Advice for mothers-to-be: coping with a high-risk pregnancy

Being pregnant should be one of the happiest times of your life. You are expecting a new baby, whether the first or the fifth, it is still an exciting time and as the weeks and months go by you can feel that tiny life moving inside you. Unfortunately, there are just some pregnancies that carry greater risks to the mother and/or the child growing within her. This can be a stressful time, one that is hard to cope with due to worry over the health and safety of both mother and baby. If you are categorized as being in a high-risk pregnancy, there are some things you can do to help you cope.

Number 1 priority – Do what the Doctor tells you!

Well-meaning people will try to give you advice on what you should and shouldn’t be doing during a high-risk pregnancy. Ultimately, it is your obstetrician who will tell you what you can and can’t do – what is safe and what is not. Always defer to what your doctor tells you is safe so that you can be assured that you are acting in the best interest of yourself and your unborn child.

Keep lines of communication open

Whether you are bedridden at home or able to get out and about, it is advisable to have a phone handy ‘just in case.’ In today’s day and age, everyone and their brother has a cell phone but if you don’t, it’s time to think about getting one. No matter where you are within the gestation period, the reality is that with a high-risk pregnancy, the baby could come at any time.

If you are unable to afford a cell phone, the federal government has a Lifeline program that provides free cell phones, free airtime (up to 250 minutes) and texting as well. You can check it out on this website to see if it is available in your area. Never leave home without a way to contact help if the need should arise.

Ways to avoid the boredom of being bedridden

If there comes a time when you are required to stay in bed other than trips to the bathroom or to fix a quick bite to eat, you may be bored silly. You can only take so much television and there aren’t enough books to keep you interested for days or weeks on end. Why not make a list of things to do, things you need for the baby, or lists of things you need help with so that your ‘helper’ can get done what you can’t?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

That brings us to one of the most important ways to cope during a high-risk pregnancy. Ask for help if you need it. Your husband/partner is probably just as anxious as you are and would like to take some of the load off your shoulders. If you are a single mother-to-be without the support of your partner, then ask a family member to help you if you are unable to do for yourself.

In the absence of a family member or close friend, you could ask your doctor or social services agency to provide names of in-home healthcare that your insurance just might cover. If you have that coverage and if your doctor deems it ‘medically necessary,’ chances are you can get an aid in for a few hours a week to help you with some of the tasks you are not allowed to do for yourself.

One last bit of advice is to try to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Stress can significantly impact a high-risk pregnancy (and not for the better!) so try to stay as calm as possible, try not to worry and just pay attention to what your doctor tells you. It is easier said than done, but with a good support system and a plan to follow, you will be able to cope much better. Enjoy while you can because the days of 2am feedings are just around the corner.

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