Press & Media Centre

Survey reveals pressures facing first-time mums

20 December 2012

The average worried first-time mum makes 16 trips to the doctors in their child’s first year, a study by leading health and wellbeing mutual organisation Benenden Healthcare Society, revealed yesterday.

Researchers found one in three mums admit they ‘panicked’ and took baby to the doctors surgery with a common cold, while many worried themselves into taking their tot to the doctors with what turned out to be a cough.

Incredibly, one in ten had even dashed to the doctor believing their baby was unconscious – only to be told he or she was sleeping. While the average new mum experienced 15 bouts of panic during the baby’s first year.

Results showed it takes a new mum six and half months on average to become accustomed to her child’s different cries and coughs without panicking every time.

Yesterday Jean Scott, Member Services Director for Benenden Healthcare said: “Being a new mother can be an overwhelming experience and it is natural to feel anxious about the health of your child. As a mother myself, I know how daunting this can be and how vital it is to get support during this initial period.

“Often getting professional advice when you feel your child may be unwell can be the only way to put your mind at ease, even if it ultimately turns out only to be a cold.”

Fifty per cent of mums feel there was a stage they reached where they were able to worry slightly less, but this wasn’t until the child reached 3 ½ years.

Two thirds of mums made regular checks all through the night to see if their baby was still breathing. And the constant worry over whether the baby is breathing ok doesn’t stop until the child reaches 13.5 months on average.

In fact, the average mum didn’t receive her first full night’s sleep free of worry or without the baby waking until 12 months after giving birth it emerged. One in five mums admitted to worrying too much, while a third considered their worrying to always be justified.

However 44 per cent had been made to feel like they were a hypochondriac or guilty of wasting the doctor or health professional’s time.

Those first months of the baby’s life passed by in a blur for seven out of ten who were regularly worrying.

While a third confessed there were times they felt they didn’t have what it takes to be a mum because of the amount they panicked.  And just as soon as they did get the hang of being a mum, seventy per cent said they felt like they had to go through a whole new set of challenges as their baby became a toddler.

Nearly two thirds say there has been a time when they’ve wanted to step in as a mum but had to hold themselves back a bit as they knew they were mothering or protecting their child too much.

But experience counts and 45 per cent of those who went on to have a second child said they worried less about getting everything right.

Jean Scott added: “What these results really show is that it is common for first-time mums to be concerned about their child’s health and that most new parents experience this heightened level of anxiety.

“Worry is an unavoidable aspect of motherhood, however it is important to find the right balance between an acceptable level of worry that ensures your baby stays healthy whilst being able to enjoy the experience of being a new mum – even if this is often easier said than done!”


1.     Rash

2.     High temperature

3.     Cough

4.     Knocked their head

5.     Not eating or drinking

6.     Sneezing

7.     Cold

8.     Irritable

9.     Crying lots

10.  Worried they’ve swallowed something


The survey of 2,000 British mums was carried out by online market researchers www.OnePoll.com on 30th November 2012. 

Stay up-to-date

If you would like to receive information about the benenden group, please submit your details. 

Sign up today

General media enquiries:

0800 414 8225 *

9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday

For benhealth magazine enquiries:

0800 414 8287*

9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday

Stakeholder public affairs enquiries:

0800 414 8288*

9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday

Contact us - We would love to hear from you

new members

Send us a message

benenden health
Holgate Park Drive
YO26 4GG
0800 414 8001 * (Lines open 8am-5pm, Mon-Fri)

existing members

Send us a message

benenden health
Holgate Park Drive
YO26 4GG
0800 414 8100 * (Lines open 8am - 8pm, Mon-Fri excluding Bank Holidays)

health cash plan and cash plans 66 plus

Send us a message

health cash plans and cash plans 66 plus
PO Box 742
0800 970 6517*

self-pay orthopaedic surgery

Send us a message

benenden hospital trust
Goddard's Green Road
TN17 4AX
01580 242 521 (Lines open 9am-5pm Mon-Fri)

health assessments

Send us a message

health assessments
Unit 1, Cameron Court
Cameron Street
Hillington Park
G52 4JH
0800 414 8486*

travel insurance

Send us a message - 65 and under

Send us a message - 66 plus

travel insurance
10th Floor Maitland House
Warrior Square
0800 414 8301*

benenden for business

Send us a message

benenden health
Holgate Park Drive
YO26 4GG
0800 414 8185 * (Lines open 8.30am-4.30pm Mon-Fri)

charitable trust

Send us a message

Find out more

charitable trust
Holgate Park Drive
YO26 4GG
0800 414 8450* (Lines open 8am - 4pm Tues-Fri)