6 Pregnancy Fears Every Woman Has
When people think of pregnancy, the first thing that comes to mind is the joy of carrying and bringing a new baby into the world. But along with the ups of pregnancy, there are also many fears that expecting mothers face. Is my baby okay? Am I doing anything that could harm her? Will I ever lose all this weight? What if my partner suddenly finds me unattractive?
Any life changing event brings along a new set of experiences and worries. You’re not alone. Fear and anxiety are very common during pregnancy for both expecting mothers and fathers.
In this post, we will outline 6 common pregnancy fears and tell you what you can do to minimize your worries.
Fear: One early pregnancy fear most women have is that they will have a miscarriage. In fact, this is the reason for the “12-week” rule. Some expecting mothers choose not to announce their pregnancy until after week 12 when the chance of miscarriage drops. They fear that if they tell everyone they’re pregnant and they lose their baby, they will have to share the devastating news with the world, too. Whether or not you choose to announce your pregnancy early, you may still worry about the health of the baby you’ve spent weeks preparing for and nurturing in the womb.
Fix: It is true that about 50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to the March of Dimes. However, only about 15 to 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. Most miscarriages occur within the first few weeks of pregnancy when many women don’t even realize they’re pregnant. Between 6 to 8 weeks, your chances of having a miscarriage drop to 5%. Even if you do have a miscarriage, it’s very likely that future pregnancies will result in a healthy baby. Less than 3% of women have a second miscarriage.
Miscarriage is not 100% preventable, but there are some tips you can follow that could minimize your chances. This includes limiting caffeine intake (less than 200 milligrams), steering clear of alcohol and cigarettes and reducing stress.
Fear: After 9 months of carrying your baby in your womb, you’d feel devastated if he or she was born anything but 100% healthy. Every test and doctor’s visit brings you a bit of fear as you hope to be reassured that your baby is developing normally.
Fix: It’s completely normal to be worried about your baby. But here’s the reality: Only about 3% of babies are born with birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To minimize the chances of brain and spinal defects, be sure to take prenatal vitamins daily, especially folic acid.
A few other tips to minimize birth defects:
- Abstain from alcohol, cigarettes and illegal drugs
- Only use medication safe during pregnancy
- Stay away from toxic chemicals
- Maintain a healthy weight
If your family health history leaves your baby more susceptible to defects, talk to your doctor about specific actions you can take to lower the risk.
Fear: There are several reasons a woman may need a C-section including a large baby, medical conditions, failure for labor to progress and other health concerns. Some women find surgery scary. Other women feel that C-sections are “unnatural” and that the only proper way to give birth is vaginally. Unfortunately, a mother may worry that if she does have a C-section, she will feel guilty and as if she failed as a mother.
Fix: About 1 in 4 births are cesarean births. Although this statistic may scare you, think of it this way: If a C-section is necessary, you can be reassured that doctors successfully perform this surgery every day. During a C-section, the mother is usually awake and receives a numbing epidural, making the operation virtually painless. The procedure only takes around 45 minutes, with the baby being born within the first 10 to 15 minutes.
If you do need a C-section, let go of any guilt associated with having what some people call an “unnatural” birth. You still get to experience your baby being born and share the first moments with him or her. Remind yourself that this is what needed to be done in order to have a healthy, beautiful baby.
Fear: Your life is changing, it seems like a million things just got added to your to-do list and on top of that, you’re having a baby. All that added stress makes you wonder if your worrying is affecting your baby’s health.
Fix: It is true that stress can affect your body and the same is true during pregnancy. However, most studies show that small, everyday stresses do not impact the health of an unborn baby. It is normal to feel added pressure and worry — after all, you’re bringing a human being into this world. In fact, 52% of pregnant women report increased anxiety or depression, according to a poll by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. If your stress is caused by worrying about your baby’s health, consider purchasing a fetal doppler. After about 12 weeks, these pocked-sized devices will allow you to hear your baby’s heartbeat, assuring you that everything is okay.
If your stress grows into chronic stress or anxiety, you will want to take the situation more seriously. Some studies have linked long-term stress — like relationship troubles or a job loss — to preterm birth and childhood and adult obesity. But the last thing you should do is stress about stress. Instead, take action. Check out our guides on how to keep calm during pregnancy and 9 great ways to de-stress.
Fear: Some women worry that they’ll never be able to lose all the extra weight they gained throughout pregnancy.
Fix: We often see celebrities shed all the baby weight only weeks after labor — but that’s usually unrealistic. The first thing to realize is that it’s okay to take time to lose the weight. After labor, almost all of your attention will be spent on your baby and learning how to best take care of him or her. You will have even less time to worry about your weight, having the “perfect” body or what the world thinks of you. When you become a mother, you will notice your priorities changing.
To make losing weight easier, maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy. Research shows that most women don’t lose their pregnancy weight because they gain too much during pregnancy. Although cravings can be intense and more calories are needed when you’re expecting, pregnancy shouldn’t be an excuse to binge on unhealthy foods. Aim to eat a balanced diet and get some form of exercise and you’ll set yourself up for a successful after-baby weightless journey.
Unattractive to Partner
Fear: With the weight gain, swollen body parts and extra hair growth, you may feel less sexy than usual. When you don’t feel like yourself, you may begin worrying that your partner no longer finds you attractive.
Fix: It’s very likely that your partner still finds you beautiful, if not even more beautiful than before. While it’s true that he’s seeing a completely new side of you, he likely appreciates all the changes you’re enduring to bring your bundle of joy into the world.
Realize that your worry about being unattractive is probably more about what you think of yourself and not what your partner actually thinks. To prove this, communicate your worries to your partner. This may sound something like, “I’m feeling so unlike myself lately with all these pregnancy side effects. I’m worried that you won’t find me attractive anymore.” After you express how you feel, your partner will likely reassure you and give you the boost of confidence you need.
Now that you realize that your worry about being unattractive is in your own mind, try to reframe how you feel. Instead of viewing the changes as a negative thing, view it as a positive sign that your pregnancy is going well and be thankful that your body is allowing you to carry a beautiful baby. If you need an extra boost to make you feel sexy, consider shopping for some maternity clothing. There are many options that are both comfortable and stylish. If you wish, plan a date night with your partner so that you can get all dressed up and wear your new outfit. Need dates that are suitable for pregnancy? Here are 21 fun ideas.
What fears do you have during pregnancy? Do you have any tricks to minimize them? Share them in the comments below. If you have any pregnant friends or family members, be sure to share this article to help them, too!
P.S. We know that one of the biggest fears you have during pregnancy is whether or not your baby is okay. Our fetal dopplers are pocket-sized devices that allow you to hear your baby’s heartbeat, similar to an ultrasound. The simple reassurance of knowing your bundle of joy is healthy can lift a huge fear off of your shoulders.