Does High Risk Pregnancy Always Mean High Risk Care?

High Risk PregnancyBefore I got pregnant, I knew that when I did, my pregnancy would be considered high risk. My previous ones had been as well and I knew that given my past history of repeated loss, diagnosis of factor v leiden and a possible past stroke, I would have to be carefully monitored during pregnancy.

The reality of what my pregnancy, labor and birth will be is not what I envision when I think of the perfect birth. I can’t have an unmediated pregnancy — I have to be on medication to manage my nausea and vomiting, I am on progesterone supplements and daily injections to prevent my blood from clotting. I can’t go into labor on my own and need to be medically induced early in a hospital under the care of an OB.

All of that is far from my desire to have a medication-free home birth under the watch of a midwife, but I wonder — even if I am considered “high risk” do I have to have high risk care?

I know that, of course I have a choice in how I want to manage my pregnancy and labor — I can always go against medical advice and the advice of my very trustworthy OB’s. I also know that these provisions in my care are there for a reason and I am grateful that with all this extra care I am able to safely carry a healthy baby to term. I am comfortable with the care I am receiving and understand why I can’t have my cake and eat it too, but even though I am high risk, I do have some say.

I can still decline any extra testing, which I do. I have a say in how early I feel we should induce, I have control over what I consider non-essential prenatal care (like cervical checks later on). I have control over the birth as well — I can go medicated or not, choose to have cervical checks or not, prefer to birth in the tub. I can still choose to not have those annoying controlled, timed pushes and when the baby is born, we have choices for cord clamping, directly-to-mom care and what to do with the placenta.

So, even if you are considered a high risk pregnancy, make sure you’re still involved, informed and a contributing part of your prenatal care.

Photo credit: istockphoto

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