A newborn mother!
You may have heard numerous views on how pregnancy is a life-altering moment. It always connects to joy, care, and respect. Nevertheless, it is hard to define the painful moments: mental, physical, and social stress. These problems multiply too many times for the disabled and having baby. While having a physical disability doesn’t affect the chances of becoming pregnant, carrying, or delivering a baby but they have to struggle with their necessary day-to-day activities. Additionally, not everyone has decent knowledge to care for a becoming mother in a wheelchair, and additional measures are needed to make the pregnancy successful.
Attitudes about women with disabilities becoming mothers have become more accepting in the last several decades, changing social mores and advances in obstetrical and perinatal care. It is a relative battle for the arrival of two new healthy lives. Depending on the wheelchair doesn’t contribute to any potential severe harm to the baby. Staying as healthy as possible during pregnancy must be the priority for a pregnant mother and her baby. It’s the woman who has to receive optimum care with appropriate accessibility that limits her mobility.
There are dubious feelings complicated with desire and panic. Most women are not prepared to form a new life due to their mobility issues. Often queries involve their anxiety if they would be able to give birth to a healthy kid. Having a physical disability doesn’t automatically classify pregnancy as high-risk. However, some practitioners will feel more comfortable referring the pregnant woman to an obstetrician or maternal-fetal medicine specialist who has experience treating women facing the same challenges.
Ask the Expert: Consult a GYN
In addition to other pregnancy-associated health risks, women with mobility disabilities appear to experience problems relating to their functional impairments. Preconception planning and in-depth discussions during an early pregnancy stage potentially help women with mobility disabilities anticipate and address these difficulties. The women with disabilities need extra care and attention from gestation to post duration of delivering the baby. There is a need to analyze the facts, research a bit, and ask your trustworthy clinician.
With calculated exercises and medications as per your physique needs, family support, and self-advocating, you can begin preparing yourself for the baby. Although preconception care is recommended for many women with disabilities to ensure that they are in good health before conceiving, many women don’t seek preconception care or even forgo prenatal care because of possible adverse reactions from health care clinicians.
Stay Healthy: Add Necessary Nutrients to Diet
Dieticians recommend taking a wholesome diet. Eating well is one of the most significant gifts you can give yourself. Your health is your responsibility. Getting balanced minerals and vitamins to suffice the body contributes to the fetus’s growth while maintaining a healthy weight. Taking a recommended amount of prenatal vitamin per day helps to boost the system. On the contrary, taking it at high doses results in side effects. So, always consult your obstetric care provider and act accordingly. Try to keep weight gain within the recommended range, as it will help minimize the stress on your body.
You don’t have to push yourself for heavy exercise. Just some lightweight yoga and running can result in impressive effects. For this, follow all the instructions that your GYN has advised. Take proper medication and try not to miss the scheduled check-ups.
Eating the best possible diet will improve your general physical well-being and decrease the likelihood of pregnancy complications. The prenatal care of many women with disabilities is somewhat different from that of women without a disability. Please keep in mind that you have the absolute right to welcome a new member of the family. People have invariably said something today and will say tomorrow. It is important not to suppose that a woman with a disability should terminate the pregnancy. The assumption is not at all valid from any instance. Some disorders like deep vein thrombosis and autonomic dysreflexia can occur. And it’s perfectly alright. All you need is to be aware of the coming situations and prepare yourself for good.
Making Your Home Wheelchair Friendly
Make sure to make necessary home modifications. The most common problems for women with disabilities are bathing, night care, and carrying the baby. With appropriate changes, you can create a more welcoming environment for the mother. These changes involve using modular connects to the baby crib that makes lifting the baby and putting down easy, furniture adaptions like a more accessible customized crib with railings and side gate, considering the baby table’s height and placement of the tub, etc. Do not forget to find a nearby purchase point for baby-mother supplies. The best part is that many hospitals are developing special programs to provide women with physical disabilities with better prenatal and obstetrical care.
During the prenatal period, most women face several difficulties. Pregnant women with a significant mobility disability may confront substantial barriers to obtaining routine prenatal evaluations. Adding to being in a wheelchair most of the time, women can have several health issues. Inaccessible examination tables and weight scales sometimes prevent women with mobility disabilities from receiving routine screening and preventive services, such as complete physical examinations, pap tests, and weight measurement. Regular appointments with your gynecologist ensure a frequent check-up and reduce the risk of pregnancy and birth complexities.
