Anxiety During Pregnancy


  • Overwork, Yin-deficient constitution
  • Emotional problems, irregular diet

If a woman overworks during pregnancy, this will aggravate a pre-existing condition of Yin deficiency because Blood, Essence and Yin are already taxed during pregnancy to nourish the fetus. Yin deficiency leads to Empty-Heat which harasses the Heart and Mind.

Emotional problems such as worry, anger, resentment and frustration often lead to stagnation of Qi: stagnant Qi, after some time, may turn into Fire which harasses the Mind. Fire may also derive from a dietary irregularity, especially the excessive consumption of hot, pungent foods. Excessive consumption of greasy and dairy foods leads to the formation of Phlegm which may combine with Fire to both harass and cloud the Mind.


The pathology of anxiety in pregnancy essentially is related only to Heat in three variations: Full-Heat, Empty-Heat and Phlegm-Heat. However, apart from the above pathogenic factors, there may be another element: Qi rebelling in the Penetrating Vessel.

Pregnancy leads to a disharmony of the Penetrating Vessel very easily and many minor symptoms of pregnancy can be so explained. Because in pregnancy some Blood and Essence in the mother’s Penetrating Vessel are diverted to nourishing the fetus, there is a deficiency below in the Penetrating Vessel and a stagnation above with Qi rebelling upwards.

One of the main symptoms of Qi rebelling upwards in the Penetrating Vessel is what is called li ji which may be explained in different ways. One of its meanings is a feeling of anxiety, which, on a physical level, is experienced especially in the chest and throat.

Prognosis and prevention

Pregnancy can be a time of anxiety for many women. Chinese herbs can be effective in managing anxiety during pregnancy. The pattern from Phlegm-Fire may be more difficult to treat than the pattern from Empty-Heat, as Phlegm is hard to resolve and can also obstruct the mind.