Pregnancy and Spinal Cord Injury, pt. II
For a woman living with SCI, pregnancy can be a uniquely scary time. But it can also be a time of wonder, joy, and excitement. For many people, knowing about, and being prepared for some of the difficulties that may lie ahead, can help them to cope with their anxieties, and get on with experiencing this miraculous time in any woman’s life.
Conception, pregnancy, and labour
In part I of this series, some of the challenges of conception were discussed. Labour, too, can present some unique challenges – such as an injury above T-10 resulting in no sensation of uterine contraction. But without a doubt – and this goes for all women – the hardest part of having a baby, is the long nine months of pregnancy.
You’re not alone
The most important thing to keep in mind during your pregnancy is that it is difficult for many women, SCI or no SCI. The aches and pains, the tiredness, the nausea – these are all normal. Of course there will be other concerns, but with proper preparation, support from your family and health care team, and as much of a positive attitude as you can muster when there’s a tiny person playing football with your bladder, you can get through it.
If you have experienced autonomic dysreflexia, you’ll know that it is never to be taken lightly. This is even truer in pregnancy, as it can be one of the warning signs of contractions. Pregnancy puts many women at risk of hypertension, so your doctor may well want to keep a close eye on this.
As the foetus grows, it can put added pressure on the diaphragm or bladder. If you experience any shortness of breath, you should always consult your doctor, but it may be as a result of the baby affecting your diaphragm. The pressure on your bladder can increase the risk of incontinence. It can also increase the risk of UTIs, although this is the case for all women in pregnancy.
Getting the right help
If you and your partner were planning to conceive before your injury, please don’t think it cannot happen now. And if your injury was as the result of an accident that was not your fault, get in touch with the specialist lawyers at Aspire Law, who can advise on whether or not you are entitled to compensation.