Calming My Pregnancy Worries with Numbers

After a few weeks of excitement and taking in the fact I was pregnant, my worries began. Some were ridiculous. They were over things that were very unlikely and I couldn’t control anyway. Plus, I’ve been taking pre-natal vitamins religiously, eating healthily and exercising as much as possible so some of the worry was really unnecessary.

Regardless, I’ve been Googling and for the most part, I think that helped. I’m a math person. Considering I’m not doing anything harmful, the numbers should be enough to convince me that it’s more than likely that everything will be okay; so over the past few months, I’ve been learning to worry less.

But up until this point, here are the things that have worried me:

  1. Miscarriage
    Background: My first trimester was great – maybe too great, which caused me to worry. At about 7 weeks, my small amount of pregnancy symptoms had vanished: I didn’t have to go to the bathroom often, my breasts were no longer sore, my hunger level was back to normal, etc. I wasn’t scheduled for another appointment until 12 weeks. “Luckily” I felt a bit of cramping at 10 weeks, which prompted the doctor to send me in for an ultrasound. Lo and behold, there was an embryo in there. And it was doing just fine. At 12 weeks, I had a routine screening ultrasound and that further comforted me that baby will be fine.
    Fact: The chance of a miscarriage for women under 35 is 10-12%, and greatly reduces when the heartbeat is observed at 8-10 weeks. Also, remember that miscarriages occur because of chromosomal abnormalities, so it’s the body’s way of rejecting an unhealthy embryo.
  2. Gestational Diabetes
    Background: The only craving I’ve had so far is sugar. I love all things sweet. Especially during the holiday season, I’ve been eating a lot of cookies, cakes and chocolates. I haven’t been too concerned with the amount because my weight gain is normal, but I was just reminded that I’ll need to take a the gestational diabetes test soon (routinely performed at 24 weeks), and that started worry me. I’m cutting down on the chocolates not only for this test but for general health reasons. I’m scheduled to go in this week so we’ll see what the results tell me.
    Fact: Sugar intake does not cause gestational diabetes. It’s when your body does not produce enough insulin to break down the sugar. High levels of sugar right before the test may skew results but has little to do with your body’s ability to produce insulin. You’re at higher risk to develop gestational diabetes if you fall into any of these groups, e.g., are greater than 35 years of age, have strong family or previous history, have a BMI over 30, are non-Caucasian, etc. According to the American Diabetes Association, gestational diabetes affects 18% of pregnancies.
  3. Premature Labour
    Background: This worry is a fairly new one for me. As I’m now in my 6th month, the baby’s movements are pretty distinct, so I start to worry when I don’t feel anything or if the sensations feel off.
    Fact: 88% of women deliver at full-term (or later), and of those premature deliveries, 70% occurs between weeks 34 and 37.
  4. Birth Defects
    Background: I think this one will always be at the back of my mind. I’m trying to consider anything that could possibly affect they baby’s development, from drinking purified water and regularly exercising to avoiding over-the-counter drugs, certain moisturizers, deli meats and some seafood.
    Fact: Only 3-4% of babies are born with major defects and many of them are treatable.

I’m sure that’s just the start to a list of other worries that will come as soon as the baby is born. Oh, I look forward to the many joys and stresses of motherhood :)

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