Pregnancy discomforts are common, but for some women, it may escalate further into anxiety and worry.\u00a0If your mental health is taking a toll and is impacting other aspects of your life, you may have antenatal anxiety\u2014a type of anxiety that occurs during pregnancy. Symptoms of Antenatal Anxiety Each person has a varied perception of the intensity of their symptoms. Some of the more prevalent symptoms, according to the PANDAS Foundation, include: \tConstant worrying \tProblem concentrating \tDifficult sitting still and\/or relaxing\u2014always on the move \tRacing thoughts \tIrritable or snappy behaviour \tFeeling that something bad will happen\u2014imagining 'worst case scenario' \tTense, stressed, 'on edge', unsettled \tPanicky \tRapid pulse tight chest, sweating, muscle tension \tNausea, loss of appetite As you watch your bump grow, it's common to worry about what could go wrong. How common? Well, here\u2019s a simplified version of the numbers: \tA 2013 cross-sectional survey of 175 antenatal mothers from Hospital Tuanku Bainun, Ipoh showed that those suffering from anxiety was at 9.1%. \tA 2021 cross-sectional study on 262 women who attended Maternal and Child Health clinics in Kuantan, Pahang showed that 22.5% of them had antenatal anxiety, and 79% experienced antenatal worry. \tA 2019 cross-sectional study of 526 women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) shows that 39.9% experienced anxiety symptoms. Unfortunately, many people with antenatal anxiety do not seek treatment. Instead, they assume it\u2019s just a normal part of pregnancy, while others consider it part of their personality. Or worse, the thought of meeting a counsellor to discuss antenatal anxiety may still seem like taboo to some. If you are experiencing antenatal anxiety, or know someone who is, we have five tips you can follow to elevate that helpless feeling. 5 Ways to Cope with Anxiety While Pregnant Share It With Someone You Trust If you\u2019re feeling very anxious during your pregnancy, it\u2019s important to tell someone. It can be your partner, a close friend, or a family member as they may be able to offer support. They are not required to give you the 'correct answers', but the act of verbalising helps to alleviate the confusion or fear you feel. Research done by Vago and Silbersweig in 2012 showed that talking about our feelings is a process of self-awareness, self-regulation and self-transcendence. Simply sharing your thoughts and feelings may be enough to keep the devils of anxiety from taking over your everyday life. If you do not have someone to talk to immediately, a helpful practice is to journal it down, until you can reach out to someone to talk to. Get Moving If you don't know already, we are here to tell you that exercise helps curb anxiety. A scientific study, published by Frontiers in Psychiatry in 2013 found that there is strong evidence that exercise and regular activity positively impacts the pathophysiological processes of anxiety. However, those who do not get regular exercise before pregnancy will find it difficult to start a cardio routine or follow dance moves in videos you find on YouTube or TikTok. If that is you, do not worry. Try activities that help your body release endorphins without working up a sweat, such as meditation, massage therapy and deep breathing exercises. Moving around safely and gently not only keeps your body healthy but also helps you release anxious thoughts and clear your mind. Just 5 to 10 minutes of deep abdominal breathing daily can help with anxiety. Deep breathing exercises provide more oxygen to your brain to stimulate your nervous system. Ask Your Doctor You might suspect that you have antenatal anxiety, but how do you know if you have to go to a doctor? Talk to your gynaecologist if you cannot shake your anxiety, like worrying that something may be wrong with your baby. However, it may have progressed if you start having panic attacks where you are crippled under overwhelming fear or constantly feeling restless, on the edge, and irritable. Stop and notice what your body is doing. Are your muscles tense? Are you gritting your teeth? Know that if these symptoms are not treated, they may worsen to the point that you cannot function like yourself anymore. Therefore, the sooner you get help, the better. Beyond referral to a therapist, there may be medications to take to ease severe symptoms. Never feel embarrassed about sharing your thoughts and feelings with your doctor, especially if they concern your health. Practice Mindfulness The key to mindfulness when pregnant is being in the moment, focusing on your breathing and being still. It is one of the most effective processes to manage anxiety. A May 2017 study published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth suggests that mindful meditation can help women manage the fears of childbirth, increase their ability to cope with labour pain, and reduce anxiety. However, if you are new to mindfulness, try this grounding technique via your five senses! All you have to do when you feel yourself spiralling into anxiety is to use your five senses to take in your surroundings. Name the things you see with your eyes, smell with your nose, hear with your ears, taste with your tongue and touch with your fingers. Verbalise it so the grounding is more effective. By doing this simple exercise, you are simply practising mindfulness by forcing yourself to be fully present and not let your mind wander into worry. Get Insured If you and your baby\u2019s health is one of the contributors to your anxiety, you\u2019re your peace of mind by getting insured. Having insurance also provides protection when anything untoward happens, especially when it comes to your health. That is not all! We also worry about financial burdens if an unexpected medical issue occurs. When you are insured, it is one less problem to worry about! Get Zurich ValueLife Junior Now that you are expecting, which insurance is best to aid your anxiety before the birth of your bundle of joy? Introducing Zurich ValueLife Junior\u2014a plan provided to your child as early as 13 gestational weeks with a combination of financial protection and investment of up to age 100. It also provides multiple optional riders for your child\u2019s protection needs along their life journey and high protection of up to 300% of the Basic Sum Assured against unfortunate events, and flexibility to select the coverage term from 20 years or up to age 70, 80 or 100. In simple terms, you have the option to protect your child until they are 100 years old! Here is what you need to know: \tZurich ValueLife Junior boosts the protection for you and your child with optional riders, including pregnancy complications. \tWith Zurich ValueLife Junior, you will enjoy a No-Lapse Benefit for the first five policy years to ensure continuous coverage. \tZurich ValueLife Junior provides continuous protection to the spouse with Spouse Care Privilege. \tZurich ValueLife Junior offers lump sum payment as Guaranteed Maturity Benefit, depending on the coverage term. This plan is designed for parents who want the assurance of giving their child the best possible start in life, with a protection and investment plan that caters for every stage of life. Small Steps to Freedom from Anxiety When you know you have the right protection for you and your baby, your anxiety is inevitably eased. When that happens, you can create a brighter future\u2014together! Visit www.zurich.com.my or contact Zurich Call Centre at 1-300-888-622 for more details. For more insightful stories and fun recipes, stay tuned to Motherhood Story!