Dealing with the Harsh Truths of Pregnancy Without Sounding Pessimistic

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Finding out that you’re pregnant is one of the best news you’ll ever receive in your life, especially if you’ve been dreaming of becoming a mother. But once your new reality sets in, you’ll start to notice the changes in your body that occur fast, and they don’t always feel good.

Aside from the swollen feet, random cravings, and constipation, you can also experience other discomforts, including those caused by complications. Though most pregnancies progress normally, sometimes rare conditions that interfere with the fetus’s development occur. And by being aware of those, you can have a completely healthy journey, and help other expecting moms have the same.

That said, if you’ve already been through a rough pregnancy at least once, here’s how to prepare other moms-to-be for it, (without sounding negative):

1. Promote Antenatal Care

Antenatal care is basically the medical appointments pregnant women regularly go to. But according to the WHO, only less than half of women in low-resource settings receive it during the first trimester of their pregnancy.

Antenatal appointments help a mother and her baby stay healthy throughout the pregnancy. It is of vital importance even for pregnant women that feel perfectly fine. Besides find potential complications, antenatal care will also let expectant mothers know what’s happening in their bodies during each trimester.

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2. Spread Knowledge About Rare Pregnancy Complications

Here are some rare complications in pregnancy, all of which can be detected and treated through antenatal care:

  • Fetal Hydrothorax

Fluid formed within a fetus’s chest is called fetal hydrothorax. It could gather in the space between their lungs and chest wall, or within the core of their lungs or chest masses. When this occurs, their lungs may not receive enough oxygen or cause their heart to move.

  • Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS)

TTTS occurs in pregnancies where the unborn twins share a single placenta and blood vessels that supply the oxygen and nutrients (a.k.a. monochorionic pregnancy). In TTTS, one twin may give away more blood than they receive, because the blood vessels in the placenta are not evenly dispersed. As a result, they may risk organ failure and malnutrition, while their twin’s heart may overwork and lead to cardiac complications.

  • Twins Anemia Polycythemia Sequence (TAPS)

TAPS is a form of TTTS. But it can occur unexpectedly or after an unfinished TTTS treatment. It is caused by additional artery-to-vein-vessel connections, the effect of which on the unborn twins the same as that from TTTS.

  • Lower Urinary Tract Obstruction (LUTO)

LUTO occurs when a blockage forms in a developing fetus’s urinary tract. It causes swelling on all the parts of the urinary tract above the obstruction. Permanent kidney damage may follow over time. In turn, their urine can no longer be drained, causing their amniotic fluid to decrease, and their lungs to get damaged.

  • Gestational Hypertension

This is a rare complication that occurs in mothers. Because of the changes their body is undergoing, their blood pressure may be affected, resulting in hypertension, or gestational hypertension, as it is officially called in pregnant women.

If untreated, gestational hypertension may develop into preeclampsia, which is a serious condition characterized by high blood pressure and proteins in the urine. This can put the mother and her unborn baby at risk for further complications.

3. Participate in Medical Research

To take your efforts to the next level, you can participate in medical research, or encourage another pregnant woman to do it. Medical research, a.k.a. health research or clinical research, is how doctors discover how a certain drug works, or how a certain disease can be prevented. They use volunteers or patient recruits for rare conditions to understand various health conditions, including rare diseases and pregnancy complications.

By being a strong advocate of reproductive health, you can educate thousands to millions of women about the dark side of pregnancy, but without being discouraging. It’s important for every woman to know that pregnancy can also be uncomfortable, painful, and everything but beautiful.

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