When pregnancy becomes a part of our own personal reality, it brings along with it a tremendous amount of fears. There are so many unknown factors involved, both internally as well as externally. Besides worrying about the physical changes, the unavoidable pain, and possible complications, we worry about the location, the people who will help us, the people who want to be present, and everyone else who is there to witness our day to day struggles before the big day. Plus we can fear how our lives will change once the baby is born.
It can be a very overwhelming and stressful time for a mother-to-be especially when she is supposed to be gentle with her body and as stress-free as possible. One of the hardest parts of the whole thing is the fact that no matter how many books we read, questions we ask, OBGYN or midwife appointments we have, we really have no idea how our bodies will perform during the process. Until we’ve pushed our way through to the other side and our babies are healthy and safe in our arms, we don't know. It can get a little easier for the second and third babies if we are brave enough to try again.
So here are 16 common pregnancy fears!
16 Having Doctors, Nurses, And The Whole Town See Every Part Of Our Lady Bits
Now this one is important, so please take notes. Once you find yourself pregnant, your body is no longer yours. I repeat – your body is not yours.
It will start gradually with some non-invasive tests, and tummy and breast inspections. It will start with appointments once a month for the first 28 weeks while your prenatal care providers slowly ease you into everything, gaining your trust and making you feel more comfortable. Then it will increase to once every two weeks. And then once a week. This is when things start to get more intense.
And then if you go over your due date, there is a bouquet of lovely things your care provider can do to you and your lady parts to try to naturally induce labor.
And then comes the main event. The one in which you swing your legs as wide as they go while thrusting your parts into the face of whatever lucky sucker is going to reach inside you as you try to force a watermelon out of your body. I think I’m really selling it here!
Do you wait until you’re almost ready to pop and get a Brazilian in order to look less messy down there? Is that something that you worry about? By that time in your pregnancy, most of the fears of being seen in that vulnerable position is trumped by the need to get that baby out.
15 Packing On Way Too Much
Every woman worries about this. We have these juxtaposed feelings about the thrill (and excuse) to eat for two but then the fear of trying to work all that weight off once the baby has arrived. Let’s face it, we put our bodies through so much with pregnancy, the weight gain is the most obvious and can be quite emotionally traumatic.
The old-fashioned idea of eating whatever you want has pretty much fallen to the wayside. It is no longer recommended that we actually ‘eat for two’ but instead only add a proportional amount of calories to our normal, healthy diet. Although the suggested amount of weight gain during pregnancy is based on your weight before you are pregnant, it seems to be safe to say that approximately 25 to 40 lbs would be reasonable and acceptable.
Excessive weight gain during pregnancy could result in gestational diabetes, or a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy, or even just a larger baby.
And although that doesn’t sound like the worse to have a big baby, it could cause complications in delivery and put both the baby and mother at risk.
So, in other words, splurge a little, because darn it, you deserve it. Besides, how often in our lives are we celebrated for getting round?
14 Water Breaking In Public Or At Work
For anyone who has already had a baby...you understand what it feels like to be a living, ticking, time bomb. The last week before your due date, and any days you go over – you literally walk around with your knees as close together as possible, just in case. We assume as mothers-to-be that we can have control over our own bodies – not to mention the little ones about to exit our bodies.
When it’s your first, you may not quite understand how uncomfortable you are going to feel that last week of your pregnancy. Whether you decide to work to the very end or start your leave a little early for a little pre-baby relaxation; everywhere you go at that point is a possible location for your water to break. And until you are there, you definitely won’t understand the fear of giving birth next to the Xerox machine in the office, or in the food court of your local mall. It’s a real fear every time you visit any ladies room, every time you sneeze and every time you experience a kick from within that knocks the breath out of you.
Could you imagine gushing all over the carpet as your water breaks in the middle of an office meeting or perhaps requiring an isle 6 clean up in your local grocery store as children slide across the floor? Oh, the fear is real.
13 Passing Gas Uncontrollably
Us women do not ‘toot’ do we? Seriously?
Oh, when you are pregnant you definitely toot. At first, it’s embarrassing. You do everything you can to keep it in, to avoid letting it out when anyone else is around. To squeeze those cheeks together as hard as you can, perhaps hoping that you can be the one pregnant woman on the planet who still smells good and looks calm and under control. But I promise you that by month eight, if not sooner, you will be letting it out any chance that you can get. By that point, keeping anything confined within your body seems ludicrous.
Everything that needs to come out comes out – whether you would like it to or not – and it's more than likely that you will be relieved every single time.
But to know that that is where you will end up being – now that is scary. That would be enough to deter some of the more faint of heart women from giving birth at all. So, I will ease your fears by telling you that it will not last forever.
You will eventually pass gas every time that you cough or sneeze or breathe, but by that point in your pregnancy – you won’t care. You will have other fish to fry, and this one will just become an inconvenience and nothing more.
