Too worried to tune to the child
Amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling are the two 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 the fear that a serious genetic disease will be detected. Studies have shown that women who have to make a puncture of the amniotic bubble, try to restrain their feelings for the unborn child, and many do not even consider the pregnancy to be something real until they receive the results of the study. Some even do not report their pregnancy until they find out the results of studies that, if a puncture of the amniotic bladder is done, cannot be obtained before 20 or even more weeks when the woman can already feel the movements of the fetus.
The advantage of chorionic villus research, although this procedure is associated with a somewhat greater risk, is that it can be done at an early stage of pregnancy, long before the baby begins to move. “Although waiting for the results of research is always hard for parents, with increasing gestational age it is even more difficult to endure,” says Ann Garber, a hygienist. For future parents, it is very important to get information before a woman feels fetal movement, before her body changes very much. ”
Researchers at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia found that women who underwent chorionic villus had a shorter anxiety than women who had punctured the amniotic bladder, probably because they could find out more quickly. The reason why researchers were interested in the levels of stress in these women is very significant, the fact is that anxiety at an early stage of pregnancy is statistically correlated with pregnancy complications. In the study of chorionic villi by three months, the cause for concern has already disappeared, but in the case 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 the second time, does not recall that she was anxious before she underwent a puncture of the amniotic bladder. “But I, of course, was anxious,” she says. I am sure of this, because after we received the results of the studies, which turned out to be good, I had a migraine for three days. ”
The ability of a woman to restrain her emotions is not unlimited. One study in Sweden found that, although the women said that they were trying to distance themselves from their future children, so that they would not be so worried about poor results, they did not succeed.
One of the women, who claimed that she had forced herself not to think about the child, confessed to the researchers that she had bought everything she needed for the baby, but hid the children's dowry. Another said that no matter how hard she tried to fight with her feelings for the child, "somewhere deep in her thoughts 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 how they smiled, how their voices and movements changed, regardless of what they said about conscious separation from the child.
“In fact, researchers argue, women are often even more at the mercy of thoughts about their unborn children simply because the research itself makes the child“ more real ”for them.
“Although I tried not to think about my baby, I finally realized that it was useless,” recalls Lonny Hagstrom-Benner, who watched her baby on the screen during an ultrasound examination before she was given an early puncture of the amniotic sac. When you find out that you are pregnant, you begin to present yourself as mothers, mothers of someone whom you cannot see, hear, who can not be touched, but who is an unclearly defined 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 for the time being only in your representation, you will grieve about him. ”
Genetic consultants, although not engaged in treatment, may recommend a support group or therapists who specialize in abortion or in the treatment of malformations. “If a woman has previously been diagnosed with a fetal developmental abnormality, returning to the same situation during the next pregnancy means for her the return of painful experiences, says Dr. Garber. If stress turns out to be very strong, it is best to seek help from specialists, even if their ability to support you during those few weeks until the results of the research are known, are limited. ”
It is also important not to overestimate the results of prenatal research. “Even under the most favorable circumstances, it is still possible in 3-4 percent of cases to detect congenital defects in a child, which are mostly amenable to correction, she said. Sometimes research results mislead parents without showing any abnormalities. ”
Already knowing that prenatal research guarantees her the birth of a healthy child, a woman can, by thoughtlessness, continue to undergo research, and this in itself causes a state of anxiety. All manipulations, all searches for abnormalities equate pregnancy with illness. “This can lead to what I call medical terrorism,” says Christian Northrup, MD, a gynecologist from Yarmouth, Maine. A woman undergoes numerous studies, and the very fact of their fulfillment causes her fear that not everything is all right. We are accustomed to thinking that research and the most careful observation of pregnant women can prevent an adverse outcome, and this is not so. We all must remember this. ”
See also: Pregnancy after 35 years.