"I know it's tough to be going through a high-risk pregnancy and living in fear every day," Kelly Whitehead, author of High-Risk Pregnancy: Why Me? Understanding and Managing a Potential Preterm Pregnancy, said. "Though this will be the toughest time of your life, many of us have been through it and now have our children. You can, too."
Whitehead wrote her book backed by fetal and maternal medicine specialist Dr. Vincenzo Berghella, a top pre-term birth researcher. Sadly, Whitehead's first child died following a premature birth. During her second pregnancy, she spent 4.5 months in bed, worrying about and trying to protect her daughter.
High-Risk Pregnancy: Why Me? Understanding and Managing a Potential Preterm Pregnancy is both a medical reference and provides emotional support for mothers-to-be. Whitehead offers answers to the medical questions families have in simple, easy-to-understand terms. She also shares coping strategies she discovered, along with what she's learned through benefit of hindsight, and insights from other mothers.
Whitehead shares the following tips for moms who are experiencing high risk pregnancies.
- Try to enjoy being pregnant. Don't miss out on this experience because you're high-risk. Do the normal pregnant things, even if you have to modify them: Shop online, get a belly cast, take those growing bump photos and savor the kicks and body changes. Don't forget or stop dreaming about the actual birth and your desires for what it will be like.
- Don't let your emotions become your enemy. Say goodbye to guilt -- this is not your fault! It's okay to be bitter, angry and upset at the world, and to hate "normal" pregnant women, but it isn't going to change anything. So go get mad, yell, and cry, and then move on.
- Pelvic rest sounds easy, but it isn't. It's not fun being forced to become a nun, so don't. There are still ways to enjoy intimacy -- you just need to get creative. Think high school: remember how much fun necking was? Try body oil or a massage. Sexy lingerie is still hot, even if you're pregnant. Flaunt your new assets, because they surely went up a cup size or two.
- Educate yourself about your situation. Don't go reading about every other possible scenario out there -- you don't need to worry about problems that aren't a likely issue for you.
- Ask and you shall receive. It may sometimes feel as though people have forgotten about you, but the reality is they're busy and they have no idea what's it's like for you. If you want company, reach out and invite someone over.
"Keep your chin up and keep hoping," Whitehead says. "Healthy babies are born every day to families who've walked the same path."
About Kelly Whitehead
Kelly Whitehead is a scientist-mom, who lost a preemie son and went on to have two high-risk pregnancies. She wrote High-Risk Pregnancy: Why Me? Understanding and Managing a Potential Preterm Pregnancy as an educational tool and emotional guide for those experiencing a difficult pregnancy and the providers who work with them. She is also a trained doula, birth advocate and spokesperson for Sidelines National High Risk Pregnancy Support Network. For more information, check out Kelly's website.