12 Tearing During Labor
First-time moms have a 95% chance of having a spontaneous tear to their perineum during delivery. Let’s face it, we are attempting to push a cantaloupe out of that area of our bodies. Tearing can occur due to a quick labor, a large baby, the position of the baby, an assisted labor, or an especially long one.
There are many ways to attempt to avoid tearing including pre-preparation; healthy diets, hydration, exercise and vitamins, pelvic floor exercises, water births, birthing position, perineal massage, and warm compresses. You can try them all, but that does not guarantee that it will not happen to you. 95% is a pretty high number. Embrace it. Because more than likely – it will happen to you.
11 Epidural Needle
An epidural, the most popular method of pain relief during delivery, is a local anesthetic that decreases sensation in the lower half of the body. A needle is injected into the space around the spinal cord and then, a catheter is threaded through the needle and left there in place for medication to be administered.
I’ve heard that it has been a lifesaver during a painful, overextended labor.
We all need help sometimes, don’t we?
I just wonder if there is any other way other than to make you sit up and completely still while a child is banging at the inner walls of your uterus and stab a big old needle into your spine. Yes, I would say that that definitely sounds terrifying.
As terrifying as it sounds, sometimes it’s the only way for the mom-to-be to get through labor. We all have our limitations and there’s nothing wrong with that.
10 Baby’s Head Or Shoulders Getting Stuck
Okay, so this one is a bit personal. My first child came pretty quickly. She was and is small and fairly easy going. But my second child...My labor was fast. I remember pacing as both my husband and midwife waited for the pushing to begin. (Once your body decides to push there is no going back) And then it began. It was overwhelming and painful. Many times I thought the child was out but over and over again she was getting stuck.
My second baby got stuck too. It was the same midwife I had for my first baby. She is a woman of no-nonsense, but still sweet and understanding. It was important to me, that when the moment arose, she would be the kind of lady who would give me specific directions to follow, and so that is why she was my ideal choice for both pregnancies. But getting back to the fear... it happens. Believe me, it happens. I was lucky and was able to just persist through and get her out naturally. I was lucky.
9 Miscarriage / Stillbirth
This is one of those unspoken fears. It’s why most of us are afraid to announce our pregnancies until we’ve safely made it past the three month mark. Most miscarriages tend to happen in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy due to chromosomal abnormalities, thyroid disorders, diabetes, physical complications, and blood clotting disorders.
Imagine making it through your pregnancy, nesting, preparing, and then on the big day receiving the worst possible news an expecting couple could ever possibly receive. Where do you go from there?
There is a reason why pregnant women rejoice in the movement and literal kicking of the little one growing inside their bellies.
On a day to day basis, it is the only real proof that you have to know that your baby is okay, unless you have your own fetal Doppler at home.
The hope is that if moms-to-be listen to their prenatal care provider and live a healthy lifestyle, they can avoid this fear altogether.
8 Knowing The Wrong Gender Until Birth
I personally think that there are three types of parents. There is the parent who wants to know the gender of their unborn child to prepare for its arrival. They don’t want to purchase only unisex outfits and colours for their little one, and they want to wrap their minds and hearts around what is coming their way. Then, there is the parent who refuses to find out the sex of their child before birth because “a healthy baby is all that matters”. And then, there is the parent who pretends to be one of the the two but is really the other. “Oh no, I don’t need to know the gender” but inside they are all like, “Oh god, please let me have a girl... but I guess a boy would be fine too... but please let it be a girl.”
We thought our first one was a girl but because we had our ultrasound at exactly eighteen weeks we were told that it just might be too early – that what they found may possibly be wrong. We were warned and so we prepared for either sex, just in case. But had we jumped in head first to the idea of having a girl and then had a boy – well, that may create some disappointment. No one wants to experience disappointment on the day they have their baby born.
7 Not Getting To The Hospital In Time
We’ve all heard the horror stories of babies being born on the side of the highway, in a taxi cab, or on the toilet. I think the worse story I ever heard was a baby being delivered in an outhouse while the mother-to-be was camping with her family. Not ideal or sanitary.
Once again, it comes down to the birthing plan we create and how our bodies and babies have other ideas in mind.
We can’t predict what will happen, but to not get to our projected destination before the baby decides to make an appearance is terrifying. What do we do? How do we do it? And who will help us?
My first child came at home even though I had planned a hospital birth. I was just waiting as long as I possibly could until heading to that building where I would be waddling, with liquids dripping from my nethers, while strangers looked on. I was afraid of the unknown within the hospital so much more than having a child at home. So I guess it all worked out for the best. But for those moms who are determined to be within the safety of the hospital for their delivery, and dilate too quickly...that is scary.
6 Never Being Back To Normal Down There?
I didn’t consider this complication before I entered labor. I had no idea that my privates would suddenly become so foreign to me. But believe me, they do!
