Pregnancy In Women With Spinal Cord Injuries: What To Know

Published: September 12, 2020  |  Source: babygaga.com
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It is important to find a physician who understands your unique situation. Many women with SCI report this being the hardest part.

Planning to have children is an important decision that most women will make at some point in their lives. The decision is not always easy and it becomes increasingly difficult for a woman living with a disability. Fortunately, with increased awareness and support, all women can have the family they desire. Women living with spinal cord injuries (SCI) may have some unique challenges, but that does not mean that they cannot become pregnant and deliver naturally.

Having a spinal cord injury does not mean that you have to set aside your dreams of becoming a mom. Of course, you have maternal desires and experiences just as able-bodied women. There is no evidence that the ability to conceive is affected following a spinal cord injury. The main reason why some women with injury face fertility issues is because they are often older when they finally decide to conceive. The fertility issues are therefore usually age-related and not necessarily due to the injury.

The Decision To Get Pregnant

Every woman who decides to get pregnant must consider the demands and challenges that come with this decision. Parenting is not easy for any woman, but that does not mean that it’s not worth it. There are women with different types of spinal injuries in the world who are experiencing the joys of motherhood. When you decide to get pregnant, you will find that the positives of motherhood and parenting far outweigh the difficulties. You can find online resources that will help you when making the decision to get pregnant.

Getting Pre-Conception Care

Women with SCI are advised to visit a clinic when they decide to get pregnant. Experts recommend that women consider having planned pregnancies after completing emotional and physical rehabilitation. This is a great opportunity for the woman to receive counseling about the practical and psychological aspects of being a parent with a disability.

You might think you’re prepared for the journey ahead but it helps to get all the information available before making this decision. A care plan tailored to suit each individual woman is discussed and it includes a full evaluation and a review of any medication that the woman may be taking.

Level Of The Disability

It is very important to remember that not all spinal cord injuries are similar. The level of severity of the injury will affect pregnancy in different ways. During the pre-conception care visits, the woman will go through a prepregnancy evaluation and receive information based on the level of disability as well as the available support.

It is important to remember that the pregnancy will hamper mobility even further and the woman will need to continue receiving physiotherapy throughout the pregnancy period. The level of disability will also affect issues such as the mode and place of delivery.
Finding The Right Physician

It is important to find a physician who understands your unique situation. Many women with spinal cord injuries have reported this as being one of the biggest challenges they face. You need someone with experience who is willing to deal with your unique challenges, who understands the effects of pregnancy on your disability.

It is important to ensure open and honest communication between you and your physician. This will help you receive accurate information when preparing for the changes to come. The doctor will advise you of any complications that may arise due to the physical changes that occur.

Physical Limitations

Pregnancy is a time for change and it involves plenty of planning. This becomes even more critical when the woman has a spinal cord injury. The growing pregnancy can increase the physical limitations in many ways. The growing fetus can affect the movement of the diaphragm, diminishing the respiratory capacity and this can lead to problems such as pneumonia.

A woman with SCI is also more likely to suffer from pressure ulcers, bladder spasticity, anemia, and urinary tract infections. While it is true that many pregnant women suffer from these same conditions, a woman with a disability is more susceptible.

As a pregnant woman with a spinal cord injury, one important thing that you need to know is that the injury does not impact your baby. The baby will develop normally like all babies. You will, however, need to follow your obstetrician’s advice strictly. You will experience the common discomforts associated with pregnancy, but your SCI increases your risk of different health conditions. Though this risk should not stop your desire to get pregnant.

Sources: askus-resource-center.unitedspinal.org, acog.org, obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com, msktc.org,

By Simon Books, BabyGaga.com