Fear and worry are so common for both partners in pregnancy. Nearly every pregnant woman or her partner will worry about something pregnancy related at one point or another. My guess would be multiple worries, multiple times.
The biggest fear is that the pain will be so great that you’ll collapse and break into a thousand pieces. Some are frightened that they won’t be able to have natural childbirth, and if they succeed in natural childbirth, great; if they need an epidural or C-section, great. The skills taught by childbirth educators are invaluable, but don’t let natural-childbirth proponents take you on a guilt trip. In many cases, the pain isn’t nearly as bad as you might have feared (some compare it to really bad menstrual cramps), but relief is attainable if it gets intense. Anesthesia is available to help you cope and use it if required.
Losing My Lover
Many women fear that their husbands forever will see them as chubby, milk-stained moms, rather than exciting lovers. Some research among friends revealed that the problem typically isn’t with our mates’ minds but with our own.
You nevertheless may not be overcome with desire the minute your doctor gives you the six-week go-ahead to have sex . Don’t rush the recovery. The desire will come back eventually, within the first year, as will your old body. And try to remember that your husband probably desires you as much as ever.
It’ll Hurt the Baby
Many women worry that they’ll ‘hurt’ the baby by being active or having sex. The reality is comforting, however: It’s generally safe to do most of the activities you did before pregnancy, from tennis to cycling(just don’t water-ski or take up windsurfing in your fourth month, and you should put off risky sports like downhill skiing and horseback riding). You also can have sex right up to the due date as long as you aren’t experiencing any complications (no, it won’t trigger labor).
The risk of miscarriage decreases dramatically after the first trimester of pregnancy.
Having a C–Section
We’ve all heard the stories: 48 hours of labor, followed by a Cesarean section and a mother depressed because she didn’t have a “regular” birth. It doesn’t mean you flunked childbirth if you have to have a Cesarean section. It really is safer when something goes wrong — it saves a lot of babies when you need to get them out fast. To reduce the odds of having a C-section, stay at home during the early part of labor and let your water break on its own so you do not break the “infection barrier” for the baby.
Something Will Be Wrong With the Baby
Nature is on your side here: The vast majority of babies are healthy. In fact, only about three in 100 will be born with any sort of birth defect. And many of the babies who are born with problems can be helped with surgery, medical therapy or simple TLC.
Moreover, problems involving a baby’s anatomy or development are often identified early, so the longer your pregnancy stays trouble-free, the more confident you can feel. “If you’re nine months pregnant, you’re feeling your baby move every day, you’ve had your routine tests, and everything’s gone well during your checkups, there’s more than a 99 percent chance that your baby will be fine,” says Marjorie Greenfield, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology with the University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
One of the scariest things about pregnancy is the specter of losing control — that in the throes of labor and delivery you’ll scream, curse or barf all over the doctor. And you just might. When we are walking around normally and drop something on our foot or smash our finger, that’s the body’s response: If something is wrong, fix it. Our bodies will eventually give us some endorphins to deal with that, but no other hormones to deal with an injury. When a woman is in labor, her body provides endorphins and oxytocin. Oxytocin, a hormone produced in women’s bodies, aids in cervical dilation and reduces stress during labor.
This is a biggie.
My asthma demanded that I use inhalers during my pregnancies, which caused me needless worry; other women blithely smoke, drink or take cold medicine before they realize they’re pregnant, and then they panic. Remember that the most serious cause of birth defects is definitely not moms taking medicines, or smoking or drinking — the cause is unknown. Moms tend to worry too much. But, it is advisable to, discontinue any medication you can live without once you know you’re pregnant or once you begin trying. And, of course, don’t smoke or drink. Consult with your doctor about which medications you should and shouldn’t take while pregnant.
Being a Bad Mother
Here’s how I comforted myself when I was struck with this fear: I got out an old picture of myself at 11 months, beaming from within my dreary, toy-free playpen, where I’m pretty sure I was left for hours on end. Despite having had six kids in seven years, my mother somehow gave us a happy childhood and plenty of love. And in turn, my kids are happy and loving — despite my failings. Don’t think you have to be perfect, babies respond to day-in, day-out care and love.
Being 10 pounds overweight is not your destiny, as long as you take charge. A lot of women say it’s not their fault, that they can’t lose weight after pregnancy, but usually the problem is that they’re not making time for themselves. Take care of yourself, exercise and eat right. The weight will take care of itself. Staying in shape during pregnancy helps, too. A weight gain between 25 to 30 pounds is advisable for normal healthy woman, while an overweight woman should gain 15 to 20 pounds and an underweight woman should gain 30 to 35 pounds.
I Can’t Handle Another Baby
Many women pregnant with their second (or third or fourth) child spend sleepless nights fretting that they won’t have enough love and attention for everybody. This idea isn’t necessarily far-fetched. There’s a cliché that there will always be enough to go around, but that’s not true. There will be times when the needs of one child will come before the other or before the needs of your husband. On the other hand, love does not come in finite quantities, and you can give special love to many. It’s a balancing act that millions of women have managed, and you will, too.
Coping With Fears
Whatever your worries might be, it’s important to find ways to cope with them.
- Discuss your fears with your partner, a friend or a family member. Many women feel better after talking things out.
- Express your worries to your healthcare provider. His or her medical expertise and background can dispel many fears.
- Educate yourself. The more you know the less you fear. Head to the library or log onto the Internet to research your worries.
Occasionally, worrying can lead to obsession or depression. Educating yourselves is a really good way to help relieve some of your fears. Ask questions when you see the practitioner, and make it a point to write down the answers. Reading books is a really good way to educate yourselves, although not every book is as accurate as it should be, so ask for recommendations from educators, practitioners, etc.