The first thing that I noticed was that my ‘landscape’ changed down there. It’s an odd sensation to not recognize such a personal part of your body, but there were hills and valleys where neither of them had been before. Not to worry, almost always, things tend to shrink back down to their original size in time. But in the meantime, prepare to wear pads in your panties to avoid peeing yourself just a little every time you sneeze or cough.
Due to depleted levels of estrogen from both giving birth as well as breastfeeding, your periods may be out of whack for a while, and you could also experience a certain amount of dryness that may even cause you a little bit of pain. Of course, that’s not the end of the pain in that area though. There could be pain from tearing and scar tissue.
This combination of issues is sure to cause some fears!
5 Needing An Emergency C Section
It’s funny. We as women, tend to create a birthing plan in order to try to get in control of what is going to happen to us. We plan out the where, the who, the what and the how but the thing is – our bodies have other plans. For most of us, the ideal situation would be to have the baby in a peaceful, lovely private room or at home, with our dearest loved ones, our spouses; experiencing a quick, natural birth that ends with a completely healthy and perfect little babe.
The thing is, it doesn’t always work out as we had planned. And that’s okay because in the end all we can really hope for is a healthy baby; everything else doesn’t matter. But it’s disappointing. It can even be heartbreaking to feel that your body isn't functioning as you think it should.
So, as you prepare for the big day, and even when the day arrives, if something happens that changes the direction of your birthing plan towards an emergency C Section – know that you will be okay. You will get over the disappointment as soon as you hold that baby.
It’s a relevant fear, but not one you should spend too much energy on.
4 Going To The Washroom While Giving Birth
It happens. There’s not much you can do about it, and in the moment while you are pushing, you’re not going to really care. At that point, you will only care about getting that humungous child out of your body as quickly as possible.
Besides, those who assist us with our births are professionals.
I saw my midwife during both of my deliveries wipe things away that we never had to speak about afterwards. She’s been there, done that and doesn’t need to acknowledge it in any way, because she knows that it’s just how our body works. I am extremely thankful for my fantastic midwife, and if you’ve chosen your care providers well, you will feel the same way.
Don’t let this fear add any extra weight to your pregnant shoulders. You’ve got much bigger fish to fry!
3 The Recovery Process
I’m not going to lie; this will suck. If you have your baby naturally, with the assistance of a midwife, she won’t leave you until you urinate; and if you can’t you will be gifted with a catheter. I remember standing in the shower trying to pee through the pain just so that I could have a bit of space and relaxation.
Day two, as I was trying to nurse my newborn baby, I discovered an actual hole in my stomach. Having given birth naturally, at home, medication free – I discovered that after my baby was born, there was a hole within me where she once lived. In some poetic way in the back of my mind, it was quite lovely, but it also made me want to throw up. The more you nurse your baby right after birth, the quicker your uterus shrinks. And so I fed as much as I possibly could...trying to fill that hole.
You also have bleeding, pain, and a lot of crying (by the baby, and at times also possibly you) for those first days of recovery. Your body feels foreign and holding the baby feels foreign and dealing with the crying and diapers feels... foreign.
But you will get through it.
2 How Will Life Change?
In every way. Let me just say that again. In. Every. Way.
Everything changes. Your sleep routines, eating routines, your social life, your work, your relationship, add ‘plus one baby’ to all of those things and they have all changed.
But – and there is definitely hope in that ‘but’ – they add so much more than you can ever imagine.
You suddenly have a reason to be better and work better and clean better. You have a new reason to be the best person, to have the best relationship, the best home, the best food you can ever have. And it doesn’t stop after your baby is no longer a newborn. It doesn’t stop after your baby becomes a toddler or starts school. You’ve got someone to be accountable to for the rest of your life.
So yeah, life changes. And it improves more than you can ever imagine.
1 Will Your Partner See You Differently?
So, in most cases, we enter into this state of ‘growing a baby’ with a partner. It’s all so mushy, and loving and gorgeous to begin with but, as us moms grow in size, and experience the side effects of pregnancy; our partners may not quite find us as attractive as we hoped. And if they still enjoy our bloated, gassy, appearance at eight months, when they have actually experienced the pushing of a melon through that part of our bodies – they may not quite look at us the same way again.
I remember speaking to my sister-in-law years before I was actually married. She was determined to never let her husband to ever be present at the lower half of her body during delivery. I hadn’t ever considered that to be a worry before then. And for me, it was only a fleeting thought. Believe me, when you are in the moment and a whole bunch of other, not as familiar faces, are down in the area of your body, your loving partner’s face will more than likely be welcomed.
But your spouse will most definitely see you differently. Your spouse will never forget the strength, endurance, and courage you demonstrated on the day you brought yours and their most precious blessing into this world.