Pregnancy is an amazing, miraculous experience, but even the most relaxed women can be overwhelmed by the responsibility of growing and carrying a child safely to delivery.
It can be especially daunting to relax and enjoy the nine-month journey when new research comes out nearly every day saying everything we do, drink, eat, breathe -- or don't -- could potentially harm our children for the rest of their lives.
Here are just a few of the studies from recent years:
- Mothers who talk on mobile phones during pregnancy may have children with behavioral problems.
- Drinking alcohol while pregnant ups your child's risk for a rare form of leukemia.
- If you eat peanuts while pregnant, your child may develop asthma.
- If you drink from a plastic water bottle, your child may have behavior problems down the line due to BPA exposure in the womb.
And on and on ... everything from diabetes to depression, heart disease to obesity seems to be tied to what we do while we're pregnant.
Oh, and if you start stressing about all these things, well that could give your child allergies to deal with for the rest of his life.
So what's a pregnant woman to do, find a bubble (a BPA-free one, of course) and go live in it?
Salon recently did an interview with Murphy Paul, author of Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives in which she discussed these issues with a nice, non-alarmist approach.
"When there's a new scientific finding, people either freak out or dismiss the finding as a scare tactic for women," Paul told Salon. "Both of these reactions are unsatisfactory. The first makes pregnancy a miserable experience, and the second overlooks the nuances of research."
Paul, who was pregnant while she wrote the book, said arming yourself with all the facts and really learning what they mean can be more helpful and comforting than the "constant drip, drip, drip of negative messages or the sensationalist messages that you get from newspaper headlines."
She goes on to say that all the burden to protect growing babies shouldn't be placed on mothers, that society needs to work on issues like air and water quality and food safety to protect them as well.
Basically, it all comes down to doing everything in your power to protect your growing baby without letting fear suck all the enjoyment out of what should be one of the most joy-filled periods of our lives.
Of course, that's easier said than done, so perhaps those bubbles ...?
What do you worry about most in pregnancy, and how do you manage all the fear about how you're affecting your baby's health?
Image via Kevin Dooley/Flickr