While pregnancy is a joyous and wonderful time, it can also be a time filled with fear and anxiety for many women. The “what-ifs” come out of the woodwork and soon-to-be moms become frantic for reassurance.
One way moms are coping is by venting their pregnancy fears on numerous threads over at our site Community. I have read through hundreds and hundreds of comments and compiled a list of the most mentioned worries.
Every mom will surely sympathize with these top 12 pregnancy fears.
1. That you will have a miscarriage or a stillborn. And what could be worse than finding out the baby you were so excited about is no longer a reality? Maybe having to tell everyone over and over again about it?
2. That there will be something “wrong” with your baby. Many parents fear that their child will be born with a physical deformity or birth defect.
3. That you will go into preterm labor. One mom stated, “I've had my previous 3 kids preterm. Even though I know how it feels, I am scared that I will deliver my baby at work or something and I won't be able to save him.”
4. That you will eat or drink something that will harm your baby. With Listeria and other food-borne pathogens floating around, some moms are afraid to eat anything during pregnancy.
5. That you will never be able to lose the baby weight. Most moms feared being pregnant and giving birth would permanently damage their body and self image.
6. Getting stretch marks. One first-time mom commented, “I fear that my newly formed stretch marks won't go away or will get worse.”
7. That you will have to get an episiotomy. Yikes! Enough said.
8. That you will have an emergency c-section. This is something even repeat c-section mommies, like myself, are afraid of.
9. That you will poop during delivery. This one was one of the most common fears among moms closer to delivery.
10. That labor pain will be more than you can handle. This was more commonly mentioned by first-time moms.
11. That you won’t make it to the hospital. Many soon-to-be moms worried they would give birth at home or in the car.
12. And the last – but not least – is the fear that after all the joy of your child making his or her way into the world, you will be left with postpartum depression.
For me, my biggest fears during pregnancy were that I would have a miscarriage or stillbirth. When I was about 7, my mom lost a baby when she was about 8 months pregnant. The way I remember it and the way she recalls the experience breaks my heart.
The funny thing about this list is – I never even thought about having a baby that would be genetically or physically different until after it happened. And after having a child with Down syndrome, I am surprised by how many people are afraid of having a child with special needs.
And much like my own experience with things that made the list, most people who have experienced any of these, aside from the worst case scenario regarding the loss of a child, will tell you their experiences really weren’t that bad. For example, I saw a lot of comments saying that pooping on the delivery table and getting an episiotomy aren’t a big deal when you are in the middle of delivering a child.
I will leave you with a question: Why do we pregnant women worry ourselves sick over things we mostly cannot control?
Photo credit: Tatiana Vdb/Flickr, Daniel Lobo/Flickr.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.