When Shauna Stewart got pregnant after two years of trying, she cried tears of happiness and relief. But there was also a nagging doubt she couldn’t shake. Even after a blood test and an ultrasound confirmed her pregnancy, she couldn’t relax and enjoy the idea that she was finally going to be a mom.
“Everything related to pregnancy can be such a roller coaster. When you are trying, there is so much time spent hoping and so much time trying not to get your hopes up,” Shauna told us. “For the first trimester, I had a difficult time relaxing into it. I think I had conditioned myself for disappointment to a certain extent, so I was fearing the test would tell me, ‘I’m sorry.’”
Shauna’s fears are not uncommon. The first trimester sparks a range of emotions and worry in pregnant women. Remember, you are not alone.
Fear of miscarriage
Now at 20 weeks pregnant, Shauna is out of the danger zone for miscarriage, and she is now “rolling with it” and making the most of her pregnancy experience.
According to Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway, board-certified OB/GYN and author of “The Smart Mother’s Guide to a Better Pregnancy,” 80 percent of all miscarriages take place before 12 weeks of gestation. “The most common reason for having a first trimester miscarriage is a genetic problem that’s usually incompatible with life.”
First-time pregnant women who are healthy, who don’t smoke, drink or engage in illicit drugs, shouldn’t be overly nervous about miscarriage. “Unless a woman is bleeding frank red blood, she should not be afraid of losing her baby,” reassures Dr. Burke-Galloway.
Spotting – medical emergency?
But what if you’re not bleeding bright red blood? What if it’s just spotting instead? This is what Whitney Lett experienced with her second pregnancy (her baby is due in January).
“I bleed a little in the beginning [of the pregnancy] and never did that with my first child,” Whitney explained. “I was worried that I would miscarry or that something was wrong with my baby.”
Approximately 20 percent of Dr. Burke-Galloway’s patients spot in the first trimester. “The most common reason for first trimester bleeding is a condition called implantation bleeding, where the fertilized egg is implanting into the uterus,” she explains. “But if the woman is having any episodes of bleeding, it should not be ignored. She should contact her OB provider or visit the emergency room where an ultrasound should be performed to document a live fetus. Be proactive about the pregnancy and ask questions.”
Cramping – a sign of trouble?
Cramping is another sign of implantation, but it can be worrisome. Mami Sili, a mother of one, experienced cramping in her pregnancy.