Coping and support

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you're at risk of preterm labor or premature birth, you might feel scared or anxious about your pregnancy. This might be especially true if you have a history of preterm labor or premature birth. You might be reluctant to think about the future and constantly be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of preterm labor. In addition, prenatal visits might make you particularly nervous — for fear that you'll hear bad news.

Unfortunately, anxiety can affect your health and your baby's health. Consult your health care provider about healthy ways to relax and stay calm. Some studies suggest that certain techniques — such as imagining pleasant objects or experiences or listening to music — can reduce anxiety during pregnancy.

If you give birth prematurely, it won't affect your physical recovery from childbirth. However, the common stresses after delivery could be magnified by your baby's condition. Preemies often need intensive medical care after birth, sometimes requiring lengthy hospital stays. You might be worried about the possible long-term effects for your baby. As the parent of a premature newborn, you might feel that you did something to cause the premature birth or that you could have done more to prevent it. Try to let go of any feelings of guilt about your baby's premature birth by talking about them with your baby's care providers, your partner and other loved ones. Focus your energy on caring for and getting to know your child.

Feb. 24, 2012

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