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Navigating a High Risk Pregnancy: My Personal Experience

Posted Feb 17 2012 5:49pm

With my first pregnancy, I was always worried about something happening to my baby. It took us three years to conceive and after a miscarriage, I was extremely cautious of everything I did. My pregnancy was going smoothly until I hit 29 weeks. At 29 weeks I went into unexpected pre-term labor. I didn’t know it was labor, as I was only experience dull cramps and discomfort – I just thought it was another blessing we receive during pregnancy. I was placed on strict bed rest for nine weeks and delivered my daughter one month early. She weighed in at 5lbs 1oz and was 4lbs 15oz when we brought her home. Not only was she early, but she was tiny and the size of a 33 weeker instead of a 36 weeker.

Today, I am 27 weeks pregnant with baby number two. I was immediately placed on 17p shots, which is a progesterone shot to help with irritable uterus and to strengthen the cervix. I receive these shots weekly, directly in the bum. The only side effects I have received are itchiness and soreness, other than that the shots have been working great. I do experience contractions a lot one to two days before the shot but once I receive the shot, I am good to go until the next one is ready. We are hoping to keep baby number two in utero until 38 weeks. I have been on pelvic rest for four weeks, but bed rest hasn’t been applied to my daily life yet!

Every year, 1 million U.S. women with high-risk pregnancies are placed
on bed rest to protect their developing babies. Despite that, every
year, about 500,000 newborns – one of every eight – arrive too
early, according to the Centers for Disease Control

Here are some tips from Kelly Whitehead regarding bed rest and pregnancy:

• TRY TO ENJOY BEING PREGNANT. Don’t miss out on this experience
because you’re high-risk. Do the normal prego things, even if you
have to modify them: Shop online, get a belly cast, shoot
expanding-belly photos, and savor those kicks and body changes.
Don’t forget or stop dreaming about the actual birth and your
desires for what it will be like. I regretted missing out on so much
while carrying my daughter. Rather than enjoying the pregnancy, I kept
focused on the end and my hope she would survive.

• DON’T LET YOUR EMOTIONS BECOME YOUR ENEMY. Say goodbye to guilt
– this is not your fault! It’s okay to be bitter, angry and upset
at the world, and to hate “normal” pregnant women, but it isn’t
going to change anything. So go get mad, yell, and cry, and then move
on.

• PELVIC REST SOUNDS EASY, BUT IT ISN’T. It’s not fun being
forced to become a nun, so don’t. There are still ways to enjoy
intimacy; you just need to get creative. Think high school –
remember how much fun necking was? Try body oil, a massage…whipped
cream? Sexy lingerie is still hot, even if you’re pregnant. Flaunt
your new assets – they surely went up a cup size or two.

• EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT YOUR SITUATION. Don’t go reading about
every other possible scenario out there; you don’t need to worry
about problems that aren’t a likely issue for you.

• ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE. It may sometimes feel as though people
have forgotten about you, but the reality is they’re busy and they
have no idea what’s it’s like for you. If you want company, reach
out and invite someone over.

Research scientist Kelly Whitehead wrote a book called: “Why Me? Understanding and Managing a Potential Preterm Pregnancy,” which is backed by fetal and maternal medicine specialist Dr. Vincenzo Berghella, a top pre-term birth researcher. Whitehead’s first child died following his premature birth. During her next pregnancy, she spent 4½ months in bed worrying over and trying to protect her daughter.

As a mom, you will do anything and everything to protect your children and I am blessed to be able to go through a second pregnancy.

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