labor and delivery, pregnancy, Uncategorized

Reducing the Risk of Birth Defects

The road of pregnancy is not always smooth and joyful.

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photo source: https://pixabay.com/photo-2549472/

There are times when you are met with challenges and unexpected results. Birth Defects are one of those road blocks that stop you in your tracks and cause you to travel an unexpected road.

While this may not be the journey you want or the road you want to travel-there is hope. I recommend if this is your journey, to connect with a doctor you trust, make sure to ask all of your questions and fully get an understanding. 

 

Remember the birth defect is not your fault and you are not alone; every 4 and ½ minutes a baby is born with a birth defect in the United States (Center for Disease Control, 2008). 

Birth defects are common. Every 4 and ½ minutes, a baby is born with a birth defect in the United States. Birth defects affect 1 in every 33 babies born in the United States each year. That translates into about 120,000 babies.
Source:https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/facts.html

The  month of January is designated National Birth Defects Prevention Awareness Month. This annual campaign is promoted by the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and throughout Ohio (odh.ohio.gov/odhprograms/cmh/bdefects/bdpm.aspx.).

January hosts National Birth Defects Prevention Month and Folic Acid Awareness Week
http://www.maysville-online.com/news/local/january-hosts-national-birth-defects-prevention-month-and-folic-acid/article_2fb313be-3e3b-5f6b-ae13-b1361bd18ff1.html

 

What is a Birth Defect?

Some of you reading this may be wondering:

 What is a Birth Defect?    Do my baby have one?       Is it my fault?

 

A birth defect is a condition that is present at birth. Some birth defects can be seen right after the baby is born like a club foot, extra fingers or toes. For other birth defects; special test may need to be done to discover them such as hearing loss. While others may not be noticed until later in life (https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Reducing-Risks-of-Birth-Defects).

What Causes Birth Defects?

Of course you may be wondering how can you protect your baby and pregnancy. The truth is many birth defects cannot be prevented because their cause if not known (https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Reducing-Risks-of-Birth-Defects). This can be scary because how can you prevent something from happening when you don’t even know what to prevent?  While that is true,  and some birth defects cannot be prevented:

You can help Reduce the Risk of Birth Defects

Listed below are recommendations from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) that help decrease your risk of birth defects:

  • See your doctor before becoming pregnant.
  • Know your risk factors.
  • Take a daily multivitamin before and during pregnancy.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Use medications wisely.
  • Take care of medical conditions before pregnancy.
  • Do not use alcohol or illegal drugs.
  • Prevent infections.
  • Avoid known harmful agents

Pregnancy in itself is a leap of faith and trust throughout the process of conception to delivery and parenting adds another whole layer. The truth is there are many factors that influence a pregnancy and a pregnancy outcome. I encourage everyone who is thinking of becoming pregnant,please schedule an appointment and speak with their doctor even before a Positive Pregnancy Test.

Take each day as it comes, ask questions and trust the journey. Also take a moment to review the Patient Education Information from ACOG ( The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) for more in-depth information on Reducing the Risk of Birth Defects 

https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Reducing-Risks-of-Birth-Defects 

 

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Healthy Mom/ Healthy Baby

by Mary E.,RN,BSN,MSN

Wife /Mother/Nurse

Contact Mary at : theamazingadventuresofpregnancy@yahoo.com

 

 

labor and delivery, pregnancy, Uncategorized

Dear High Risk Moms

Dear High Risk Moms,

While I’m not proclaiming to know exactly what you are going through and cannot fully understand every thought you are having. I know you have chosen to have a baby and with that baby comes  dreams and hopes of an amazing pregnancy journey and a beautiful healthy baby.  

However at some point during your pregnancy, you were referred to the High Risk doctor and your world changed. I’m sure you wondered or wondering now… what does this mean?? What’s going to happen?

Moms, I hear you. This journey you are on  may be one of the most fearful, emotionally charged journey you will have to take in your life. I understand you are literally fighting to make it to Labor & Delivery and deliver a healthy baby to bring home.

Moms, there will be times when you are working with your primary doctor and Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) doctor and feel overwhelmed with the tests, procedures, and appointments. There will be times you are worried if insurance will cover all that you need. Google may have become your ‘second doctor” and chat rooms your saving grace as you try to find other moms as support. I understand.

