Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

What about the Next Pregnancy?

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

What about the Next Pregnancy?

Article excerpt

For many parents of exceptional children, the thought of attempting

another pregnancy includes the following concerns: 'Will our next

child be affected by the problems that affected our other

child(ren)?" or, once pregnant, "How can we cope with the

uncertainty of waiting months to find out about our next baby's

health?"

This three part series examines the questions you may wish to

discuss with your obsbetrician. They include the decisions you will

be making before and during pregnancy, the potential

psychological and emotional barriers of the next pregnancy, and

the resources available to you and your children at home, in

anticipation of a healthy addition to your family.

What do you need to know before becoming pregnant again? A

candid discussion of potential issues with your doctor or certified

nurse midwife will help you plan ahead to minimize future

pregnancy risks. A prepregnancy visit should also determine the

role your doctor will play in the next pregnancy and the benefit of

further counseling by a more experienced health care team (for

example, maternal-fetal medicine specialist, neonatologist,

genetics counselor). For families at risk for encountering similar

problems that affected the exceptional child, referral to a regional

perinatal center for prenatal care, delivery, and newborn care may

be important to ensure the best delivery outcome.

In some cases, a maternal medical complication affected the

previous pregnancy. If this was the case for you, before becoming

pregnant again, you should discuss preventative health activities

to reduce risks during the next pregnancy with your doctor. For

example, most of the newborn complications in infants born to

women with insulin-dependent diabetes can be prevented by

energetic correction of maternal blood sugars before conception.

The combination of nutritional adjustment, frequent daily

measurement of blood sugars, effective use of newer insulins, and

the availability of new, high-tech devices for delivering insulin can

produce positive results for some women who have difficulty in

maintaining normal blood sugar values.

Genetic causes for newborn and infant problems are relatively

frequent among families with exceptional children. …

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