Now that you’re pregnant, you might find yourself worrying quite often. MH speaks to the doctors to find out the truth about your biggest worries and why it’s really not that scary.
WORDS CHRISTEL GERALYN GOMES
1. I feel so anxious when I think about how my body will never look the same again.
Nearly every mother worries about this at some point or other, so know you are most certainly not alone. “Most women who put on weight while pregnant do lose the weight after the pregnancy,” says Dr Tony Tan, specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and consultant at Raffles Women Centre. “Some lose the weight quickly; others more slowly.” However, if weight gain is excessive, there are others who may not lose it. Putting on more than 15kg during your pregnancy is considered to be excessive.
If you are wondering how best to lose your pregnancy weight, Dr Tan says, “Breastfeeding, coupled with a good diet that is low in calories and doing regular physical exercise would help.”
2. Sex feels different and I may never get my libido back.
“For most women, it is true that sex may feel different and the libido decreases in the months or early years after giving birth. Besides the stress of looking after the baby, postnatal blues, poor sleep, and going back to work are likely to reduce the libido of most women. Husbands can help reduce their wives’ stress by helping out, and by trying to understand how they are feeling,” says Dr Tan.
Remember, husbands, your wife is going through a lot hormonally, and your job is to manage your expectations and support her during this time. It is no easy feat to create life, and even the most level-headed woman may go through some serious hormonal mood swings. Dr Tan continues; “Eventually, the body recovers and the libido improves. Then the helpful husband tends to be ‘rewarded’ more than the ‘unhelpful’ husband.”
3. I’m very afraid of getting stretch marks.
Embrace the scars as markers of your new status as a mother. According to Dr Tan, they will eventually lighten over the next few years. “Prevention of the stretch marks is difficult and the results are not consistent, though some mothers may benefit from regular use of anti-stretch mark cream. Recently, laser treatment has been proposed to reduce post-delivery stretch marks. However, it is not certain what the results of the laser treatment would be as the published data is limited”.
4. I’m afraid my baby will get tangled in the cord.
“The cord is often entangled around the neck or body, but this is not a major cause of stillbirth,” says Dr Tan. “Most cords around the neck do not cause trouble, other than foetal distress during labour, which might then require a caesarean. In general, it is not useful for obstetricians to look for these cords around the neck. It is rare to detect a true knot on the cord that is formed by early movements of the foetus and most stillbirths are instead caused by a deteriorating placenta,” says Dr Tan.
5. Should I worry about the possibility of dying during childbirth?
“Mothers dying during pregnancy are rare in a developed country like Singapore. The maternal mortality rate is up to about 8 per 100,000 pregnancies. A situation where the doctor has to choose between the mother and the baby is rare. If this happens, the mother prevails over the baby in most cases unless it is a situation where the mother has no chance of survival, and then all the efforts would be towards the baby. When a mother has a cardiovascular collapse whilst pregnant and requires CPR, surgically removing the baby immediately is important as it helps to improve the efficacy of the CPR. This is again done for the benefit of the mother, and not the baby,” says Dr Tan.
6. I feel panicky when I think about how painful labour will feel
While labour is certainly very painful, think of it as similar to severe menstrual cramps. How painful it will be really depends on the individual woman and if this is one of your fears, know what pain relievers are available. According to the doctor, while most women find labour unbearable without any medications, there are a few who can tolerate it without any. Labour pain relief includes include gas and air (a mixture of laughing gas and oxygen), opioid injections every four hours, and epidural analgesia, which is the most effective.