The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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That something will still go wrong
"Even after my screening tests came back OK, I was concerned with everything about the baby: Was she developing on time and properly? Was my stress affecting her? Was she going to be all right?"
— Annie Margolin, Easton, Pa., mother of Molly, 2
Despite reassuring test results, you still may be troubled by nagging concerns about your baby. But the facts are on your side. "With any given pregnancy, the odds are terrific that everything's just fine," says perinatologist Connie Agnew, M.D., director of maternal-fetal medicine at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., and the mother of four. "Women need to have faith that nature will do this right. Concern is completely appropriate, not only during pregnancy but throughout parenthood in general," she adds. "It's about our desire to be a good parent, which is a good thing."
Yet, Agnew believes it's important to keep worry in check, not so much because she thinks stress is harmful to a pregnancy but because fixating on what could go wrong takes you away from the magic going on inside your body. "This is such a wonderful time, and to have joy is so important," she says.
Reality check: "Drive by an elementary school at 3 p.m.," says Agnew, "and you'll realize that reproduction is remarkably efficient. We're populating the planet very well."
Baby No. 2 Issues
Virtually every mom we talked to who was pregnant with a second child worried about the impact the new baby would have on her firstborn. While it can, admittedly, be tough on an older child when a new baby's introduced into the mix, the older sibling usually adjusts within a month or two. "In the meantime, you'll probably see some jealousy and regression, and that's OK," says family therapist Gayle Peterson. "What's important to remember is that as the parent, you're the leader, and the way you lead your family is going to have a big impact on how your older child adjusts."
Instead of focusing on the suffering you're inflicting on your older child, try to look at it from a positive point of view. "You're giving your child the chance to be a sibling," Peterson says. "If he didn't get that, his life would be lacking. Yes, he may be jealous," she adds, "but remember that you're helping him build a relationship and be a big brother. You need to help him feel proud of that."