Will My Pregnancy Be Like My Mom's?

Updated: September 18, 2019
Anxious about what your pregnancy will be like? You can look to your mother for advice. It turns out your mother's pregnancy could have an impact on your own.
pregnant woman with mother and grandmother

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that pregnancy is pretty unpredictable. However, it doesn’t have to be nine months filled with unanswered questions and wondering what fate has in store for you. It can feel like grasping at straws when figuring out where to start when you first learn you are pregnant. 

There are steps you can take to learn your options and prepare for your birth experience like hiring a doula, joining The Birth Lounge, and digging into your own family history. Start by asking your mother what her birth experience(s) was like. Your mom’s pregnancy may be able to give you a place to start as far as setting healthy expectations. Though, beware, just because your mom experienced it doesn’t mean you’re at a higher risk for it or that you will experience it. 

More: 5 Ways to be a More Mindful Mama

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1. Morning Sickness 

This is hormonally related and caused by your blood sugars spiking and dropping (trying to adjust to having a baby on board) during that first trimester. The good news? It generally resolves itself between 12 and 14 weeks of pregnancy! 

When you wake in the morning, your blood sugar is low because it has just worked through all the calories as you were sleeping. The way your body reacts to the fluctuating hormones is believed to be somewhat based on genetics. Here are a few natural remedies for morning sickness in pregnancy. 

2. Stretch Marks 

Hydration is a key factor, but “birth stripes” are sometimes inevitable due to genetics. That’s right, take a look at your moms stretchmarks and they may give you an insight into what you might be expecting as your body changes. The elasticity of your skin is very much based on your genetic makeup.

3. Postpartum Mental Health Recovery 

If you have one question for your mom about her pregnancy, ask her about postpartum. The experience your mom had will be very telling of what you might experience as studies show between 12-15% of women will experience postpartum depression or anxiety following at least one of their children’s births. It’s important to consider what was happening in your mom’s life at the time as well as what the birth world environment was like back then. 

4. Premature Labor 

It is thought that 30-40% of the risk for preterm labor may be influenced by genetic makeup. There have been at least six genes that highly influence someone’s risk. March of Dimes shares that the stronger your family history of preterm labor is, the higher your risk. In recent years, with the help of genetic reporting like 23andMe, we’ve been able to further identify exactly which gene may be responsible for causing the onset of premature labor. 

5. Big Babies 

According to Evidence Based Births, ultrasounds are correct half the time and wrong half the time. It’s important to note that the calculations for how big your baby is can be up to 15% (roughly two pounds) off, meaning if your baby is measuring eight pounds, they might be just over six pounds or they might be nearing 10 pounds. In the US, it’s estimated that 1 in 10 babies are born large enough to qualify as a “big baby”. 

But how accurate is this? 

Before you let your mother’s birth story derail you and send you spiraling down the rabbit hole of big babies and 60 hour labors, take a moment to really reflect on the facts here. Do you have the same pelvis as your mom? What were the recommendations when your mother had you and/or your siblings? Are you the same build as your mom? Did your mom follow mainstream birth procedures, but you’ve decided that’s not the kind of birth you want? 

You will also want to explore a few other things with your mother. You can ask her about the position you (and your siblings) were in when they were born, plus how long she pushed. You can inquire about what was most helpful when she brought you home. You might be curious as to how much weight she gained during pregnancy and if she intended to have the number of children she did. 

The Final Word

Your mom’s pregnancy can give you really good insight, but it is not a very accurate way to assess how you think your pregnancy might go. It is always helpful to hear what worked for the women in your life that are closest to you, but remember, our technology has advanced ages and the way we bring babies earth-side is changing by the day. Women are taking control of their birth journeys and rewriting the trauma that many of our moms experienced years ago. 

Your birth is your own and you get to make it whatever you want it to be. You can remain in total control of your birth experience. Your mindset, diet and exercise, and the way in which you choose to prepare will be the biggest influences on your labor and delivery.

Curious how your genes will play into your pregnancy? Here is the Ultimate Guide to Taking an At-Home Genetics Test During Pregnancy.