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Screw You Pregnancy Books! Why it Doesn’t Help to Read Worst-case Scenarios…

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When you find out you’re pregnant, the first instinct of many women is to jump online or run to the local book store and buy a butt-load of pregnancy books and read them cover to cover.  That’s what they do in the movies, right?

So, like everyone else I bought a few pregnancy books and sat down to read them, ecstatic that I finally got to learn this stuff because finally, it applied to me!

But as I read, I found myself getting more and more freaked the f-out! Yes, you need the basic information – what not to eat, what to eat, what signs to look out for, what activities to avoid, and so forth.  But over and above that, are we really better off with all of this information?

Many of these books cover EVERYTHING – every possible worst-case scenario that could happen to you during pregnancy, birth, and post-partum.  It’s probably not a surprise that reading about miscarriage, placenta previa, birth complications, vacuum deliveries, and uncontrollable bowels post-partum (really?) can cause more anxiety to a first-time-mom.  But we read this stuff, we do this to ourselves anyway because we think we need to be “informed,” right?

But knowing that something could happen can simply lead the brain to focus more on the negative.  And focusing on the worse-case scenario is a recipe for stress, worry and anxiety.  Trust me, I have plenty of stress recipes floating around in my head!  Honestly, knowing that I could have uncontrollable bowels after the baby is born is NOT info I need. Really, it’s not.

If I could do it over again, I wouldn’t have read even one book cover-to-cover.  My advice, skim these books.  Don’t worry about reading the scary scenarios.  Read about nutrition and the basics – what’s safe, what’s not – and leave the rest for reference. If something scary happens to you, THEN you can go read that portion of the book.  THEN you can Google and research that scenario.

Creating a stress-free environment for your baby takes work on your part.  It may mean shielding yourself from the type of information that can create worry and anxiety for you.  If reading these books does not create worry for you, then by all means ignore my advice. But if you’re like me, and you’re struggling to keep yourself mentally balanced and stress-free, skip the pregnancy books. Read the basics, and keep those books on the shelf in case you need them.

What are your thoughts?

Did pregnancy books scare or worry you? Are there any books that you found helpful, that did not scare you? How did you handle digesting pregnancy-related information?

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