A: It’s perfectly normal to be worried, anxious or even “scared” about pregnancy, especially if it’s your first one! Remember, most of the time, pregnancy goes smoothly, without a hitch. Think about the things you are most worried about and then tackle each one to get answers.
The very best thing you can do is be informed. So let’s talk about some issues making you “scared.” First may be concern for miscarriage. While about 20-25% of recognized pregnancies (meaning after positive pregnancy test) end in miscarriage, after seeing a heart beat that risk goes down to about 2%.
Another common concern is, “Is my baby all right?” Many women worry that their baby may have a serious birth defect. Remember most women have a routine ultrasound to check all the fetal anatomy at about 20 weeks of pregnancy (halfway through). While ultrasound cannot pick up all defects, it can frequently detect many serious abnormalities.
Other concerns often surround the actual labor process – how painful is labor really? Well, pain is different for each woman, but remember that there are many ways to help deal with pain, from breathing techniques to intravenous medications to epidural anesthesia, which offers great relief from child birth.
Finally, some women are scared that they will not “love” or “bond” with their baby. Rest assured, most of the time as soon as the baby is born, and overwhelming sense of love and protectiveness emerges. Even if it doesn’t happen right away, it usually will fairly quickly. Don’t forget that your health care providers are there for you – not only to make sure to get you through pregnancy as safely as possible, but also to alleviate any of your fears when they can.
- Drs. Keith A. Eddleman and Joanne Stone
Drs. Keith A. Eddleman and Joanne Stone are Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, New York. Keith Eddleman, MD, is Director of Obstetrics and Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences and Joanne Stone, MD, is Director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and of Perinatal Ultrasound. They are the co-authors of the book My Pregnancy and Baby, as well as The Pregnancy Bible and the forthcoming Your Second Pregnancy.