Psychological Adaptation of Expectant Mothers During Pregnancy
Carrying a developing child in your womb for nine months, or having a wife, sister, mother or friend who is, can be quite stressful when coupled with confusing mood changes and erratic behaviors. With a myriad of disorders associated with motherhood and pregnancy, it is advisable to know which behaviors are common and developmentally significant to expectant mothers. This article offers a glimpse of a woman's psyche during the months that she is nourishing another human being in her body.
1st Trimester: Establishing an Acceptance of Pregnancy
- There is feeling of surprise, ambivalence, emotional lability, money worries and body image changes especially to first time mothers and those who are not planning to have a child. What the impending future might bring and how it will undoubtedly change one's life are common worries of a woman in her first trimester.
- The expecting mother could experience feelings of Denial, which is a sign of maladaption to pregnancy.
- The task of the expectant mother is to accept the biological facts of pregnancy: "I am pregnant".
In this point in time, the woman should be well-informed about bodily changes in pregnancy, personal hygiene and proper nutrition, all of which are vital to the proper development of the fetus inside the womb.
2nd Trimester: Continuation of Pregnancy
- There is role identification in the part of the mother and a heightened sense of time as the day of childbirth approaches.
- Mother identifies the fetus as a separate entity due to quickening (feeling of the baby's movement in the womb).
- Mother begins to fantasize the appearance of baby.
- There is change in sexual interest. The father examines his own ability to parent.
- The developmental task of the mother is to accept the growing fetus as a baby to be nurtured: "I am going to have a baby."
- In the middle of the pregnancy period, the woman's interest lies in the growth and development of the fetus.
3rd Trimester: Preparation for Separation of the Baby
- The mother has a personal identification on the appearance of the baby.
- She may have fears about her large abdomen and the impending labor and delivery of the unborn child.
- Safe passage for the her and the newborn are primary concerns of the mother near the end of her pregnancy.
- Nesting behaviors may be observed. Busy days and restless nights may be present as the mother prepares for the coming of her child.
- The psychological task of the mother is to successfully prepare for birth and parenting of the child: "I am going to be a mother."
This is the best time to prepare the baby's room, shop for clothes and things that the baby will use. Lamaze classes may also help to facilitate successful childbirth.