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Dealing with a High Risk Pregnancy

The joy of pregnancy would seem to extend beyond all space and time.  This is because you enjoy your child from the day you find out you’re pregnant and for the rest of your life, even when you are not in physical space with your child.  This is all anticipated and essentially what makes pregnancy so wonderful, however, when your doctor labels you as having a high risk pregnancy you suddenly become bounded by those things like space and time.

Having a high risk pregnancy means that you are at a higher risk of having a poor maternal and birth outcome.  Whether you have high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, a chronic health problem, having twins, or preeclampsia, your healthcare team will most likely want to see you follow strict guidelines like set diets and rest more than usual including some bed rest time.  All of these things can make a woman feel robbed of her experiences.  So, knowing how to deal with the emotional side of being high risk in pregnancy is important because you do not want to spend your entire pregnancy in doubt about your body’s capabilities and question fate and if it was a good idea or not to get pregnancy in the first place.
To help you think about what it means to be high risk and ways to successfully get through it, I would like to provide you with a list of suggestions that have worked for women who are also coping with a high risk pregnancy. 

• Bed rest is usually assigned when you have a high risk pregnancy.  Reasons for going on bed rest include prevention of miscarriages, high blood pressure control, and many others.  Being on bed rest can be difficult because you are usually alone, confined to your bed for 24 hours a day at 7 days a week up until you give birth.  Which can seem like a nightmare if you have several months until you give birth.

You can cope with bed rest by picking up a hobby that doesn’t involve much movement like knitting, crocheting, writing, scrapbooking, drawing, reading, etc.  All of the materials to do these things can be within reach at your bedside and you can have a lot of fun picking and choosing what to do.  Also, if you have a laptop computer with internet access, you could spend the whole day chatting with other women in your same condition or being active on the message boards with other pregnant women.

• Gestational diabetes can be difficult especially if you have never had to learn about it in the past.  It can be relatively easy to handle if you just have to make some dietary changes, but if you have to carry around a glucometer to measure your blood sugar levels before and after meals it can be frustrating.  It can also be extremely difficult if you have to take insulin by injecting your skin all on your own. The best way to handle having gestational diabetes is to talk with family and friends about how you feel and ask them to support you.  Also, you should think of your brand new diet as a way you should always try to eat because the diabetes diet offers a way to continue eating healthy even after the baby comes.  The diet is composed of vegetables, plenty of whole grains, some dairy, meat, and occasional fruits.

• Preeclampsia is condition in pregnancy that is very high risk because it likely will cause you to have to be delivered prematurely.  In fact, some women have to have a c-section as early as 28 weeks just because the symptoms are worsening like high blood pressure, proteinuria, and edema or the swelling.  Getting a diagnosis of eclampsia in pregnancy can seem like an end to everything wonderful about being pregnant, but the good news is doctors are familiar with all the signs of this condition so early detection will lead to better care.  So if the medical side is taken care of, the rest is up to you.

To continue to have a happy pregnancy with preeclampsia, the best thing to do is become educated on what happens when you deliver a baby so early, the support you will need, and how you will have to learn to parent the preemie baby, a baby that is not typical in size or behavior like a full-term baby.

So there you have it.  While having encountering high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia in pregnancy can make you feel unprepared and feel doubtful about your own body’s capabilities, it is very important to remember to avoid putting yourself down and try to stay positive about what you are experiencing.  The key is to talk to your close ones and get educated on the condition you have so you feel like you have some control over it.  After all, stressing about having a high risk pregnancy often can make things worse. 
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