In this section:
Discovering that you are pregnant brings about a variety of new feelings.
Many physical and emotional changes occur, especially in your relationship with your partner, your career and your lifestyle in general. Use the nine months of pregnancy for positive growth and be aware of the problems relating to increased stress and a breakdown in communication.
Regard this period of your life as one of great excitement, challenge and reward.
Hormonal changes, morning sickness and fatigue are partially responsible for a heightened level of emotions. Rapid mood swings and irrational and contradictory feelings are common. Give yourself time to understand these emotions and come to terms with the reality that you are becoming a parent.
Many women fear losing their freedom and independence. Try to see parenthood as a wonderful learning experience with new horizons.
Changing body image
Some women enjoy the physical changes of pregnancy, while others find it difficult to cope with their new body image. Exercising regularly will help to improve how you feel about your body.
- Many women experience an emotional “high”. You may feel much healthier, more energetic and will have adapted to your pregnancy by this time.
- The movements of your baby can cause a lot of excitement and joy.
- Fears you may have had about a miscarriage normally begin to subside. Explicit dreams and fantasies become more common, bringing fears to the surface where they can be dealt with more easily.
- You do need continuous reassurance and love from your partner.
Childbirth education classes provide information, skills and support to the expectant couple.
There is sound evidence that the presence of a supportive companion, especially a woman who has experienced childbirth, has a positive effect on a woman’s experience of labour, progress in labour and adaptation to parenthood.
Even if your partner will be present, the additional presence of a woman may be beneficial.
- Discuss the hospital regulations for childbirth companions with your caregiver.
You may wish to arrange with a friend or relative to be with you during labour. Some hospitals arrange for volunteer birth companions from the local community to accompany women who do not have their own companion with them.
During labour, ask your companion to keep focusing on three tasks: comfort, reassurance and praise.