With trimesters one and two already under your belt, you've long since mastered the art of worrying – and perhaps even managed to ease some of those worries. In the third trimester, you'll have plenty of opportunity to use your newfound coping skills as the final countdown to delivery day begins.
1. I'm worried that I won't figure out that I'm really in labour until I'm about to give birth. We've all read stories about women giving birth in grocery stores because they didn't realize that it was "the real thing" until it was too late. Fortunately, these types of deliveries are relatively rare. While you might have your doubts initially about whether you're dealing with true labour or a particularly nasty imitation, as your labour progresses, you'll have a better idea about what is (or isn't) going on. And even if you're still stumped at that point, your doctor or midwife will be able to step in and help you to make the definitive call
2. I'm concerned that I'll show up at the hospital only to find out that I'm not really in labour. It can happen to the best of us. (Heck, it even happened to my prenatal instructor!) While it may be a bit embarrassing and frustrating to race to the labour and delivery ward only to find out that you're still as pregnant as ever, no one will think any less of you for wanting to check things out. After all, it's a far wiser woman who heads off to labour and delivery prematurely than she who gives birth at the side of the highway!
3. I'm worried that my water will break while I'm dining out at a fancy restaurant. Here's a statistic that may help to reassure you: only 10 per cent of women experience the rupture of their membranes prior to the onset of labour. So unless you're planning to head for the restaurant after the contractions start coming fast and furious, odds are you'll be fine. And even if your water did happen to break in the middle of the restaurant, it wouldn't be the end of the world. Contrary to popular belief, there's no sudden gush unless you're flat on your back. Otherwise, your baby's head would act like a cork, blocking the exit to your uterus and slowing the flow of amniotic fluid to a mere dribble. So while you'd be acutely aware that something unusual was happening (imagine a slight popping sensation followed by a slow leak!), no one else in the restaurant would have to be any the wiser.
4. I'm petrified that I won't be able to cope with the pain of labour. Given the number of scary stories you've no doubt heard over the past nine months, it's hardly surprising that you're being hit with a bad case of stage fright. The best way to combat this particular fear is to arm yourself with the facts. Read as much as you can about giving birth. Sign up for childbirth classes. And talk to your doctor or midwife about your various pain relief options. If you're still feeling pretty freaked out, remind yourself that generations of women have walked this road before and lived to tell. You will, too.
5. I'm worried that I'll lose control during labour. Fortunately, labour has not yet become a spectator sport, so you don't have to be unduly concerned about your "performance." Your doctor or midwife has seen it all and certainly won't think any less of you if you happen to grunt, swear, or otherwise "lose it" during the heat of labour. And as for your partner recoiling in horror, that's one worry you can strike off your list right now. He won't be inclined to take note of anything so trivial: he'll be too busy witnessing a miracle.
6.I'm worried that there won't be anyone around to watch my older child once I go into labour. The best way to cope with this particular fear is to keep a list of potential babysitters close to the phone. That way, when the moment of truth arrives, you can start hitting speed dial. If you're really concerned, lend your cell phone to your prime babysitting candidate and ask her to carry it with her 24 hours a day. That should give you one less thing to worry about.
7.One of my pregnancy books talks about awful things like perineal shaves and enemas. Do hospitals still do that sort of stuff? Chances are the pregnancy book that you're reading is well on its way to becoming an antique. Thankfully, perineal shaves and enemas have pretty much gone the way of the do-do bird. Just count your lucky stars that you're giving birth today â€“ not 20 years ago.
8. My mother wants to throw a baby shower for me before the birth, but I'm afraid that might bring me bad luck. No matter how sensible you may be about other things in your life, it's easy to get caught up in pregnancy superstitions. If this is a major worry for you, you might want to suggest that your mom hold off on her shower plans until after the delivery.
9. My abdomen looks like a roadmap. I'm worried that these pregnancy "souvenirs" will be with me forever. While stretch marks do stick around for the long-term, they tend to fade over time. After a while, they'll be silvery-white and virtually unnoticeable to anyone but you. This is one worry you can definitely move to the bottom of the list.
10. I'm worried that I don't what have it takes to become a parent. It's normal to feel a bit shaky about your parenting abilities at this stage of the game. After all, you're about to find yourself faced with the ultimate of challenges -- motherhood! But before you know it, you'll be an old pro. All you need is a little time in the trenches -- and, as you know only too well, boot camp is about to begin!
Ann Douglas is Canada's foremost pregnancy author and a mother of four. Her most recent books include The Mother of All Pregnancy Books and Trying again: A guide to pregnancy after miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss.