As a woman, you may feel that you are expected to do it all: career, family, community responsibilities. A high-risk pregnancy can make those responsibilities seem especially magnified as you try to square everything away before taking maternity leave or while on bed rest. For women facing a high-risk pregnancy (whether because of a previous preeclampsia experience or for other concerns) and caught up in the "Super Woman" mentality, you can lose sight of your own needs, goals, and most of all health. It can be challenging to make time to take care of you, a fact to which many preeclampsia survivors who missed the warning signs will attest. The day can slip away without taking a break to assess your physical and mental well-being. Nevertheless, for a patient who may face potential pregnancy complications, focusing on your care should be paramount!
Remember the following tips when advocating for your own health:
- Be Honest - It's important to be honest not only with your doctor, but yourself! Don't live in denial. Those nagging headaches may not be related to exhaustion. Don't ignore headaches, as they can be a telling sign that something is wrong, particularly when paired with visual disturbances.
- Ask For Help - Ask your partner or kids to help with the chores around the house. Reach out to a family member, neighbor, or friend to pick up the kids from school. Ask your boss if you can work from home a couple days a week to avoid the long commute to and from work. It is common sense, not weakness!
- Just Say No - It's ok to say "no". Spreading yourself too thin can cause undue stress. It's in your nature to want to help your family and community, but you also have to slow down and listen to your body. Many of the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia are easily confused with the general discomfort of mid to late pregnancy and recognizing them is easier if you can take the time to assess how you feel.
- Knowledge Is Power - It is vital to be educated when it comes to preeclampsia. Take charge of your health by asking your doctor questions, ensuring that your doctor makes time for you to ask questions and share the symptoms you may be experiencing. Visit www.preeclampsia.org and know the facts to provide the best outcome for a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
So, to all you potential Super Women out there: "Know the Symptoms, Trust Yourself" and put your (and your baby's) health first!