Whether it’s your 1st pregnancy, the 2nd, or the 5th, you’re likely to have fears and anxieties. This is especially true during the first trimester when anything can happen and anxiety about miscarriage tends to escalate.
If a woman has previously lost a baby for whatever reason, the fears she will experience could double or triple in intensity. Considering that worries will not do any good for you and your baby, you should find ways to cope with pregnancy fears and anxieties.
Top 10 most common pregnancy fears
- Birth defects
- Premature Birth
- Risk of pregnancy complications
- Early labor
- Labor pains
- Labor-related concerns
- Too much stress
- Failure to reach the hospital on time
- Being a good mom
Such worries are real. Otherwise, pregnant women can just ignore or laugh them off. But because they have been known to happen, it is natural for an expectant mother to have such fears and anxieties.
However, if you are aware of the fact behind your concerns and learn how to deal with them, you won’t have to go through your pregnancy worrying all the time.
How to cope with pregnancy fears and anxieties
Know the facts behind the myths
You’ve heard of women losing their baby early on in their pregnancy, but the risk of miscarriage is actually lower than think. There are also certain factors that increase the risk of miscarriage, such as a woman’s age, but these do not apply to everyone. Because the reality is…
- Only 10-12% of women younger than 35 and pregnant could lose their baby
- Only 18% of 35- to 39-year-olds have a miscarriage
- The risk drops to less than 5% by 6 or 7 weeks or by the time a heartbeat is seen on an ultrasound.
- Sex, exercise, or heavy lifting does not cause miscarriage, according to studies.
Recent studies indicate, however, that drinking two or more cups of coffee may increase the risk of miscarriage because over-consumption can lead to certain infections.
Take better care of yourself
Although the cause of 70% of birth defects are unknown, the risk of it happening to you is minimal. In fact, 97 of every 100 babies born in the US are without birth defects.
But you can further eliminate the possibility by taking at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily and eating a healthy balanced diet. If you are overweight, lose weight. If you have high blood sugar levels, work to bring it down or to normal levels.
Avoid eating undercooked meat or fish that contain mercury. You should also avoid changing a cat’s litter box, as it has been considered a source of an infection that causes birth defects.
Keep your weight, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels healthy
Contrary to popular belief, babies born after 37 weeks are not pre-term but already considered full-term. Babies born between weeks 34 and 37 are not that vulnerable either.
The risk of premature birth is only real when there was already a previous case of premature delivery, when an expectant mother has certain cervical or uterine abnormalities or is pregnant with multiple babies.
If none of these situations apply to you then you don’t fall into the high-risk category.
Just make sure to maintain a healthy weight and to keep your blood sugar and blood pressure levels normal. A good prenatal care, complete with the necessary immunizations, will help prevent pre-term birth.
Stay on top of your doctor’s appointment
Are you worried about developing high blood pressure or gestational diabetes? You should know that only between 5 and 8% of pregnant women may develop such complications. It is also more common in expectant mothers under 18 and over 35.
Whether you are at high risk or not, seeing your doctor as soon as you find out that you’re pregnant will help catch the condition early on. Your doctor will then monitor you closely, and you can put your mind at ease.
Avoid drinking and smoking
If you’re worried about going into early labor, you should avoid smoking or drinking alcohol. Doing so will also help lower the risk of serious complications or developmental issues.
You should also take your prenatal folic acid supplement daily as this will help prevent certain genes from malfunctioning, resulting in early labor.
Understand your pain relief options
Going into labor hurts, and most women rate the pain at 7 or 8 out of 10. But it doesn’t have to be as painful what you fear, what with options to help reduce the pain.
There are approved pain medications that you can use, or you can take the natural way of dealing with pain with the help of a doula or birthing coach. It would also help if you know early on what causes labor pain, reducing your anxiety in the process.
Have a Plan B
It is possible that you may need a C-section when giving birth, but this is rarely an emergency. A third of babies born by C-section are actually planned in advance, not the last-minute kind.
But in the event that you do need it, make it your plan B. As long as you’re giving birth in a hospital, switching from a natural birth to C-section will not be a problem.
If there is one area in your pregnancy that you should be concerned about is whether or not you can be a good mom. Doing so is not all that bad since it shows that you really, deeply care about taking care of your child and extending your love to a new person that will arrive in your life.
But you should know that a human’s ability to bond is endless, and any woman is capable of being a good mom.
Being anxious is normal, especially for a pregnant mother. But you shouldn’t let fears and worries paralyze you and keep you from enjoying your pregnancy. You deserve to enjoy the journey.