That moment when you discover you’re pregnant is overwhelming. Regardless of whether you were trying or not, it’s still a shock to see those two pink lines pop up – undeniable proof that you’re pregnant.
Once the initial shock and excitement settles down (helped by morning sickness and other uncomfortable first trimester symptoms) it’s easy to feel like pregnancy is a very, very long journey. And one that is fraught with things to be anxious about, from worry about scan results to miscarriage, blood results to relationship stress.
First things first:
If you’re a first time pregnant mom, feeling great about your pregnancy and have poked into this post because you’re curious about what others might be fearful of… please back away now.
You don’t need to borrow any anxiety or fears.
The truth is the majority of pregnancies are successful and uneventful.
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Miscarriage Statistics (Day by Day)
Let’s go right to the worse case scenario – the biggest fear in the first trimester is miscarriage.
It might seem a bit grim, but when you’ve suffered a loss before (or even if you haven’t) it’s incredibly reassuring to watch your probability of miscarriage go down day by day.
I admit, I obsessively checked this every couple of days with baby number two.
While this site can’t guarantee that you won’t be one of the small percent who miscarry, it does help to set your mind at ease about how likely it is to happen.
It also has a helpful feature that ‘reassures you about your miscarriage probability’ which couches the numbers encouragingly and actually reverses the stat – rather than telling you how likely you are to miscarry, it tells you how likely your pregnancy is to be successful. (Which I happen to like much better!)
Avoid Your Birth Club & Facebook Groups in the First Trimester
If you’ve signed up for every pregnancy app under the sun (like me), you’ve probably already noticed that quite a few come with an inbuilt forum for your birth month (the big ones are the Baby Center and What to Expect apps).
You might’ve also noticed that these apps are a hot mess of drama and endless posts asking others to guess the sex of their baby… unfortunately, between weeks 4-8(ish) of pregnancy, there will also be endless posts about spotting, cramping, bleeding, ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage posts. Some complete with way, WAY TMI photos.
Because of how frequent the post are it can seem like everyone is miscarrying and it’s enough to set anyone on edge.
So, if you do choose to join your birth club during the first trimester, make sure to avoid the posts that distress you and just remember that most people who’re doing well aren’t going to post ‘yep, still pregnant, feeling fine’.
Even if that’s probably the majority.
Ask Your Doctor for a Dating Scan
If you’re not sure about your dates, your doctor may refer you for a dating scan.
These are using done early to mid first trimester (6-8 weeks) and are used to determine your due date by the size of baby. Obviously, the further along you are the more developed the baby will be.
Also, this study is very encouraging and should help ease those fears:
It found that if you have:
- no risk factors,
- no symptoms of miscarriage,
- a heartbeat detected,
miscarriage risk drops to 1.6%, especially after week 8 of pregnancy.
Read (or Listen) to Loving What Is
I know it’s hard to focus in the first trimester on anything that seemed to be important before. Everything pales in significance to the fact that you are going to be a mom and… yikes, you got a lot of things to do and buy and learn!
I listened to Loving What Is by Byron Katie a while ago and it really affected me. The basic gist of the book is that a lot of the mental and emotional stress we put on ourselves is because of thoughts that ‘this isn’t what was supposed to happen’. The book flips that around – you have to accept what IS as what was meant to happen. How do you know it was meant to be? Because it happened – it’s a total waste of mental and emotional energy to fight against reality.
The future is out of your control, that’s God’s business. For now, you’re pregnant.
Focus on Healthy Habits
Easier said than done in the first trimester if you’re suffering from food aversions or morning sickness, am I right?!
However, I find for me if I can set goals and have things to check off it keeps my mind busy and away from worrying. It also gives me a mini sense of accomplishment – like it might be a reallllly long time before baby number 2 gets here, but I’m doing the best I can already!
Some good habits to get into:
- daily walking
- gentle (pregnancy-safe) exercise
- drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day
- healthy eating
Plan For Fun
One of the best things I did during my first pregnancy was create a massive hand-drawn calendar of the remaining weeks of my pregnancy and fill in every weekend with at least one fun thing to do.
It became sort of like a pre-baby bucket list (which is another awesome thing to do).
The reason I did this was because I was working in a high stress office environment and I was just dying to go on maternity leave… having these fun things to look forward to helped pass the time a little quicker, plus I got to spend some quality time with my husband before our little one was born.
Some fun ideas for you:
- go see something – a theatre show, a concert, a play, a dance troupe, a circus.
- go to the drive in (we never did this one… maybe next time.)
- watch a new-release movie
- attend a Baby Expo
- go to the beach
- have a picnic
- attend prenatal classes together
- do a cooking class
- have a weekend away
Get Some Sunshine
Vitamin D deficiency can apparently make you depressed. Which can make your anxieties and fears about pregnancy seem even bigger and more overwhelming.
Try getting more sunshine – a daily walk outside will help clear your head and get some of those rays.
Ok, so mindfulness is pretty popular these days.
It’s great practice in controlling your thoughts.
You might also like to try Hypnobabies, which helps you have an easier and more comfortable birth through using self-hypnosis techniques.
Drop the Guilt
The list of things to not do, eat, take or drink in pregnancy is huge (it never stops growing…) and it’s actually kinda difficult to keep tabs on everything you’re not supposed to be doing.
But, the guilt and terror that comes from suddenly discovering that you’ve been doing something off the ‘no list’ is horrendous. Along with the immediate worry that you’ve done irreparable harm to your baby…
However, in most cases, miscarriage is not caused by anything you do – in the first trimester the most common reason for miscarriage is chromosomal abnormalities. Meaning… it was going to happen anyway, it wasn’t that glass or two of wine you had before you found out, or the deli meat sandwich you bought for lunch without even thinking.
Celebrate Your Pregnancy
There are a lot of reasons to celebrate falling pregnant! For me, the biggest thing this time was that my body was able to conceive naturally. After struggling with infertility for many years before my first and taking foreeeeever to conceive number two… it is such a joy to know that my body is capable of conceiving naturally – good job, body!