I understand there are days you want to rage because ‘ it’s just not fair’ and you question ” why me?” Yes, I see your furstration with information overload and the complexity of the situation;the uncertainty if you should trust your healthcare team’s plan. I know you are carrying a precious gift- you will protect at all cost.

Moms, I hear you and I’m with you. I want you to know as your nurse, myself, your MFM doctor and many team members are there with you from the moment we meet you to after you deliver and beyond if you need us.

We carry you in our thoughts as we collaborate to design the best plan to have you and your baby safe and healthy. We pray for wisdom to chose the correct plan for you. We pray for your peace during a challenging time. We partner with you to create a plan you are comfortable with to have a desired outcome.

As your nurse, I urge you to give me your worries , I want your questions, I’ll handle the logistics.  I want to make this particular challenging pregnancy journey easier for you. With a high risk pregnancy your mind is already filled with thoughts and worries- Our goal as the MFM team is to always reduce stress, minimize worry and promote peace in any situation.

Moms, remember this is your journey and I’m walking with you every step. Always let me know what you need, when you need it as we make it to the destination of delivering a healthy baby and keep you healthy.

Sincerely,

Your MFM Nurse ❤️

 

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(picture source: pixaby.com)

By: Mary Echols,RN,BSN,MSN

Wife /Mother/Nurse

Contact Mary at : theamazingadventuresofpregnancy@yahoo.com

 

Uncategorized

The Journey of a High Risk Pregnancy

Maternal Fetal Medicine Monday

 

“Thank you. Thank you for taking a situation that could have been difficult, stressful and overwhelming and making it manageable.”

 

I will never forget these words spoken to me by a Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) patient. That one sentence sums up why I do what I do, and why I love what I do.

 

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I will protect the name of the patient for confidentiality and call her Mrs. X.  Mrs. X was  39 yo, pregnant with her second child; she and her husband was excited to welcome a new baby into their home. During a routine ultrasound, Mrs. X’s baby was diagnosed with hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is a condition that occurs when fluid builds up in the skull and causes the brain to swell. The name Hydrocephalus means “water on the brain”. The plan for Mrs. X’s baby was to transfer after delivery to a local Children’s Hospital to receive the care needed.

I recall meeting Mr. & Mrs. X and their adorable 2yo during their MFM consultation. Understandably, the family was overwhelmed, worried and nervous.  On top of the health concerns for their unborn baby and the apprehension of being separated shortly after birth; the family also had the additional stressors of insurance and logistics of appointments.

I remember telling the family: let me handle the insurance, let me handle arranging appointments, let me handle the little details. Your main concern at this time is to focus on your baby and yourself.  I noticed a little sigh of relief, yet wariness in their eyes. So I did what I do; called the insurance companies, obtained prior authorizations as needed, arranged appointments that coordinated with the patient’s convenience, and took care of any concern they had.

Prior to delivery on their last appointment with the MFM team; I wished them well and informed them to please call if they needed any further assistance. My patient went on to deliver; the baby was transferred to Children’s Hospital and I heard all was going well.  I thought of them often, but knew most likely I would not see them again until the next pregnancy; as the postpartum care would be with their primary Ob/Gyn.

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Countdown to delivery; nervous but hopeful

 

 

Many months later; I received a call to come to the front desk. Standing at the front desk with her baby and older sister was Mrs. X.  Baby X was beautiful and doing well, mom looked happy, the big sister was excited. Mrs. X came back just to say

“Thank you. Thank you for taking a situation that could have been difficult, stressful and overwhelming and making it manageable.”

 

For anyone experiencing a high risk pregnancy; it can be overwhelming as you travel the unfamiliar road.  I want you to focus- day by day– do not try to figure everything out at one time. Trust your MFM team, let them worry about the little details. Take each moment to focus on you and your baby.

Remember, your MFM team’s goal is the same as yours:

Healthy Mom/Healthy Baby

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Mary E., RN,BSN, MSN

Wife/Mother/Nurse/Champion of All Pregnant Women

contact: theamazingadventuresopregnancy@yahoo.com

(article source: Written by Amanda Delgado and Valencia Higuera Medically Reviewed by Steven Kim, MD on September 26, 2015 Found online: Healthline)