When I found out I was pregnant, I was scared, ecstatic, and naive about what it entailed.
I had always heard that pregnancy was difficult, but I had no idea I would live high risk pregnancy it would almost take my life in more ways than one.
I was bedridden at just 9 weeks pregnant and was in and out of hospital for the rest of my pregnancy, until my daughter delivered at 32 weeks due to severe preeclampsia (a high blood pressure disorder) and complete placenta previa (when the placenta covers the cervix).
I never knew what “high risk pregnancy” meant; I never knew what an MFM doctor was, or that any child could end up in the NICU. The pregnancy itself was so new and scary, not to mention trying to figure out a high risk pregnancy.
Each article online had its own definitions, its own examples, and countless answers about what you should and shouldn’t do.
What is a high risk pregnancy?
A high-risk pregnancy is a pregnancy with life-threatening complications that puts the mother or baby at increased risk, no matter how small that risk. Complications can be brought on by the pregnancy itself or stem from pre-existing conditions.
High Risk Pregnancy Signs
There are many indicators of a high risk pregnancy. If you notice any of these three signs, or any additional signs that you think are unusual or worrying, please contact your doctor or specialist for an evaluation.
1. Severe headaches and blurred vision
This can be an important indicator of preeclampsia. Although a headache can be normal during pregnancy, a headache that is severe or does not improve with rest and water warrants an examination by your doctor.
2. Bleeding or spotting
Bleeding and spotting can also be signs that something is wrong with pregnancy, whether you are 4 weeks pregnant or 40 years old. It can be as simple as implantation bleeding, as serious as placenta previa, or involve some other form of defect in the placenta.
Subchorionic hemorrhage is another common condition that usually resolves on its own, but usually begins with vaginal bleeding during pregnancy.
3. Decreased Fetal Movements
Anything that feels below your “norm” of movement, or less than 5 kicks in an hour after about 20 weeks, is reason to contact your doctor. Even if everything is fine, any good nurse or doctor will tell you that the visit is worth it.
Tips for managing emotions
One thing I wish I had known during my first pregnancy was ways to cope and deal with all the new feelings and uncertainty I experienced. Below is a list of four tips for dealing with the turbulent emotions that come with high-risk pregnancies:
1. Defend yourself
Having a high-risk pregnancy, which sometimes even professionals don’t fully understand, is no excuse for substandard care. Don’t let anyone hurt you for not understanding, or even not wanting to fully accept, how difficult it is to be a high-risk mother.
2. Get help
All the support you can find, take it. Even if it’s just those who log in once in a while, or an online community of moms in a similar situation. Baby center online forums and Facebook groups have made all the difference.
3. Have fun
Find your fun, silly, or interesting side and embrace it. Ever wondered about a certain era in history, or how to make the perfect pineapple upside-down cake? Now is your time! YouTube, Google and Netflix can quickly become great friends.
4. Positive thinking
Take 5 minutes a day, either in bed when you wake up or in the bathroom mirror when you’re getting ready, and tell yourself this:
You are enough! No matter what you did or didn’t do, or think you didn’t do, you are not responsible for the difficulties you face during a high-risk pregnancy.
Don’t compare your trip to your friends, neighbors or anyone else in the world.
Everyone deserves to feel joy in their pregnancy journey, no matter what that journey entails. There is beauty in every journey, those who have difficulties, those who don’t and those who have everything else.
It’s normal not to feel this “joy” all the time.
You are strong! Being a mom is by far the hardest job, but probably the most wonderful thing you can do. You learn, fail, and constantly improve. You are strong for everything you do for your children and yourself, and you should never doubt that.
My only wish is for more people to talk about all types of pregnancies and birth stories, so we can all feel included and understood on this crazy journey of life.
This article was submitted to Love What Matters by Jessica Trantow. You can follow her on Instagram. Join the Love What Matters family and subscribe to our newsletter.
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