Pregnancy can be a pretty overwhelming time as a mom to be, particularly when you are expecting your first child and therefore every trimester is a step into the unknown. Just when you think you get a hold of your symptoms, your pregnancy changes and develops, bringing with it new challenges, new emotions and new hurdles to overcome. It’s fair to say that pregnancy can certainly keep you on your toes (even if you can no longer see them beyond your ever growing bump) and therefore some anxiety or concerns during pregnancy are completely understandable. Here are some of the most common pregnancy fears. How many can you relate to?
Going through labor – this one goes without saying. Gone are the days of worrying about getting a baby to grow in your body in the first place, now your concerns shift to how the hell you’re going to get this baby out. You’ve become quite comfortable with your bump now, and suddenly, the prospect of pushing something the size of a watermelon out of the eye of a needle doesn’t sound particularly appealing. What if I can’t do it? When will it happen? What happens if I go overdue? Being nervous about labor is totally understandable, but remember, your body will know what to do, even if you don’t think that it does! We were made to procreate, and the human body is amazing. No one said it was going to be pleasant, but trust me, once you have your baby in your arms – the labor is quickly forgotten (until someone asks you on day 2 if you plan to have another). Talk through with your partner the kind of labor you are hoping for, as well as your thoughts and preferences when it comes to pain relief. Ensure you are on the same page, so that your partner can support you through every stage of your babies arrival when the day comes!
Morning sickness / pregnancy diet – During the early stages of pregnancy and morning sickness, it is common to wonder “Is my baby getting enough nutrients?”, “Am I eating enough?”, or “Am I eating the right things?” There are some foods which should be avoided during pregnancy, and clearly smoking and drinking should be restricted; however, your baby grows from your stored supplies, so a few weeks where you can’t keep much down or can only stomach salted crisps is not going to do you (or your baby) too much harm in the short term. When you can, eat little and often, as this can help keep the sickness feelings at bay.
Health of your baby – During those early weeks of pregnancy, a fear of miscarriage or concern that baby is growing OK are very common. We all know the first 12 weeks of pregnancy are crucial and therefore it can understandably be an anxious time waiting for your first scan or confirmation of your baby’s heartbeat. Try and stay calm if you can (easier said than done). Get lots of rest, and be kind to yourself. The first trimester can be both physically and mentally exhausting. If you find yourself getting particularly anxious, you may want to consider an early scan.
Fear of sexual activity during pregnancy – Many women (and men for that matter) feel nervous about having sex during pregnancy, both in the first and third trimesters. I personally didn’t have sex at all during the first trimester with my second child, despite there being no physical reason why we shouldn’t. My partner on the other hand was more nervous in the later stages of my pregnancy, worried that he may hurt or disturb the baby. The reality is normal sexual activity can continue during pregnancy, but do whatever makes you and your partner feel comfortable. It’s your body!
Will I be a good mom? Am I ready? – This is an obvious one, and normally this fear rears its ugly head in a moment of sudden realization late at night when you should be sleeping. The reality that a tiny little person is going to be totally dependent on you can be more than a little overwhelming, but like with most things in life, there is no right time to have a baby. I’m not convinced anyone is ever entirely ready, but the very fact that you are worrying about being a good mom means that you most likely will be.
How will I cope with the sleep deprivation? – I’m not going to lie here, sleep deprivation can be pretty brutal. There may be occasions where you tell the postman you love them, put the milk in the oven rather than the fridge, or find yourself rocking even when you’re not holding your baby, but believe it or not your body does adapt. There are lots of things you can do to help you cope with less than the 8 hours a night you’re used to, and trust me if you haven’t reached the third trimester yet, your body has magical ways of preparing you in advance, with those wake up toilet visits becoming all too common.
Will I be able to breastfeed? – Breastfeeding was something I really wanted to do and as a result I got myself a little nervous about whether or not I’d be able to do it. I went to courses, I Googled, and I quizzed my mom friends. However, the reality is, while you can read up on all the breastfeeding tips, techniques and feeding positions, breastfeeding is a new experience for both you and your baby. Establishing a good feeding technique can take time, and there may be some hurdles along the way. Try and stay calm, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
From experience, the best thing to remember is that in pregnancy and motherhood, EVERYTHING is a phase. While some pregnancy fears are normal, if you find yourself feeling particularly anxious or concerned, do talk it through at your prenatal appointments, as during pregnancy it is just as important to look after YOU as it is your baby.