Feeling Mixed Emotions About Pregnancy

Finding out you are pregnant is one of those lump-in-your-throat moments. Whether you’ve spent years trying, or are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may find yourself feeling mixed emotions. That’s normal, most women find themselves on a roller coaster ride of emotions during those first few weeks of pregnancy, or longer.

Mixed emotions aren’t just for women facing unplanned pregnancies, even if you were crossing your fingers and toes for a little blue line, you may now find yourself feeling a little deflated. After all, your pipe dream has suddenly become very real, it’s normal to feel a little apprehensive. Some of the emotions commonly experienced in those first few weeks after a positive pregnancy test include:

Happy – if this pregnancy was long awaited, you are likely to feel incredibly happy that you are pregnant. Even if this pregnancy was a complete shock, you are still likely to feel happy about the prospect of being pregnant. During moments of happiness, focus on yourself and your developing baby, and try to remember all the reasons you have to feel happy about the pregnancy.

Upset – it’s normal to grieve the loss of an old life. After all, you’ve just discovered that for the next nine months, alcohol, your favourite cheese and pate are off the menu. You may be worried about growing out of your clothes, and morphing into a pregnant woman.

Scared – pretty much all pregnant women feel scared at some point. You may be scared about the pregnancy, worried about the birth, or terrified that you won’t be a good mother. A little bit of fear is a normal part of pregnancy, especially during the first few weeks as you adjust to the news. If it is keeping you awake at night, affecting your appetite or leaving you unable to concentrate, speak to your healthcare provider for advice.

Guilty – chances are, if you’re feeling upset and scared, you may also be feeling guilty. Motherhood guilt will last you a lifetime, and sadly it starts as early as that little blue line on your pregnancy test. Try not to feel guilty for having mixed emotions about the pregnancy. Remember that it’s ok to not be 100% happy all of the time. Not only are you at the start of a life-changing journey, but you’re also experiencing the emotional roller coaster associated with the hormone increases of early pregnancy.

Unprepared – this emotion is particularly strong for women facing unplanned pregnancies. You may be worried this is the wrong time, or that you’re not ready to be a mother. But, as your planned pregnancy counterparts will tell you, they are thinking all the same things. Having a baby is a huge step, and self-doubt is a normal part of this. Whenever you feel worried and unprepared, do something proactive to help you get ready for motherhood.

Angry – if the pregnancy came as a surprise, you may be feeling angry that this has happened. Perhaps you are angry with yourself, or angry with the father, or simply angry at the situation. There’s nothing wrong with feeling angry when life throws you a curveball, but it’s not a particularly helpful emotion. Try to channel your energy into something more productive, like planning the nursery or working out how you will cope as a new mum.

Isolated – during the first trimester, as you battle with mixed emotions, you may also be keeping your pregnancy secret. This can lead to feelings of isolation. If you don’t want to tell all of your friends and family just yet, why not tell just one person so that you can talk about your feelings. Some people cherish the secret during those first three months, but if you are finding yourself struggling without the advice and support of your best friend, it might be time to break the news.

Coping with mixed emotions
It may not be something that many women talk about publicly, but feeling mixed emotions about pregnancy is pretty common. The best thing to do is talk about it. Find someone you trust, and tell them exactly how you feel. This could be your partner, best friend, a counsellor, your healthcare professional or a total strange on an online forum. Talking about how you feel should help you to start making sense of your mixed emotions about pregnancy.

How did you feel when you discovered you were pregnant?

Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.

First Trimester Tests

During the first trimester of your first pregnancy, you may feel a bit like a human pincushion as your healthcare provider carries out tests to ensure you and your developing baby are both healthy.

At your first appointment, you will be given a full physical. This will involve answering lots of questions about your medical history, talking about your lifestyle and how the pregnancy is going. You may be offered a pelvic exam including a routine culture to check for chlamydia and gonorrhea. If it has been a while since your last PAP smear, you may be offered one to check for abnormal cells.

Blood tests
Samples of your blood will be taken to identify your blood type and Rh status. Blood samples will also be taken to test for anaemia, syphilis, Hepatitis B and HIV. Your blood will also be checked for immunities to certain illnesses including rubella, toxoplasmosis and chickenpox. Speak to your healthcare provider to determine what your blood is being tested for, as this can vary between providers.

Urine samples
At each appointment, your healthcare provider will ask for a sample of your urine. A dipstick test will then be performed on the sample to determine sugar and protein levels in your urine. High levels of these may be indicative of conditions including urinary tract infections, preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. If you are at a high-risk of developing gestational diabetes, your healthcare provider may check for this at your first appointment.

First trimester screening
A first trimester screening test may be carried out between weeks 9 and 14. This test combines the use of ultrasound and blood screening. This test is used to identify the risk of your baby having Down syndrome, congenital heart problems and some other chromosomal disorders. This test will not give you a definite result, but it can highlight an increased risk that may lead you to investigate further testing.

Depending on your ethnic and medical backgrounds, you may be offered a carrier test to determine your baby’s risk of developing genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, and Tay-Sachs disease.

Chorionic Villus Sampling
You have the option of a Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) between weeks 11 and 12. This test is invasive and should only be performed if necessary due to the slight risk of miscarriage associated with this procedure. CVS checks for chromosomal and genetic disorders. During the test, cells will be removed from the placenta and sent to a lab for testing.

Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.

How to Take a Home Pregnancy Test

From the start of your pregnancy, a hormone called human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG) is produced by the fertilised egg. The amount of hCG in your body increases rapidly during the first trimester, but starts to decrease as you progress further into the pregnancy.

Home pregnancy tests work by detecting hCG levels in your urine. Some tests are more responsive than others and are able to detect lower levels of hCG to give a positive result.

When to take a home pregnancy test
To get the most accurate results, you should wait until the day your period is due to take a pregnancy test. If you have irregular periods, you should base it on your longest cycle of recent months.

Although it is possible to buy tests for use before a missed period, some women choose to avoid these. Spontaneous miscarriages are common in very early pregnancy, and many occur before the pregnancy is known about. These spontaneous miscarriages are not indicative of fertility problems, and it is not known why they occur. Most go unnoticed, but some of these pregnancies are picked up by early pregnancy tests. These are known as chemical pregnancies, and many women choose to avoid using early pregnancy tests to avoid them.

hCG levels are highest first thing in the morning, so you should try to take the test with your first bathroom break of the day.

How to take the test
This will depend upon the home pregnancy test you have chosen, so you should follow the instructions provided with your test. The method may vary between manufacturers, and the results may be inaccurate if the test is taken incorrectly.
Reading the results
The instructions will state a length of time to wait before reading the test, this is to ensure that the test has had time to work and that the results will be readable. You should set a timer, and put the test out of sight while you wait for the results.

The instructions will tell you how to read the test, so make sure you have read them carefully before attempting to decipher the results. Most tests have a control line and a result line. If the result line is present when you read the test, no matter how faint or dark it is, then you are pregnant.

A negative test will show only the control line, and the result line will not be visible. The instructions will state a maximum amount of time the reading is accurate for (usually around 10 minutes), after this the test should be discarded. If the result was negative, but your period has still not started you may wish to test again in a few days.

Some fertility medication may cause a false positive result because of the use of hCG. Speak to your healthcare provider or pharmacy to see if your fertility medication contains hCG, and how to get an accurate result.

I’m pregnant, what now?
Congratulations, you should contact your healthcare provider to discuss your pregnancy, and to get advice for what happens next.

Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2014. All rights reserved.