Anxious during pregnancy and bonding with your baby

4D Baby Scan
Anxiety during pregnancy affects an estimated one in 10 pregnant women according to the pregnancy charity Tommy’s.

Whilst being pregnant is an exciting experience, full of hopes and dreams for your future, it’s also a time of tremendous changes – to your body, relationship, and career.

So, with so much at stake, pregnancy can be a double-edged sword, causing both feelings of happiness and joy, but also anxiety and fear. You may be worrying about miscarriage, your baby’s growth and development, the birth itself (particularly in the covid-19 era), how you will cope with being a mum, or have money worries or feel your relationship with your partner is under strain. Even worse you may be feeling guilty about even having these feelings in the first place.

Symptoms of anxiety

Anxiety symptoms can include feeling anxious most or some of the time and not being able to control it, restlessness, feeling very worried, experiencing a sense of dread, having concentration problems, feeling on edge and sleep problems.

If you are experiencing these feelings, it’s important you discuss them with your GP or midwife and confide in someone you trust who can reassure you about your fears. Reading about pregnancy and talking to friends who are mothers and attending antenatal classes, may all help you feel calmer and better prepared.

Bonding with your baby

You may be worrying that your pregnancy feels unreal and that you are not bonding with your baby or concerned that your partner is disconnected.

In the early days nothing is visible, and you might not feel your baby move until 18 weeks and you may worry you haven’t bonded yet with the new life growing inside you.

Even as your pregnancy progresses it can still be sometimes be hard to imagine what your baby will look like and how you will feel when you meet them. It can be even more difficult for your partner and for brothers and sisters of your baby to relate to your bump.

How scans can help with anxiety and pregnancy

Sometimes, just seeing your baby on an ultrasound scan is enough to allay your fears and anxiety and help you and your family bond with your baby.

Private ultrasound provider Ultrasound Direct offers antenatal scans at every stage of your pregnancy along with expert interpretation from a team of sonographers, experienced in pregnancy scans, at a location and time to suit you. All Ultrasound Direct clinics also have strict Covid-19 hygiene measures in places to minimise any risk of infection transmission and you will be expected to wear a mask throughout.

Seeing your baby’s heartbeat on an early scan may reassure you that your pregnancy is viable in the first few weeks, and a NIPT(Non-invasive Prenatal test) scan, combines a scan with a blood test for chromosomal abnormalities. Later in pregnancy a growth scan can measure how much your baby is growing and a 4D bonding scan combines a wellbeing check with an opportunity for bonding with your baby, seeing your baby up close and moving in real time.

The scans in detail

If you are feeling anxious in pregnancy and need some reassurance or want to bond with your baby, the following scans are available from Ultrasound Direct.
  • Early Scan: Offered from 6 weeks, an early scan can confirm your pregnancy. The sonographer will also measure the baby to see if it fits with your dates and check for a heartbeat – all reassuring signs that your pregnancy is progressing normally. 
  • Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT) scan : This is a 30-minute appointment which includes a scan to check your baby’s heartbeat and growth, combined with a blood test which analyses foetal DNA in your blood. The test results can be used to calculate the probability of Down’s Syndrome, Edward’s Syndrome, and Patau’s Syndrome. It can be performed between 10 and 40 weeks. 
  • Growth Scan: Available from 24 weeks, growth scans can monitor your baby’s growth from 24 weeks. A sonographer uses ultrasound to measure your baby's head, abdomen, and thigh bones, and then calculates their estimated birth weight. Your sonographer can compare the measurements with the average for babies of the same gestation to check your baby's growth is in the normal range. 
  • 4D Bonding Scan: These are one of the most popular pregnancy scans offered by Ultrasound Direct and include a growth report, estimated weight calculation and beautiful 4D imaging where you see your baby moving in real time and can see their facial characteristics clearly.