Most new parents go through a roller coaster of emotions after finding out that they’re pregnant. Joy, excitement, and happiness are usually the first emotions to hit. But then reality sets in. Anxiety and fear of the unknown start to creep in. Will my baby be healthy? How painful will labor be? Will I be a good parent?
Rest assured you’re not the only one grappling with new-parent fears. All of these questions are valid. Although you probably won’t know the answer to many of them until the time comes, here are some tips to help you get through some of the most common fears.
1- Will my baby be healthy?
This is probably the biggest anxiety most new parents have. Above anything else, having a healthy baby that’s delivered safely is paramount to everything else. Although it’s impossible to predict exactly what will happen, there are some steps you can take to give you and your baby the best chance of having a safe and successful pregnancy:
- Once you find out that you’re pregnant, arrange a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible. This is important for a number of reasons. Your doctor will be able to take a medical history from you and determine if you’re a high-risk pregnancy or not. They’ll also be able to get basic blood tests done, measure your blood pressure, and possibly stop any current medications that you might be taking.
- If you’ve just found out that you are pregnant, start your pregnancy supplements (with folic acid) right away. The best time to take folic acid is a few weeks before you become pregnant but the second best time is immediately after finding out that you’re pregnant.
- Consider attending prenatal classes. These are excellent sources of information. You’ll be able to ask the experts all your burning questions about pregnancy and find out useful tips and information. It’s also a great way to help get your partner involved.
2- How painful will labor be?
This is probably the most frequently asked question that most first-time mothers have. Modern medicine has come a long way in terms of pain relief options during pregnancy. Depending on your own personal circumstances and preferences, you’ll be given pain relief options. Everything from an epidural to laughing gas (nitrous oxide).
Prenatal classes like those mentioned above are also a great source of information on how to deal with pain during pregnancy. They educate new moms on breathing techniques, pain management, and natural births.
As a last resort, if you still have concerns about pain relief during pregnancy, speak to your doctor, midwife, or visit the hospital you plan to have your delivery and talk to a member of the labor staff. They should be able to talk you through any issues and set out a birthing plan that includes a personal pain management plan.
3- Will I be able to lose my pregnancy weight gain?
Yes. That’s the short answer. It probably won’t be easy but it’s a goal that is very achievable. Keep the following ideas in mind when trying to lose pregnancy weight
- Do not rush into it. The first 2-3 months following labor will see your body go through a large number of changes. Rushing into exercise prematurely may do you more harm than good. Remember, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
- Set reasonable expectations. It may seem like Hollywood moms and celebrities shed all their pregnancy weight in just a few weeks. But that’s not a reasonable expectation. Most women take anywhere from 6 – 9 months to lose their pregnancy weight so don’t get disheartened if you haven’t got back to your pre-pregnancy weight as quickly as you would like. Be patient with yourself.
4- Will I be able to breastfeed?
The choice of whether to breastfeed or not is a personal one that all women make for themselves. However, most doctors strongly recommend that women breastfeed whenever possible because breast milk is by far the best nutrition for your baby. With that said, it’s pretty rare for a woman to be physically unable to breastfeed. But getting it right can be a little tricky. Consider using a lactation consultant after delivery to help you and baby learn, and to head off any problems—the earlier, the better.
Unfortunately, babies don’t come with instruction manuals so there’s a steep learning curve that comes with being a new parent. But don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. Your parents, friends, and family are usually going to be the best sources of support during the first few months of being a new parent.