Try these six simple steps to resolving your pregnancy worries and love your next nine months
You don’t want to spend this special time worrying so, if you’re fretting about everything from the birth to whether your man still finds you attractive, remember you can enjoy life with a bump.
Pregnancy is one of the happiest and most exciting times of your life, but that doesn’t mean the highs won’t be punctuated by the odd lows.
‘Changes and new experiences can bring up anxiety, particularly if this is your first baby,’ says midwife Sue MacDonald. ‘After all, it’s hard to know what’s normal.’
1. Wise up on health
You may be noticing changes in your body that are perfectly normal but, because you haven’t been through them before, you don’t know that. It’s also easy for worries to escalate. ‘Some women are prone to anxiety, and will be hyper-vigilant about every change,’ says psychologist Gladeana McMahon.
What to do: Getting informed is the best way to address health anxieties, but be wary of trawling the internet. ‘There are a lot of websites with information that’s either only relevant to specific situations or just wrong,’ says Sue. ‘Instead, discuss concerns with your midwife or at antenatal classes.’
You may be noticing changes that are perfectly normal but, because you haven’t been through them before, you don’t know that
2. Be affectionate
Worried your partnership will suffer now you’re pregnant? ‘Many women fret that their man won’t find their new body attractive, plus feeling insecure or tired may mean you’re not in the mood for sex,’ says relationship therapist Susan Quilliam. ‘You may also be concerned that having a child on the way might somehow interfere with the dynamic of your relationship.’
What to do: The key is acknowledging the changes and navigating them together. ‘You may feel unattractive, but it’s highly unlikely your partner sees you that way, so talk things through,’ says Susan. Chances are he’ll reassure you but, if he’s having his own wobbles, it will help to air them.
3. Indulge yourself
You’ve been looking forward to it for months but, now your maternity leave’s here, you’re thinking about what’ll happen while you’re away from the office. It can be a big change to suddenly find yourself at home all day and, particularly in the current climate, you may even find yourself worrying about your job security.
What to do: ‘Try not to feed your anxiety by checking in with colleagues constantly – you’ll get to hear anything that’s really important, so assume no news is good news,’ says Gladeana. ‘Make a plan for each day and try to stick to it – it’s fine if that’s sometimes just to rest.’
4. Beat your birth fears
Women can often hear unpleasant stories about labour from friends and family and end up fearing it. And night-time worries can be an issue, too. ‘You may well find you have more vivid dreams during your pregnancy,’ says Sue.
What to do: Seek out positive stories to balance the picture. ‘Everyone has a different experience and you’re less likely to hear about uneventful births, so ask around,’ says Sue.
5. Boost your new-mum confidence
It can be daunting to think you’ll soon have a little person depending on you. ‘It’s no wonder you feel anxious if you’ve never done this before,’ says Sue.
What to do: ‘Antenatal classes address a lot of concerns about what will happen after the birth, so go to these and talk to other mums-to-be.’ You can work on being a great mum now by learning to accept imperfection.
‘Understand that you’re not going to do everything perfectly – you won’t, for example, be able to stay on top of the housework for the first few months,’ says Sue. ‘But, in your baby’s eyes, you’ll be perfect, even if his nappy keeps falling off. You and your baby will learn together.’
6. Pep-up your personality
One common concern among mums-to-be revolves around thinking you’ll lose part of your personality when you become a parent. Will you still have things in common with your friends, or will you just be thinking and talking babies?
What to do: ‘You will be caught up with your baby when he’s born, but you can still continue seeing a mix of people,’ says Sue. ‘Make plans now to invite non-mum friends over to meet your baby when he arrives.’