PSYCHOLOGIC NEEDS DURING PREGNANCY
Being pregnant is a very personal experience for each patient. This period in her
life poses many new challenges and possible problems. How she responds to these
challenges is dependent on her emotional maturity or lack of it. It is the responsibility of
the practical nurse to help her understand and meet these challenges appropriately.
You can help the patient, her mate, and significant others in their understanding of the
physiologic changes that may occur during pregnancy.
EMOTIONAL REACTIONS EXPERIENCED BY A NEWLY PREGNANT
Throughout a patient's pregnancy, her emotional reactions have been described
as ambivalence, fear and anxiety, introversion or narcissism, and uncertainty. These
feelings predominate at different periods of the pregnancy; other tends to fade in and
out as the pregnancy progresses.
a. Ambivalence. This refers to the patient's simultaneous attraction for and
against the pregnancy. The negative response to the pregnancy does not mean that
she doesn't want the baby. She may simply have doubts as to whether she will be a
good parent, wonder if she is ready for a baby, how a new baby will affect her family
and her lifestyle, and so forth. This is not to say that she doesn't feel good about the
pregnancy. Even though she may be doubtful in some ways, she may be experiencing
joy and excitement as well as happiness and anticipation.
b. Fear and Anxiety. This refers to the patient being concerned for her own
health and the health of her baby.
c. Introversion or Narcissism. The patient becomes concerned for herself.
She may be preoccupied with her own thoughts and feelings.
d. Uncertainty. Before the patient can accept the fact that she is pregnant, she
must ask herself "Am I really pregnant?" This may last until a positive diagnosis of
pregnancy is confirmed by a physician. "Quickening" is usually a big milestone in the
process of accepting the pregnancy.
FACTORS THAT MAY INFLUENCE THE EXTENT OF THESE REACTIONS
The previously mentioned emotional reactions of a pregnant patient may have
some bearing on the following factors:
a. Is it a planned or a wanted pregnancy?