Parijat serves as an advisor to the Graham’s Foundation Parent Mentor Program. You can read more about Parijat at the end of this post.
I knew I would have a high-risk pregnancy when my first two pregnancy complications began in the first 2 months of my pregnancy. However, that still did not prepare me for what to expect when I was on bedrest for weeks on end, not knowing what was going to happen.
While a high-risk pregnancy is terrifying and stressful for all moms, there are several things that you can do to help yourself stay calm and confident as you go through the ups and downs.
Be your own advocate
Even if you love your doctors and you feel comfortable with the care they provide, you know your body best. If something doesn’t feel right speak up. If you’re not convinced about their recommended treatment plan, ask questions. Your doctor can only help as much as you share what’s going on for you.
Self-care is not selfish and does not make you weak.
A high-risk pregnancy is a marathon. Keeping your stress low, staying calm and feeling at peace are important for you is not only good for you but it’s also good for your baby. Reach out for support and ask for help when you feel overwhelmed or alone.
Your relationships will change.
Every single relationship in your life will adjust in response to your high-risk pregnancy. Some relationships will become stronger and others will become more distant. Some changes will be temporary and others will be permanent. You will find comfort in people whom you least expected and you will be disappointed in people who you thought would be more supportive.
Being angry or resentful at the loved ones who have hurt you will only add to your stress. Accept that a high-risk pregnancy changes every relationship and spend your energy nourishing the relationships that are lifting you up during this difficult time.
How you think will greatly affect how you cope.
Check the thoughts that are running through your head. Turn negative, self-blaming, hopeless thoughts into more positive, empowering ones. This will help boost up your mood and give you the energy to fight on another day.
Use the internet wisely.
Filter your google searches so you only read about things online that apply to your specific situation. Put on a timer and only search online in the time you’ve allotted so you don’t get sucked in for hours at a time. Talk to your doctor about what you find so you can get your questions answered and address any concerns about your treatment plan.
You will know when something is going wrong.
Whether you call it mother’s instinct, intuition or a gut reaction, your body is always communicating with you. Take some time to listen to what your body is saying so you can know if you’re just being paranoid or if something is really wrong.
Just because the pregnancy is high-risk, doesn’t mean it’s “over”.
A high-risk pregnancy is a type of trauma. The fear and anxiety that you face every second of every day buries deep into your bones. Everyone around you may think you should be “over it” after the baby is born. You may even believe that after the pregnancy is over, you should be “fine”.
It’s ok if you aren’t fine.
Be patient with yourself as you heal from the emotional wounds you endured during your high-risk pregnancy. Allow yourself to feel the grief and trust that bad things aren’t just around the corner. Give yourself time to work through all of the other emotions that you didn’t let yourself feel while you were fighting for your baby. You deserve it.
Stress affects your whole body and your baby too.
Stress affects how well you sleep, your appetite, the way you make decisions, how happy you feel and how bonded you are to your baby. Stress management must be included in your treatment plan during a high-risk pregnancy if you want to do everything in your power to protect your baby!
Parijat Deshpande, MS, CWC, CSMC is a former high-risk patient and is a micropreemie mom. As a perinatal wellness counselor, she works with moms who feel helpless during their high-risk pregnancy and are terrified of what will happen. She provides compassion and support as well as professional guidance to help moms work through their fear and guilt so they can feel confident they are doing everything in their power to protect their baby. To download her FREE Perinatal Wellness Toolbox, visit www.parijatdeshpande.com