Things become hard with a wheelchair. Transferring from the wheelchair to the exam table and back should always be with utmost caution. A wheelchair with a removable armrest may serve you better. The clinic needs to be wheelchair accessible so that the chair may go inside without asking for help from alongside persons. I know it is rare to find one, especially in India. Go for the decent spaced doors. When it comes to urine tests, ask your gynecologist to give clean, marked specimen cups one day before the schedule. You can easily get the work done at home & give it on your visit, relieving you from using the non-accessible washrooms.
Tip: Find a prenatal practitioner. They may refer you to an obstetrician or maternal-fetal medicine specialist who has the experience to guide women who face the same situations in which you are right now.
An increase in weight is absolutely natural during pregnancy. After all, you are nurturing an incoming kid. Weight gain and altered body shape can affect your mobility. Keep your weight gain within the recommended range. You may experience uneasiness in a wheelchair due to the changes in physical weight distribution. It could develop sores that you may not feel in the lower half of the body. Inspect your skin frequently. Watch out for signs of infections. Consider purchasing a shower commode wheelchair that can also be used as a regular wheelchair to reduce wheelchair transfers. Make sure you ask the doctor about right diet plan and stick to it strictly.
Tip: Instead of compromising, get a cushioned seat to allocate an even pressure distribution. Sometimes you may need to be lifted from the chair. Make sure that your wheelchair is also lightweight that can be weighed by itself. If required, then borrow a new wheelchair from the nearby wheelchair company for these times.
Society Vs. Your Health
The problem arises when no one can feel the challenging moves while being in a wheelchair. In India, most women don’t receive deserved care and medications during pregnancy. Apart from that, physical abuse and passive comments are so common that they are supposed to live with it. Since you have decided to become a proud mother despite mobility issues, it means you are strong, stronger than you ever believed! It’s your responsibility to fight and overcome the psychological problems with your loving family and OB/GYN’s help.
It is always better to ignore the useless comments and focus on your health. Ah, I see that you can feel it. Stats show that women in wheelchairs are more prone to urinary tract infections, changes in bowel and bladder management, and enhanced risk of pressure ulcers during pregnancy. Keep an eye on your health and call your gynecologist without delay.
Tip: Eat healthily and try to be as comfortable as you can. Don’t forget to do light exercises that your clinician has recommended.
Labor Pain and Delivery
First thing first! Most women in wheelchairs reported quite similar experiences when it came to labor pain and delivery. Most preferred to have a vaginal delivery. Also, most opted for the Cesarean section. Not because of their disability; it was just the need of the moment and their preference. There are some circumstances when your OB refers you to the anesthesia team, particularly during the last month before the onset of labor. Some of the spinal cord injuries often have problems that can be solved by significant planning precursory to taking epidural anesthesia for delivery.
Tip: Ensure that the hospital has a roll-in shower, an accessible seat, and every minute requirement that you might need while being in the hospital.
Women with disabilities may need to be in the hospital for a longer time than usual to recover after delivery. There may be the case that your mobility limits even more, and you need to take help from someone. Get a physical therapist to recognize some exercise that will help you return to your routine. Depending upon the issues, ask for help. You may find it hard to deal with these circumstances.
Adapting creative strategies by using the pillow to support the mother and baby for breastfeeding counts on her side. You need to identify and cure any abnormal signs as soon as possible.
Consult your OB/GYN regularly. Make the wheelchair mother and baby accessible. Attach baby bottles to the handles for mothers who have a weak grip. Identify the assistive device that makes the women in wheelchairs to be as independent as possible in infant-care and self-care.
Tip: Many women ignore the signs of postpartum depression, i.e., the baby blues. It is entirely normal. As your clinician suggests, with proper medication and exercise, you can get back to your happy life, but this time with cute gazing eyes giving joy of responsibility.
Pregnancy with physical disability is really different situation. But with appropriate care, medical guidance, family, and appropriate nursing care of pregnant woman with physical disabilities make their life way easier. Disabled and having a baby should be more of moment of pride and less worrisome. If you also have an experience you can share with others, we would like to be the medium. Comment your experience below, dear mother!