Too worried to tune in to a child
Amniocentesis and sampling of chorionic villi are two of the most common studies, because they are used to diagnose chromosomal abnormalities that cause, for example, Down syndrome, which are the main causes of birth of children with defects. Although research results are usually favorable, they are preceded by fear that a serious genetic disease will be detected. Studies have shown that women who have to have a fetal bladder puncture try to restrain their feelings for an unborn baby, and many do not even consider pregnancy to be something real until they get the results of the study. Some do not even report their pregnancy until they find out the results of studies that, if puncture of the amniotic bladder is done, cannot be obtained before 20 or even more weeks, when a woman can already feel the fetal movements.
The advantage of the study of chorionic villi, although this procedure is associated with a slightly greater risk, is that it can be done at an early stage of pregnancy, long before the baby begins to move. “Although waiting for test results is always difficult for parents, with increasing gestational age it is even more difficult to tolerate,” says Anne Garber, a hygienist. "It is very important for future parents to get information before a woman feels the fetus is moving, before her body changes very much."
Researchers at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia found that women who studied chorionic villi had a shorter anxiety period than women who had amniotic fluid puncture, probably because they could find out more quickly. A very significant reason why researchers were interested in the stress levels of these women is because anxiety in the early stages of pregnancy is statistically correlated with pregnancy complications. When researching chorionic villi by three months, the cause for concern already disappears, but when amniocentesis is used, stress does not decrease until the fifth month of pregnancy, and this, as the researchers point out, is the time of greatest risk.
Even for women with good adaptability, able to cope with various problems, the waiting time may seem unbearable. Corinne Nye, who was 40 years old when she became pregnant for the second time, does not recall that she was anxious before she was examined for an amniotic bladder puncture. “But of course I was worried, she says. I am sure of this, because after we got the results of studies that turned out to be good, I had migraines for three days. ”
The woman’s ability to restrain her emotions is not unlimited. In a study in Sweden, it was found that although women said they tried to distance themselves from their unborn children so as not to worry so much in the event of poor results, they did not succeed.
One of the women, who claimed to have forced herself not to think about the child, admitted to the researchers that she bought everything she needed for the baby, but hid the children's dowry. Another said that, no matter how she tried to struggle with her feelings for the child, "somewhere in the depths of thought about him were always present." In fact, the experiment showed that all women felt an emotional connection with the child, and this was felt in the way they smiled, how their voice and movements changed, regardless of what they said about the conscious distance from the child.
“In fact, researchers say, women are often even more in the grip of thoughts about their unborn children, simply because the studies themselves make the baby“ more real ”for them.
“Although I tried not to think about my baby, I finally realized that it was useless,” recalls Lonnie Hagstrom-Benner, who watched her baby on the screen during an ultrasound scan before she was given an early puncture of the amniotic fluid. When you find out that you are pregnant, you begin to imagine yourself as a mother, the mother of someone whom you cannot see, hear who cannot be touched, but who is an unclearly outlined reality. Your life begins to revolve around one term, when you must finally meet this little stranger. I know that if I lost a child, it would be terrible for me. You cannot protect yourself from the feeling of loss. If you love someone, let him exist only in your view so far, you will grieve for him. ”
Genetic counselors, although not involved in treatment, may recommend a support group or therapists who specialize in aborting or treating malformations. “If a woman was previously diagnosed with fetal developmental abnormalities, a return to the same situation during her next pregnancy means a return to her difficult experiences,” says Dr. Garber. If stress turns out to be very strong, it is best to turn to specialists for help, even if their ability to support you for several weeks until the research results are known is limited. ”
It is also important not to overestimate the results of prenatal studies. “Even under the most favorable circumstances, in 3-4 percent of cases, it is possible for a child to detect birth defects, which are mostly amenable to correction, she said. Sometimes the results of studies mislead parents without showing abnormalities. ”
Already knowing that prenatal studies guarantee her the birth of a healthy baby, a woman can, without thought, continue to undergo research, and this in itself causes a state of anxiety. All manipulations, all searches for deviations from the norm equate pregnancy to disease. “This could lead to what I call medical terrorism,” says Christiana Northrup, MD, gynecologist from Yarmouth, Maine. A woman goes through numerous studies, and the very fact of their implementation makes her fear that not everything is in order with her. We are used to thinking that research and the most careful monitoring of pregnant women can prevent an adverse outcome, but this is not so. We must all remember this. ”
See also: Pregnancy after 35 years.