Common fears of Estonia's expectant mothers: Am I ready? Can I manage? Will I be a good mom?

21. May 2015

According to Silja Staalfeldt-Rahumägi, head of the maternity counselling centre at the East Tallinn Central Hospital, pregnant women coming to appointments have all kinds of fears and we try to help every one of them. At the same time there are things that they fail to notice or that they wrongly disregard.

Fears of expectant mothers are never trivial

According to Silja Staalfeldt-Rahumägi, early in the pregnancy women’s first concern is the fear of a miscarriage. They are worried about whether their pregnancy is progressing normally and whether the foetus is doing fine. In the early stages of pregnancy a woman can be easily influenced by her nearest and dearest. She is beset with doubts and hesitations, which are quite normal irrespective of whether getting pregnant was planned or not. Am I ready? Can I manage? Will I be a good mom? These are just some questions that women ask themselves.

Naturally, a large majority of women await childbirth with awe and some apprehension. Often various fears may arise when having a baby has been on the agenda for quite a while and a lot of effort has been put in on that front. Midwifes of the maternity counselling centre try their best to allay fears and address concerns on the spot and as quickly as possible. Nevertheless, almost 5% of women have to be referred to a pregnancy crisis specialist or a psychologist. Frequently, the fear is caused by a previous negative experience, trauma or phobia contracted from others.

Unfounded and legitimate fears

The head of the maternity counselling centre believes that fears can be overcome by discussing problems and becoming more informed. Sometimes this may help prevent the development of fears that should not be bothering women in the first place. For instance, women are afraid to lift up their arms because that may be bad for the foetus. In fact, no link has been found between raising arms and the twisting of the umbilical cord around the neck. Also, there is no need to avoid sex unless the doctor has instructed otherwise. The woman should definitely assume comfortable positions during intercourse, but normally sex does not harm the foetus in any way. Likewise, expectant mothers should not be afraid to engage in usual everyday activities.

On the other hand, there are things that women erroneously disregard.

Various infections are one such underestimated peril. During the first three months in particular but also throughout the pregnancy, the foetus may be put at risk by various contagious diseases, such as chickenpox and rubella. Influenza can also cause serious complications. The immune systems of pregnant women are more vulnerable. That is why they should avoid exotic holiday trips, if possible. The same holds true for trips soon after childbirth and for trips with small babies.

Gaining too much weight is also not perceived as a real hazard. Normal weight gain is somewhere between one and two kilograms per month, so it is natural for a woman to put on 11-16 kilograms during pregnancy. Grapes, mandarins and other foods with high sugar content increase the risk of pregnancy diabetes. “If unhealthy eating is coupled with little exercise, stress and being overworked, their impact on the pregnancy may be far more detrimental than one might expect. That is why expectant mothers should get plenty of rest, eat a healthy diet and enjoy a balanced and peaceful lifestyle.” Hopefully, women will heed these words of guidance given to them by the head of the maternity counselling centre and take good care of themselves.


Source: Family and Child