In this article, we gave detailed information about pregnancy after infertility. Check out the article for useful tips and advice.
Every couple going through infertility treatments has one goal: to become pregnant. But what happens when you finally receive that positive pregnancy test?
“When that happens, most couples feel both elation and fear,” says Velma B., RN, BSN, medical information director. “For many couples who have experienced the hope and disappointment of infertility, it may be hard to believe that something is really ‘going right.'” Many couples who have struggled with the emotional ups and downs of infertility find it hard to make the transition into the reality of pregnancy.
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A Beautiful Journey
“We tried to get pregnant for five years before we sought help from our fertility clinic,” says Melissa Frazier of Stone Creek, Ohio. “Because of my age, we went right to the IVF cycle. We were absolutely blessed, as we were given less than a 10 percent chance of getting pregnant, and we were successful!”
Frazier, who was 42 at the time, says she went through a mixed bag of emotions when she received a call from the clinic confirming her pregnancy. “I was elated, excited, shocked that it had worked, scared, thrilled and very thankful,” she says. For Frazier, the second part of her journey began that day.
“During pregnancy, many women who have come out of infertility successfully are very anxious and tentative about the pregnancy itself,” says Ann Dunnewold, Ph.D., a psychologist and co-author of Postpartum Survival Guide from Dallas, Texas. “Having invested so much hope in this goal for so long, they may be reluctant to allow themselves to feel it emotionally.”
Dunnewold, who specializes in women’s health related to reproductive issues, explains that it is quite natural for couples who have undergone infertility treatments to go through an array of emotions during their pregnancy. The concerns that most pregnant women face, such as having a healthy baby, are often amplified considerably after the infertility experience.
To learn bout mood swings in pregnancy : Mood Swing in Pregnancy
“Gaining trust in one’s body to carry out this natural function may be difficult,” says Dunnewold. “This fear and tentativeness can make the experience of pregnancy difficult.”
Though Frazier describes her pregnancy as uneventful, she does say that every day felt like “sitting on pins and needles.” At 15 weeks, Frazier had an amniocentesis, and the results indicated a healthy baby girl. “We were so thrilled,” she says. “My husband and I tried to keep everything for the baby almost ‘on hold’ until we were very far along in the pregnancy – I know that was because of what it had taken us to get there.”
Julie A., an obstetrician and expert advisor from Evanston, Ill., agrees that couples who have been through infertility treatments feel much more concerned than other couples about a potential loss or other complications related to the pregnancy. “Because of this, they often feel like their pregnancy is ‘high-risk’ even when a history of infertility on its own is not considered a high-risk situation,” she says. “For couples who experienced recurrent, early pregnancy loss who then find themselves pregnant, this worry is even greater and naturally extends even past the first trimester.” (Pregnancy After Infertility)
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Infertility to Obstetrical
Making the switch from an infertility patient to an obstetrical patient can be difficult. It may be hard to say goodbye to the infertility world that has been so much a part of your life for so long. “Often in the first trimester, women say, ‘I don’t feel part of the fertile world or the infertile world – I just feel different,'” says Velma.
According to Dunnewold, patients who have been through successful infertility treatment often experience feelings of guilt when they don’t feel completely positive about their pregnancy. “It’s important to balance expectations with reality,” she says. “Being pregnant and having a new baby is a difficult transition for anyone. It is normal to feel some negativity about the changes that occur.”
Danielle A., medical director at a reproductive center, says the hardest thing to tell women who have conceived after infertility is that they have to leave the practice and go see their obstetrician. “They all dread it, and nearly everyone pleads with me to have me deliver them,” he says. “They feel we cut that umbilical cord, and they go from a place where they have 100-percent attention and handling to a waiting room where they are one of many pregnant women. Some feel we are kicking them out of the practice, because if it was up to them, they will keep coming to the office until they deliver. We have patients that keep e-mailing, passing by, calling, just to check if their OB is doing the right thing. Fear and anxiety are definitely there, but most adjust after the first few weeks when they go to their OB.”
Also, if you wonder about pregnancy fears and how to overcome them: Top Pregnancy Fears How First-time Moms Can Derail the Worry Train
Esther Peters from Springfield, Va., experienced infertility due to a blockage in her fallopian tubes. Having already had one child, she was distraught at the thought of not having another. Doctors told her that chances of having another child were around 1 percent. When she became pregnant with IVF, she knew it was a miracle.
“I can’t explain how elated I was,” says Peters. “It was the most wonderful feeling in the world. It was so huge – truly a miracle.”
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At the age of 43, Peters was concerned about the health of her baby. “We waited five months before having an amniocentesis done, not wanting to risk a miscarriage by doing it any sooner,” she says. “My husband and I called and called until finally after 13 days, the results came back. Our baby was perfectly healthy!” (Pregnancy After Infertility)
Peters says that the switch from infertility patient to obstetric patient was emotional. “I was scared for most of my pregnancy,” she says. “I think it was about in my 7th month when I finally started to relax. The fear of a premature birth was behind me.”
Having lost twins in her 23rd week in 2001, Peters was understandably nervous about early labor and miscarriage. For women like Peters who have a history of pregnancy loss, it is even more difficult to make the transition from infertility to pregnancy. Some women guard themselves against disappointment by not investing too heavily in the pregnancy.
“It is not uncommon for husbands to seem less involved and somewhat detached from pregnancy,” says Velma. “This can be a safety mechanism that husbands use because they fear that the pregnancy might not work out and that they have to stay strong for their wife in case something does happen to the pregnancy.”
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Enjoying the Positive
Most couples who feel anxious and fearful in the first trimester overcome some of these feelings as the pregnancy progresses. Research indicates that many women who become pregnant following fertility treatment actually feel better emotionally than those who have not experienced infertility.
After those anxious early months are over, most couples are able to experience the joys that come with the miracle of new life.
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The names of the people mentioned in the article have been changed for security reasons and to protect privacy.