, L., Abdul-Latif, A.M., Akaateba, D., Bayrampour, H., Daly, A., Hadfield, K. and Abiiro, G.A., 2022. Measurement of pregnancy-related anxiety worldwide: a systematic review. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth22(1), pp.1-10.

Li, X., Laplante, D.P., Paquin, V., Lafortune, S., Elgbeili, G. and King, S., 2022. Effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy for perinatal maternal depression, anxiety and stress: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Psychology Review92, p.102129.

Marc, I., Toureche, N., Ernst, E., Hodnett, E.D., Blanchet, C., Dodin, S. and Njoya, M.M., 2011. Mind‐body interventions during pregnancy for preventing or treating women’s anxiety. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (7).

Wu, Y., Espinosa, K.M., Barnett, S.D., Kapse, A., Quistorff, J.L., Lopez, C., Andescavage, N., Pradhan, S., Lu, Y.C., Kapse, K. and Henderson, D., 2022. Association of elevated maternal psychological distress, altered fetal brain, and offspring cognitive and social-emotional outcomes at 18 months. JAMA network open5(4), pp.e229244-e229244.



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