There is, perhaps, no greater feeling than knowing you are responsible for bringing another human being into the world. Feeling your little one kick and move around inside your womb is pure bliss. You and your partner made this little person out of love.
But with this joy also comes worry. Whether you’re a first-time mom or if you’ve had multiple children, the fears can be the same. Will you be able to handle the responsibility of parenthood? Will your baby be healthy, and if not, can you cope with the challenges that may bring?
A million things may be swirling in your head, and it’s all perfectly natural. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common pregnancy worries. You’ll soon see you’re not alone in your fears, which can do a lot by way of comfort. Ironically, anxiety about parenting is a quality of a good parent – just don’t let it consume you! You can’t be that good parent if you’re too worried about every action to take and decision to make. So, let’s work through some of these.
7 Whoops….I Had a Drink
It’s not uncommon for women to find out they are pregnant two or three months into their pregnancy journey. During this time, you may have had a few (or more than a few) alcoholic drinks at a social gathering. The potential impact of small amounts of alcohol consumption on a growing fetus is not well known. Because of this, medical professionals advise steering clear of all alcoholic beverages.
Heavy drinking (having 5 or more drinks on at least one occasion) on the contrary, can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Excessive alcohol consumption can cause a child to have physical and mental disabilities, including birth defects, growth problems, feeding issues, and learning and behaviour problems.
If you had a few light drinks at that Christmas social, don’t panic. Stop any further alcohol consumption and do inform your doctor right away. The earlier you tell your doctor, the better the chances are for your unborn child. It’s important not to beat yourself up over something that has already passed. This will only cause unnecessary stress.
6 Will My Constant Nausea Hurt My Baby?
Are you throwing up more food than you’re keeping in? Nausea and vomiting are very common in the first trimester. In fact, 9 to 10 women experience some sort of nausea at some point in their pregnancies. That’s how “normal” it is. Be patient, as it’s a temporary condition. As long as you can keep some food and fluids down, your baby’s health will not be affected. Your baby will get the nutrients needed from your body’s reserves.
- Get plenty of fresh air to help with the nausea
- Drink lots of fluids in between meals
- Eat several small meals a day, instead of three big meals
- Sit up 30 minutes after eating
If you are experiencing extreme vomiting, however, see your healthcare provider right away. Some women have hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). This is a severe form of vomiting that, if left untreated, can lead to dehydration and major weight loss. It is defined as experiencing three or more episodes of vomiting per day, plus a weight loss of 5%. It can start between four and seven weeks of pregnancy, easing off in roughly the 15th week.
Any negative effects on the fetus are due to electrolyte imbalances caused by the HG mother. As mentioned earlier, the quicker you see your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of HG, the better. He/she will make sure you are properly hydrated and address your nutritional needs.
5 Will My Stress Hurt My Baby?
Let’s face it -- stress isn’t fun for anyone, let alone a pregnant woman. But will a little worry and stress directly impact your baby’s health? Regular stress, such as looming deadlines or a long commute to work, will have little impact on your life and the life of your baby in the long run. Life’s responsibilities do not stop just because you’re pregnant. I’m sure you’ve realized that by now.
Long-term and extreme stress, however, has been linked to a higher risk of having a premature baby. High levels of serious, continual stress may contribute to conditions like high blood pressure, lowered immunity, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and heart disease. Like we said, this is to the extreme, though. Most of us fall into the “regular stress” category.
Why Does This Happen?
When your body is stressed, it can impact your ability to sleep properly. It can impact your mood, making it difficult to deal with normal pregnancy woes, such as backache and nausea. Chronic stress can lower your immunity, making your more prone to infection.
If you are feeling extra stressed during your pregnancy, turn to your loved ones for help. This is the time to ask your partner to step it up and take on some extra duties around the house so you can relax a bit more. A backrub and a nap can work wonders for a tired body. Don’t fall into the trap of stressing over the fact that your stress will hurt the baby. The chances are good that a little bit of stress won’t do a thing.
4 Will I Have a Miscarriage?
Studies show that approximately 1 in 4 women will experience the tragic pain of a miscarriage at some point during their childbearing years. Most of these losses occur in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, which is why women tend to wait until after this “safe” mark to announce their good news to family and friends.
Why Does This Happen?
During the first trimester, the most common cause of pregnancy loss is due to problems with the baby’s chromosomes at the time of conception. The younger you are when you conceive, your chances for miscarriage are less. Women less than 35 years of age have a 15% chance of miscarriage, while women older than 45 have a 50% chance of pregnancy loss.
There is always a chance of miscarriage when a woman gets pregnant, but it doesn’t mean YOU will be one of the women who experience this type of loss. Focus on the positive and unless your body gives you physical signs that something is wrong, assume you are in the clear.
3 Is My Baby Getting Enough to Eat?
When you can’t see what’s happening inside your body, it’s hard to trust that everything will be okay. After all, how do you really know? You have to go on pure instinct that your placenta will nourish your baby the way it’s supposed to. Wondering whether my baby was getting the nourishment he needed was a particular worry for me all throughout my pregnancy, because of complications back in the day with my own birth.
A few pointers from my family doctor helped calm my nerves:
- Eat a balanced diet, chock full of whole grains and fruits and vegetables. Your growing baby will benefit from the all the goodness you’re making an effort to indulge in.
- Take a prenatal multi-vitamin all throughout your pregnancy.
- If your hemoglobin has been low since pregnancy, make sure you are taking iron supplements.
- Your medical professional will feel your abdomen at each check-up to ensure the baby is gaining weight. If your baby is not growing as it should, ultrasounds will be ordered and it will be addressed.
2 Will I Be Able to Take the Pain of Childbirth?
Some mothers make it their goal to have a completely natural childbirth. That means no epidural and no pain relievers other than natural methods. This is fine in theory, but sometimes unexpected things happen during your labour and you have to change your birth plan. You may have complications during labour that require you to throw all ideas out the window and go with the flow.
Your concerns do not make you less of a mom. If you are worried about how you will handle the pain of childbirth, talk to your doctor. You may need to ask for an epidural earlier on in the pregnancy, and this is okay. After all, it’s not called labour for nothing. It’s hard work pushing a child into the world.
Tips for Pain Management
- Change positions often during labour
- Ask your partner for a relaxing massage
- Establish a focal point during contractions
- If you’re able to, walk around
- Take a bath or shower, as the heat will help with the pain
- Try yoga in the early stages of labour to ease the pain
- Use breathing techniques taught in prenatal classes to help work through the pain of contractions
1 Do I Have What It Takes to Be a Mom?
This is a very natural fear. Do you have what it takes to bring another human being into the world? Can you properly care for it? You may already have one child. Can you love a second the same way you loved your first? The answer to all of these questions is yes.
If they haven’t already, your maternal instincts will kick in once you see your little one for the first time. Things will be new for you, true, but it will come. Think of mothers in the wild. They seem to know exactly what to do when their babies are born. It’s not because someone hauled Mother Fox into the forest classroom and gave her lessons on how to help her baby survive in the feral world. It’s simply Mother Nature taking over and guiding you in the right direction.
Having worries about how your pregnancy will go and what kind of mother you’ll be are perfectly natural. For some of you, this is your first time experiencing pregnancy and labour. It’s completely unchartered territory.
Remember to bring any fears you have to your doctor’s attention. He/she will help you decide if your fears are warranted. Until then, try to sit back and enjoy this wonderful time in your life. It is a journey like no other and you don’t want to let worrying cause you to miss the ride.