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How to Curb Third Trimester Anxiety

Photo by: iStock

If you’re feeling anxious in the final weeks of your pregnancy, know you aren’t alone. After all, a mother’s prerogative is to worry about her child’s wellbeing.

“There are so many things we can be worried about as our pregnancies wind down and baby’s birthday is soon here,” says Deena Blumenfeld, a prenatal yoga instructor, doula and childbirth educator. “Many concerns are valid and have real world implications and solutions, while some of them are based in fear and a lack of knowledge.”

If you find yourself overwhelmed with anxiety, first take a deep breath and then heed the advie below from our experts.

Take a Comprehensive Childbirth Class
A lot of third trimester pregnancy worries stem from the unknown. As such, the better acquainted you are with the process of childbirth and parenting, the more comfortable and at ease you’ll feel as you approach your due date.

“Nothing compares to being one-on-one with a certified childbirth educator of whom you can ask questions directly,” says Blumenfeld. “You’ll also learn the normal, physiologic process of birth and how your partner can best support you through this process. Being well prepared takes the fear out of birth.”

Blumenfeld says that a prenatal yoga class is beneficial as well.

“Prenatal yoga not only offers you all of the goodies of a regular yoga class, but also a community of pregnant women with whom you can connect,” she explains. “Being connected with other mothers helps you to lessen the feeling of isolation and stress. You’ll also now have a community of friends for baby play dates down the road.”

Give Yourself Time and Space
You know how nerves and stress build up right before you take a big trip somewhere? It feels like you have a million things left to check off on your to-do list, but the time crunch makes getting it all done seem impossible.

You may experience the same feeling as you approach your due date, but you can combat that in several ways. First, spread out all those “before baby comes” tasks throughout the pregnancy, and don’t save them for the final weeks or days before your due date.

“Build time and space towards the end of pregnancy,” urges Dr. Bobbi Wegner, a clinical psychologist at Boston Behavioral Medicine who primarily works with pregnant and new moms on anxiety. “Oftentimes, mothers try to squeeze it all in before the baby arrives and then go into delivery tired, rundown, and overwhelmed. Think of delivery as a big performance that you need to rest for. Eat healthfully, sleep, and take time for yourself.”

Second, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Blumenfeld says that “often women feel like they can’t, or shouldn’t, ask” for things they need, even at a time like late pregnancy. Your friends, family and partner are there to help, though, and the same is true of medical staff. You’ll be surprised at how often you get the assistance you ask for.

Talk it Out with Your Partner
Have you ever bottled something up for a long time, only to feel immediately better once you let it all out? The same feeling of relief can occur when you discuss your worries and fears with your partner. Remember, your partner is likely just as nervous as you are, even if those nerves are being shown differently.

“Good communication with our partners means that we are on a solid path to parenthood together,” says Blumenfeld. “When the two of you communicate effectively, anxiety is alleviated and you both feel better about how things are going.”

Wegner suggests setting aside one or two nights a week throughout your pregnancy that are intended for couples bonding. She notes that it’s easy for your connection to feel like it’s weakening during your pregnancy since so much is going on, so carving out that time and making connection a priority will help immensely.

Practice Mindfulness and Stress Management
If you find yourself in a fit of anxiety, take a moment to stop and calm yourself down. “Reducing anxiety is all about finding reliable techniques to calm the nervous system,” says Keya Williams, a yoga lifestyle consultant who teaches moms how to use yoga as a wellness tool. She has two simple “mom approved” anxiety calming strategies:

Uneven breath: Inhale through your nose to a slow count of four, then exhale through your mouth to a slow count of six and repeat five to 10 times. “This works because it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the opposite of the ‘fight or flight’ response, helping us feel more calm and relaxed,” says Williams.

Fold forward: Sit on the floor with your legs angled outward in front of you. Lean forward to grab the outer edges of your feet. Relax, hold for five deep breaths, then release. “Folding forward helps us to fully empty the lungs as we breathe out, thus emphasizing the exhale’s calming effect on the body,” explains Williams.

As a final word, remember that babies have been born for centuries. Trust the process, trust your partner, trust yourself, and trust your caregivers.

Wendy Rose Gould is a writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. She covers women’s lifestyle topics for numerous digital publications, including InStyle, xoVain, Refinery29, Revelist, PopSugar and ModCloth. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram or at

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