Pregnancy can be both joyous and scary. The good thing is that you are not alone in your secret pregnancy fears.
According to a survey of 130 pregnant Asian mums conducted by theAsianparent.com, the top 4 secret pregnancy fears amongst mums in Singapore and Malaysia were:
1) My baby will have some type of a birth defect – 48%
“My biggest fear was that my baby would have a birth defect. I read this article on the Daily Mail about a baby who was born with no brain and for the rest of my pregnancy I was like ‘I’m definitely going to have a baby like that.”
2) Miscarriage – 13%
“I was worried that I would miscarry or have a stillbirth. The worry would keep me up late at night because at the end of the day, there was nothing I could do past eating healthy and resting to keep my baby safe.”
3) Labour and delivery will be painful – 11%
“In my first pregnancy, I was extremely scared that I would not be able to tolerate labour pains. I am generally scared of needles and I had heard that labour felt like your bones are being crushed.”
4) My baby will get tangled in the cord – 10.4%
“I am 18-weeks pregnant and my biggest worry is the umbilical cord getting wrapped around the baby. And I worry it will happen with each of my tosses and turns as I sleep.”
Other secret fears of Asian pregnant women included
1) Going into preterm labour
“My first baby was a preemie at 7 months and with my second pregnancy, I was so afraid I was going to have a premature baby again. Thankfully I delivered a healthy baby boy at almost 39 weeks.”
2) I won’t lose weight after the baby is born
“I put on 20-kg during my pregnancy and I was so scared that I would never ever be able to lose the weight. I put on 7 kg in the first trimester itself!”
3) My husband will be unfaithful while I am pregnant
I am 8-months pregnant and for the last 3 months, I am just not in the mood for sex. My body has also changed and I have lots of ugly red stretch marks around my belly. Honestly, I would not blame my husband if he cheated on me, because it seems I can’t have sex for another 3-4 months, but I would be emotionally destroyed if he did. I am petrified that he will have an affair.”
4) I won’t be a good mum
“I think it is challenging to raise children in today’s world. I am sure I will do an okay job – but I am not certain I will be a good mum.”
5) I will eat something that will harm my baby
“I was worried I’d inadvertently eat something that would harm the baby, especially in the first trimester. I remember this one occasion that I had accidentally eaten a bowl of my favourite dessert Tiramisu without realizing it had alcohol, raw eggs and mascarpone cheese. Upon realising, I spent all morning forcing myself to throw up and the rest of the day I was overcome with such immense grief and felt like a complete failure of a mum”
6) I won’t be able to handle the new responsibilities
“I am a career woman with a team of 54 employees reporting to me. I work long hours and so does my spouse. Our parents don’t live near us and I fear that when the baby arrives I won’t be able to juggle both work and family life.”
7) I will die in childbirth
“My best friend’s mother died when she was in labour. I constantly worry that it might happen to me too.”
8) My water will break in public
“I was petrified to go anywhere for fear my water would break outside and how could I explain the wet seat or my wet pants? And would I be able to run fast enough out of wherever I was before anyone noticed?”
It’s perfectly normal to worry during pregnancy whether you are a first-time mum or the mum of many kids. However, medical experts agree that worrying unnecessarily about pregnancy can cause more harm than good. In order to bring you some great information on the topic of worries and pregnancy — including how to manage pregnancy-related worries — we spoke to Dr Wendy Teo, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist for Mount Elizabeth Hospital Novena.
Worrying can affect mum-to-be and her unborn baby
Dr Teo explains that constant worrying and stress during pregnancy may have a negative impact on a mum’s health.
Such mums may face an increased risk of pre- and post-natal depression, or even hypertension and diabetes later in pregnancy. What’s more, high-stress levels can lead to lowered immunity levels in the mum, leading to the risk of her falling sick more often.
It’s not just the pregnant mum who can be affected by high stress and anxiety levels. Dr Teo says her baby may also feel their impact in the following ways:
- Since stress hormones constrict blood vessels, the baby may experience reduced blood and oxygen flow.
- Just as highly stressed adults are prone to infections, babies who are accustomed to the high-stress environment in the womb could have lowered immunity as well and therefore have a higher risk of infections.
- Foetuses of highly stressed mothers have been associated with an increased risk of chronic lung disease, developmental delays, learning problems and even infant death.
- They are also more prone to chronic illnesses like hypertension and diabetes in the future.
- Some studies even show that the temperament of a baby may be affected by the stress levels of the mother.
What you should do to stop worrying during pregnancy
It is easier said than done to stop pregnancy worrying. So here are some great tips from Dr Teo that can help you manage your fears:
- Find out the source of your worries.
- Talk about it. Share your worries and problems with your spouse, friends, and/or colleagues.
- Attend or read up about antenatal classes if the fear of the unknown ahead is getting into you. Being knowledgeable about what to expect in labour or breastfeeding will make you more confident and less worried about what is to come.
- Talk to your doctor! Find out if you are suffering from pre-natal blues or depression.
- Make time for rest, especially so in Singapore where city life is often filled with activities every minute.
- Pamper yourself – spa, massage, shop and doing something you love. Keep laughing and keep your spirits high. Laughter is the best medicine.
Tip: Try using this massage oil which can double as aromatherapy! It’s 100% natural and comes with lavender to help you relax and de-stress from the troubles of pregnancy.
- Eat well and keep well-hydrated. It is important to ensure a sufficient intake of omega acids (found in fatty fish like salmon and cod) as insufficiency has been associated with depression.
- Exercise in levels appropriate to the stage of your pregnancy will increase the number of pheromones in the body for that “feel good” effect.
Mums-to-be, be rest assured that despite all your pregnancy worries, you will most likely give birth to a healthy, adorable baby. And when you see his little face for the first time, all your worries will melt away!
Tell us what your fears and worries are when pregnant. Share with us in this poll.