Sunday, March 19, 2006

10 Tips for Easing Anxiety with a Pregnancy After A Loss

This was one of the handouts from the miscarriage support group last Thursday. I have included what I did with my last successful pregnancy after 5 miscarriages in italics below.

Carol Cirulli Lanham, author of the new book Pregnancy after a Loss: A Guide to Pregnancy after a Miscarriage, Stillbirth or Infant Death, offers these 10 tips for easing anxiety in a subsequent pregnancy.

1. Attend a Support Group - More and more organizations across the nation are starting support groups for women who are expecting again after a loss. Click here to find a support group near you.

The group I attended was called Parents Experiencing Perinatal Death, and I went monthly to the Preggy group. I really think it helped me hold it together.

2. Find Success Stories - Other women who have made it through a subsequent pregnancy can be a great source of encouragement to you. They are living proof that it is possible to give birth to a healthy baby after the devastation of a loss. Ask your support group leader or health care provider for a referral.

I read every book I could get my hands on, building up quite a library of books on miscarriage and subsequent pregnancy. My hero was a woman who experienced 13 losses, included a newborn death, who went on to have a beautiful baby boy.

3. Request Frequent Prenatal Visits - There is nothing more reassuring than hearing the fetal heartbeat or seeing the baby's image during an ultrasound. Even if you are not considered medically high-risk, ask your health care provider for more frequent prenatal appointments for peace of mind.

I saw both my family doctor and my midwife, so double the appointments, double the assurance.

4. Be Proactive - The more knowledgeable you are about the medical aspects of your pregnancy, the better able you will be to discuss treatment options and outcomes with your health care provider. Stay on top of the latest research, and don't hesitate to ask questions or seek a second opinion.

All my reading did help me to know what questions to ask, what things to be truly concnerned about, and the things that were just the result of my anxiety.

5. Worry Only about Actual Problems - All of us tend to dwell on the "what ifs." While you may not be able to eliminate worries altogether, you will be much happier if you resolve only to worry about actual problems, not what may potentially happen in the future.

I did my best to live one day at a time, not thinking about the end, but just making it through the next day.

6. Involve Your Partner - Need someone to lean on during prenatal visits? Having trouble making medical decisions on your own? Get your partner involved in your pregnancy. Research has shown that pregnant women with supportive partners have fewer problems overall.

Unfortunately my ex decided to leave us when I was 3 months along and on bedrest.

7. Treasure Every Moment - Whenever you feel anxious about the future, take time to stop and remember that at this moment, the baby is alive and well. Appreciating your blessings instead of always dwelling on your fears will do wonders for your peace of mind

I kept a journal, including my BBT charts, my postive test, my doctors' visits, pictures and ads of things I bought, the subway transfer & newspaper from the day he was born. I thought I was having a girl, and looked forward to sharing it with "her" when she was 18 years old. Well, he is 18 years old this week, and I really don't think he is interested. Perhaps I will give it to his future wife, when she gets pregnant.

8. Monitor the Baby's Movements - If you are far enough along to feel kicks and jabs, set time aside each morning and night to monitor the baby's activities. This will have a double benefit. Not only will you be reassured that the baby is well, you also will be alerted to any unusual slowdowns that could signal potential problems.

He was such a quiet baby, but every morning, when I would wake up, he would give me a little kick, and I knew I could make it through another day.

9. Try Not to Compare - Doctors agree that no two pregnancies are exactly alike. So as difficult as it may be, try not to dwell on any similarities between this pregnancy and the one that ended in a loss. Some complications do tend to recur, but since your health care provider now knows about these potential problems, treatment can be more effective.

It is so hard not to compare, but I kept my date goals in mind. Passing each one gave me greatr comfort.

10. Stay Focused on Your Goal - You may feel like you've been pregnant forever, but it helps to remember that before long the pregnancy will be a distant memory. If you didn't believe a good outcome was possible, you would not have made the decision to try again. Be grateful for the life growing inside of you and the hope that you will soon be giving birth to a healthy baby.

I bought a tiny fleece hooded sleeper, that I used to cradle in my arms, imagining holding my baby, and working very hard at beleiving that this pregnancy would end with a baby to hold.


No comments: