What's worrying the new/expecting mother?

Tradition will tell you that being a mother is a blessing. Many might vouch for it, yet it’s tough to negate the worries that accompany pregnancy. A recent survey found expecting Indian mothers to be as anxious about breastfeeding as their attractiveness during/post pregnancy. Dealing with C-section scars or a non-caring husband, returning to work and stretch marks feature as top worries too. Hassan M Kamal reports

A majority of new/expecting Indian mothers are worried about their physical appearance during and post pregnancy, says a new survey, titled Yummy Mummy. The Survey was conducted by Nielson on behalf of Marico Ltd.

It studied 1,100 new/expecting mothers (550 between the ages of 25-35 years) and fathers (550 between the ages of 25-40 years) in 11 cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Jaipur and Chandigarh. There were 100 participants from each city.

Of all the new/expecting mothers who participated in the survey, 84% named stretch marks as the most worrisome issue with respect to physical appearance during/post pregnancy, followed by scars and post-delivery recovery (75%) in the aftermath of a C-section surgery.

Highs and lows
However, new/expecting fathers don’t seem to find stretch marks and scars as discomforting as new/expecting mothers during/post pregnancy.

The statistics reveal that when fathers enter the picture, the focus changes to weight gain as 75% new/expecting mothers and fathers listed weight gain among the top three reasons for feeling low during/post pregnancy, followed by stretch marks (57%), hair fall (48%), scars (44%) and dry skin (38%).

Despite this, looks remain a major cause of concern among new/expecting mothers as 77% of them stated that how they look is one of the most ignored areas during/post pregnancy, and 75% agree to sometimes feeling low and left out as all the attention is centred around the baby.

Maternal pangs
The Yummy Mummy survey also reveals that stretch marks and scars have a huge effect on the confidence and emotional well-being of new/expecting mothers as 80% agreed that they find wearing saree during/post pregnancy embarrassing due to the visibility of stretch marks.

No wonder then that 78% of mothers want to completely conceal their scars whereas 79% agree to try/have tried new ways to treat scars. Surprisingly, this is despite the fact that 66% feel that stretch marks have no cure whereas 84% feel that they would take a long time to fade.

The survey, also revealed
several other issues that are worrying new/expecting mothers in India, such as birth defects (50%), complications during pregnancy (40%), adjusting with breast feeding (54%), joining back work after maternity gap (43%). Surprisingly, 47% mothers are also worried about a non-caring husband during/post pregnancy.

Now, this is despite the fact that, as per the study, 96% of new and expecting fathers claim to have become more attentive to their wives’ needs during pregnancy with 88% of them agreeing to come home early from work during their wives’ pregnancy to spend more time with her. Seventy two percent are also willing to attend parental/ yoga classes with their wives during/post pregnancy.

Laws of attraction
The worries, however, don't seem baseless as 50% expecting fathers agree that they get attracted to other women during their wives’ pregnancy. But not all love seems lost, as 92% fathers want their wives to look the way they used to look before pregnancy. And 89%, in fact, agree to actively take steps to make their wives look attractive during/after pregnancy.

Why looks matter during/post pregnancy?
91% new and expecting fathers want their wives to stay attractive post pregnancy. And 89% agree to actively ensure and take steps to make their wives look attractive where attractiveness of new/expecting mothers is associated with beautiful skin (67%), maintaining body post pregnancy (60%), and effective work, social life and family time balance (52%) as the reasons to remain an attractive mother post pregnancy.

>> 30% also associate the ability to pull off any dress with attractiveness.

>> Nearly 30% of new and expecting mothers find wearing interesting maternity wear necessary to stay attractive. And, men agree too.

>> They also find taking care of skin (60%), sleeping for right amount of time (56%), having a diet plan (52%) and joining pre-natal classes as important steps to maintain attractiveness during/post pregnancy.

Mothers agreed that they feel low at times and left out as all attention is centred on the baby. Seventy seven percent of them state that how they look is one of the most ignored areas during/post pregnancy.

New/expecting fathers agree that they get attracted to other women during their spouses’ pregnancy

Reasons that make new/ expecting mothers feel low during/ post-delivery

Weight gain

Stretch marks

Hair fall


Dry Skin

New/expecting others worry about their physical appearance during/post pregnancy

Top 5 worries of new/ expecting mothers and fathers post-delivery

Adjusting with breastfeeding

Scars from C-section

Joining back work after maternity gap

Non-caring husband

Stretch marks

33% parents also worry
>> About Postpartum depression, and
>> Loss of support system post birth and for the baby

Top 5 anxieties new/expecting mothers face during pregnancy

Type of delivery normal or C-Section

Putting on too much weight

Birth defects

Complications during labour

Stretch Marks

New/expecting mothers feel anxious about the mental health of the baby

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