The stresses of pregnancy, labor and having a new baby

Stress has always been my biggest trigger for my lupus. If I have an overly stressful day, I pay for it. The stress of pregnancy is starting to take its toll on my body. I am not sure if my body just realized what was going on, but this last week, I have gotten increasingly more sore and uncomfortable. I can’t complain too much because everything with my high-risk pregnancy has gone smoothly so far. With my hips being one of my biggest complaints with my lupus, I had actually expected this soreness to start earlier than it has.

I had an appointment with my rheumatologist last week and we discussed what happens for the rest of the pregnancy and following delivery. She said that there is an increased risk in flare the six weeks following delivery. Labor puts a lot of stress on your body and it makes sense that lupus wouldn’t like that. The stress on your body from delivering, then stress with a newborn and getting less sleep can all contribute in a lupus flare. She did say that her patients who do as well during the pregnancy, like I have, don’t usually have flares.

I am choosing not to breastfeed. With Plaquenil, you can breastfeed but a small amount does go into the milk. I’d prefer not to have my baby have any amount of Plaquenil, if I can help it. My rheumatologist mentioned that this might be a good decision as far as my lupus is concerned as well. With breastfeeding, I would always be the one who has to get up and feed the baby. By not breastfeeding, there is always an option to have someone else help out with me being able to rest or sleep more. I know this is 100 percent a personal choice and there are some strong feelings both for and against the practice, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about what’s best for you and your baby.

My doctors also said it is important to take care of myself too. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Take advantage of family and friends support. Ask for help when I need it. These are things I am not always good at. I don’t do a good job at asking for help. I am very independent and really don’t like to ask people for help.

My plan is to take things a day at a time and see how it goes. No use worrying about something in the future.

I keep getting asked if I’m getting nervous. I am actually less nervous now than I have been during this whole pregnancy. After being told last week that they would no longer stop labor if it were to happen now, because the baby is to the point where it’s ready to arrive, it was a big weight off my shoulders. During the first trimester, I was nervous about miscarriage and then I was nervous about pre-term labor. At least now I know that if a complication came up, the baby is all right to be delivered.

I’m not nervous about the actual delivery. I don’t really think about that part. I’m not worried about the pain. I realize that it’s going to be painful and that it will be different than any pain I’ve ever experienced, but I’ve dealt with a lot of pain. Pain does not scare me. As long as the baby is healthy, I can deal with the pain.

Kristie Bauer

About the Author:

Kristie Bauer is a long-time Lupus Foundation of Minnesota supporter, Walk/5K attendee and volunteer and founder of the Leaf for Lupus event fundraiser. Diagnosed with lupus at the age of 17 and now 26, she and her husband Pete were exploring the possibilities of starting a family, but Kristie was frustrated with the lack of information available regarding pregnancy and lupus. As she LIVES this big milestone, she’s graciously agreed to share her personal story.
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