Sushi & Breastfeeding Join Birth Defects & Preterm Birth As Leading Concerns of Moms

Todd Dezen, (914) 997-4608, tdezen@marchofdimes.com
Elizabeth Lynch, (914) 997-4286, elynch@marchofdimes.com

March of Dimes Polls Moms on Their Fears; Doctors Discuss Their Top Concerns

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Dec. 9, 2009 – Moms worry. Even before they become moms. From the minute they start thinking about whether they want to have a baby until long past the birth, moms worry.

Will my baby be healthy? Will I be a good mom? Can I dye my hair while pregnant? What can I eat?

The March of Dimes polled about 1,200 moms to find out exactly what it is that caused them to lose sleep (other than the fact they were pregnant!) while they were pregnant. The results were presented today at the March of Dimes National Communications Advisory Council luncheon where experienced, practicing obstetricians and gynecologists discussed the survey results, as well as some of the frequently asked questions their patients ask.

The March of Dimes poll found that the number one thing moms worried about was birth defects – 78 percent said they were worried their child would be born less than perfect. Stress was moms’ second fear, with 74 percent answering that they were concerned if stress in their life would harm their baby’s health. Preterm birth was a close third with 71 percent saying they were worried their baby would be born too soon.

“Women should discuss all their questions with their doctors and should be concerned about their overall health – quit smoking, control their blood pressure, weight and any chronic diseases, such as diabetes, – before they become pregnant so they will have a better chance at a healthy pregnancy,” said Dr. Diane Ashton, March of Dimes deputy medical director, who took part in the panel discussion.

Surprisingly, only 70 percent thought about the fear of pain of childbirth and 55 percent were worried that they wouldn’t get to the hospital on time!
Other things moms worried about were:
- 60 percent worried they wouldn’t be able to breastfeed successfully.
- 59 percent worried about losing weight after pregnancy.
- And, 59 percent worried about getting pregnant in the first place.
- Sushi and fish was the number one food concern, with 61 percent concerned.

The poll was conducted Nov. 6 to Nov. 13, 2009 using the online software Zoomerang. There were 123 valid responses from the 1,224 women from the March of Dimes Moms e-Panel and March for Babies Family Teams who were invited by email to answer the 65 questions. Some 90 percent of the women surveyed have a child who was born preterm. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents are employed, about 60 percent are between the ages of 25 and 34, 90 percent have children under the age of five and 95 percent had attended some college. The survey was written by Betty Wolder Levin, Ph.D., professor of Public Health, Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

The March of Dimes is the leading organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org.

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©2013 March of Dimes Foundation. The March of Dimes is a non-profit organization recognized as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).