High-risk pregnancy: Coping with extra medical appointments and tests

High-risk pregnancy: Coping with extra medical appointments and tests

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When you have a high-risk pregnancy, it's likely you'll need extra appointments to monitor your condition. And more tests and appointments can also mean coping with additional stress.

Besides worrying about whether everything is okay, there are often logistic hurdles as well: What do you say to your boss? Where can you find childcare? How should you answer questions from your kids? Here are a few tips to help you figure out these and other challenges:

The problem:
My boss won’t allow me to miss work for medical appointments.

The solution:
Before talking to your employer, do some research to learn your rights. The main federal laws protecting pregnant and nursing women in the workplace are Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and the Affordable Care Act.

If your high-risk condition is considered a legal “impairment,” you're also covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and entitled to reasonable accommodations on the job.

In some cases under the ADA, employers may be required to offer you a flexible work schedule to attend prenatal healthcare appointments or allow you to work from home if you're on bed rest.

Once you know your rights, approach your supervisor with a cooperative attitude and let her know what you need. (It may help to have a letter from your doctor.) If you repeatedly encounter resistance or unwillingness, you may want to seek legal advice.

Find more information about pregnancy discrimination and your legal rights by visiting the websites of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor.

The problem:
My co-workers resent me for taking so much time off. They see me coming in late, leaving early, and taking long lunch breaks, but they don’t realize that I'm doing this to attend medical appointments.

The solution:
As with any kind of disability or physical challenge, educating your co-workers can go a long way toward getting understanding and support. Explain your condition and consider confiding in trusted co-workers about your daily struggles. People are typically inclined to empathize if they're aware of your situation.

Also tell your colleagues that you realize it must be hard for them to watch you come and go while they may not have the same flexibility.

The problem:
I can’t keep up with my workload because I have to spend so much time at the doctor’s office.

The solution:
If having a high-risk pregnancy means that you’re not able to keep up your usual pace at work, talk to your employer to figure out how to make adjustments. If you’re covered under the ADA, your employer must make “reasonable accommodations.” If you’re self-employed, consider letting your clients know you need to scale back temporarily.

The problem:
I can’t always schedule medical appointments at convenient times, and I don't have regular childcare. What can I do?

The solution:
Follow up with family or friends who have previously offered to help. Use an online resource such as Lotsa Helping Hands to build your support network and make it easier for friends and family to pitch in.

If you don’t have a wide circle of local support, check for childcare resources at your church or synagogue, or join a structured playgroup or story time at the local library. Many parents are happy to help others with young children when an urgent need arises.

The problem:
My child notices that I’m stressed from having so many medical appointments. How do I talk to her about my condition without scaring her?

The solution:
Your answer depends on how old your child is. Young children aren't able to understand medical details, so keep your explanation as simple as possible. Reassure your child that your doctors are taking good care of you.

If your child is grade school age, you can explain in a little more detail – like you need to have a blood test to check whether your blood sugar is normal. Explain that all these appointments are necessary to make sure everything is going well.

What you say may also be an issue of timing: If you have a high risk of miscarriage for example, wait until the second trimester to tell your child that you're pregnant. That's when your chance of losing the pregnancy drops significantly.

If you're still not sure what to say, ask your child's doctor or teacher for advice.

Susan LaCroix is a writer, editor, and psychotherapist with a private practice in Berkeley, California. She specializes in providing support to individuals and couples during pregnancy, postpartum adjustment, and the transition to parenthood.

Watch the video: Physiological Changes during Pregnancy - Video Learning - 2016 (January 2023).

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