Are you dealing with a high-risk pregnancy? Pregnancy can be both exciting and nerve-racking. It’s normal to worry about the health of your baby no matter what, but when you learn your pregnancy is high-risk, anxiety and stress can outweigh the positive anticipation. A dark cloud settles over you. Having personal experience with this, I had to find ways to stay positive during this time. It was not always easy, but I hope this advice helps other expectant mothers remain optimistic if given the dreaded high-risk pregnancy news.
My Brief High-Risk Pregnancy Story
My first pregnancy with my son was pretty uneventful. I received the RhoGAM shot to protect against antibodies that could attack a potentially Rh-positive baby. My blood type is A negative and my husband’s is O positive. I didn’t have any issues with antibodies in that pregnancy.
However, 28 weeks into my second pregnancy with my daughter, I again received the scheduled RhoGAM shot and they did lab work. Later that day, a nurse called and told me that the shot was too late; I already had antibodies due to blood incompatibility. Just like that, I had a high-risk pregnancy. The next 10 weeks were stressful and filled with high-risk specialist appointments and close monitoring. I am happy to report, though, that I had a healthy baby girl at 38 weeks and five days. Other than being treated for jaundice, she was perfect in every way.
Tip #1: Avoid Google
I get it. If you’re like me, you want to know everything about your situation: the causes, the risks, and the steps to make sure you and your baby will be ok. So you turn to the internet for answers and start researching all you can. Because the nurse couldn’t explain my risks right away, I started Googling. Of course, I read all of the worst-case scenarios, including articles saying my baby could die. The more I read, the more I cried. I was home alone with my toddler and hadn’t even talked to a doctor about it yet, but I was convinced I would have a premature baby with many health issues, or possibly miscarry. It was absolutely frightening.
Luckily, my husband talked some sense into me and convinced me to stay away from Google while I waited to talk to the specialists. When I met with the doctors, they reassured me that they would monitor me very closely and that the horrible outcomes I had read about were very rare. I felt much better. It was still stressful, but we had a plan to follow and the advice of actual doctors. As one doctor said, “No one likes to post the uneventful and positive stories online, just the scary stories.” If you must Google it, do so only to form better questions to ask the professionals.
Tip #2: Lean on Family and Friends
If you’re dealing with the stress of a high-risk pregnancy, I hope you have family and friends to help support you, listen to you vent, and give you a shoulder to lean on. If you feel comfortable sharing what’s going on with others, do so. However, it’s also perfectly fine NOT to share with everyone if you don’t want to. It can be overwhelming to keep everyone in the loop. I chose to only tell my immediate family and some close friends what was going on. Find what works best for you and don’t feel guilty. It may be best to set up a blog or Facebook page to post updates to save you the time and stress of letting everyone know individually. If the situation warrants it, let them help you using sites like GoFundMe or Meal Train.
Tip #3: Keep the Faith despite the Risks and Try Not to Worry
I know it can be difficult, but do your best to believe that everything will work out. If you’re the praying type, pray for strength, patience, courage, wisdom to make the right medical choices, a healthy baby, etc. I often prayed for one more good week or appointment, and then prayed prayers of gratitude when I had good news. If you aren’t the praying type, at least stop dwelling on the worst-case scenarios. Continue to talk to friends, family, and your health-care providers anytime you are struggling.
It’s natural to worry, but it won’t improve your situation. My grandma used to say, “If you find out that worrying will help, let me know and I will come over and worry with you.”
Tip #4: Use Your Imagination
Our mind is a powerful thing. When we focus on the negatives, our bodies will be stressed, and stress is not beneficial during pregnancy. Try your best to imagine a positive outcome. Envision your baby being born strong and healthy. Picture them inside as a feisty fighter. My baby was a strong kicker, which often kept me up at night, but it reassured me that she was still doing well.
Tip #5: Celebrate Milestones During Your High-Risk Pregnancy
Pregnancy already comes with built-in milestones, such as counting the weeks up to full-term, taking growing belly pics, and reading the new things your baby can do. When you’re stressed during a risky pregnancy, be sure to take the time to acknowledge and celebrate every small victory. This could be as simple as getting a special breakfast after an early-morning ultrasound that went well or telling your inner circle the good news every time the baby still looks healthy.
Tip #6: Remember How Strong You Are
I realize not all high-risk pregnancies go well and not all babies are born healthy. You have every reason to feel overwhelmed. But you are strong, mama, and you can get through anything that comes your way. You might have moments where you break down and feel helpless, but please know that you can get through this no matter what. Keep your head up and do your best to take it one day at a time.
Have you had to deal with a high-risk pregnancy? What helped you the most? Please share in the comments below.
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