FEELINGS AND RELATIONSHIPS
From the minute you know you are pregnant, your feelings change: feelings about yourself,
about the baby and about your future. Your relationships change: with your partner, other children and also with your parents and friends. Coping with these changes is not always easy. This chapter is about some of the worries that may come up in pregnancy and suggestions
on how to handle them. What is a problem for one person may not be a problem for you,
and what is helpful advice for some people may not be right for you. So take from these
pages what you find useful.
When you are pregnant it can sometimes seem as though you
have to be happy all of the time.
You may find that people expect you to look forward to the baby, be excited and to ‘bloom’ all the
time. You too may think that this is the way you ought to feel.
In fact, you are likely to have ups and downs, just like any other
nine months in your life.
Hormonal changes and tiredness
Hormonal changes taking place in
your body can make you feel tired, nauseous, emotional and upset –
particularly in the first three months. You may find that you cry more easily, sometimes for no reason, and lose your temper more. Being tired and run down can make you feel low. Try to look after your physical health and
get plenty of sleep (see Chapter 3
on your health in pregnancy).
It is quite normal to feel anxious
and worried when you are pregnant
– especially if this is your first
pregnancy. There are a number of
things that you may feel anxious
about. You may find antenatal tests stressful – because of the possibility that something may be wrong.
You may be worried about practical things like money, work or where
you are going to live. You may be
anxious about whether you will
cope as a parent, or about whether
you are ready to be a parent.
Some of these anxieties could be
shared by your partner, friends or family. It is a good idea to talk
through these feelings together.
It is normal to have dreams about your baby. Sometimes your dreams may reflect your anxieties. This is often because you are thinking
much more about your pregnancy and the changes that are happening
in your body. Talk to your midwife if you are worried by this.
Ways of coping
• Sometimes it helps to share
anxieties with other pregnant women.
• Discuss any worries, concerns or anxieties you have with someone
you feel you can talk to. This could
be your midwife, your partner, your friends or family.
It’s normal to have some worries while you are pregnant and to feel a bit down from time to time. But it is a cause for concern if you are feeling down most of the time. Whatever the reason for your unhappiness, or even
if there doesn’t seem to be any reason at all, explain how you feel to your midwife, doctor or health
visitor (see page 54 to find out
who is who). Make sure that they understand that you are talking about something more than just feeling low. Some women do get depressed during pregnancy and you may need treatment to help you deal with it.
If you have had a mental health
problem in the past, then you might be at risk of becoming ill
with a depressive illness during pregnancy and childbirth. It is important that you tell your midwife
at the start of your pregnancy about any previous illness. If your mood changes throughout the pregnancy then let someone know how you
are feeling; don’t suffer alone
– you can be helped. discuss
ABOUT THE BIRTH
Many women worry about
whether they can cope with the
pain they will experience during
labour and while giving birth.
It is difficult to imagine what a
contraction is like and no one can
really tell you – though they may try! Exploring ways of coping with
labour may help you to feel more confident and more in control.
You can begin by reading the chapter on labour and birth
) with your partner or
a friend or relative who will be with you for the birth. Ask your
midwife or doctor for any further
information, and look on the
internet (www.nhs.uk/pregnancy). Antenatal education will
also help to prepare you for labour and the birth
and to know what to
You will have an opportunity to discuss
this in more detail with your midwife, and to draw up a birth
plan, during the later months of
Talk to your partner or someone close to you. They may be feeling
anxious too – particularly if they
are going to be with you in labour. Together, you can then work out ways that will help you to cope.