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Journals > Considering Pregnancy by Melanie N.
We're delighted to share this article by Melanie N. that she wrote and
developed as she considered having a child! It's an excellent for patients
and couples considering starting a family. Always carry hope in your heart
and remember that thousands of IC patients have successfully had children,
become mothers and grandmothers.
you are considering pregnancy and you have Interstitial Cystitis, these
are some of the issues that you may face. Write down your questions and
concerns and discuss them with your partner and medical care providers.
Explore the resources available to you: talking with friends and family,
reading books, surfing websites, asking your doctors questions, etc.
Making the Decision of a lifetime
Keeping perspective: Pregnancy is for nine months. Parenting is a lifetime
some of the questions that I explored with my husband. I can't answer
these for you.... and it's important that you think about it honestly
and openly. They can be tough questions. So, write down yours and and
then sit down with your husband and talk about them. Don't rush!
- Do we
want to be parents?
- Do we
- Are we
willing to change our lifestyle?
- Can we
we make good parents?
- Do we
have family, friends or neighbors who can support us?
both parents work? Who will be the primary care giver? Who will be the
- Can we
- What does
our health insurance cover?
some of the IC questions that I was worried about and took the time to
ask my doctors and other patients.
medications would I have to stop? How far in advance?
- If sex
is painful, how will I handle the increased sexual activity?
my IC get better or worse or stay the same during pregnancy?
my pregnancy be considered high risk because of IC?
will childbirth be like for me? Is vaginal or cesarean preferable with
my OB/GYN really understand all aspects of my IC?
- How will
my Urologist be involved in my pregnancy?
- Do I want
- Can I
be a good mom with IC?
- Can I
physically and emotionally handle caring for an infant (then toddler,
then child) with IC?
- As my
child ages, how will I explain about my illness?
- How will
my child feel about having a mom who is sick often?
we need to hire help and can we afford it?
I be able to find the time to continue ongoing treatments (bladder installations,
physical therapy, etc)?
- How will
I care for my child when my IC is flaring?
quick word about the books I recommend: I find reading extremely
helpful and empowering. Don't feel that you must go out and purchase
everything. I highly recommend exploring your local library and
asking your friends to borrow books. If you discover books or chapters
that will help other ICers, please PM the suggestions to me.
I Want to Be A Mom? : A Woman's Guide to the Decision of a Lifetime
by Diana L. Dell, Suzan Erem
resources on the decision family planning: - http://www.tc.umn.edu/~parkx032/B-BABY.html
Bladder Disorders: Compassionate, Authoritative Medical and Self-Help
Solutions for Incontinence, Cystitis, Interstitial Cystitis by Rebecca
Chalker, Chapter 9: Staying Sexual
Interstitial Cystitis Survival Guide, Chapter 9: Sex & IC,
IC & Pregnancy pages 77-80
Well With a Hidden Disability: Transcending Doubt and Shame and
Reclaiming Your Life by Stacy Taylor, Robert Epstein, Chapter
4: Love and Sex, Chapter 5: Parenting
you choose for any reason that having children isn't the right choice
for your life, there are many resources available:
Without Children: The Reasons, The Rewards, The Regrets. Susan
The Childless Revolution by Madelyn Cain
choose to start a family, keep reading
Planning for Pregnancy
with every doctor or medical care provider necessary. This could include
your OB/GYN, Urologist, Primary Care Doctor, Pain Specialist, Psychiatrist,
etc. This is also a good time to get physicals, annual GYN exams, dental
cleanings and x-rays, etc.
Go to these appointments prepared. Take a list of all your medications
and treatments, how often you take them and for what reasons. Ask your
doctors which meds are safe during pregnancy and which are not. If there
are meds that you must stop, find out when you must stop them (prior to
conceiving, once you confirm pregnancy, etc). You may also want to ask
which meds are safe during breastfeeding. Be advised that you may get
different opinions from each doctor.
You and your
partner can weigh the pros and cons of each medication. Then you can choose
which medications to stop and when.
doctors what IC treatments are acceptable to use during pregnancy. This
information can be especially helpful if your IC flares during pregnancy.
OB/GYN and Urologist about prenatal vitamins. Folic Acid, Calcium and
Iron are the most important nutrients that may need to be supplemented.
It is advisable to start taking Folic Acid before getting pregnant.
Many IC patients
have difficulty taking vitamins. One major source of problems is Vitamin
C which can be very acidic and irritating to the bladder. Look for vitamins
that have less acidic forms of Vitamin C (like Ester-C). Another irritant
in vitamins can be the dyes and additives. Look for more natural alternatives.
Your OB/GYN may give you several samples of prenatal vitamins.
Learning when and how to get pregnant:
Do you know
when to time sex? Do you really know when your body ovulates? Are your
cycles always the standard 28 days long? Do you always ovulate on day
14? Are you (or were you) taking meds that was delaying or preventing
ovulation? When do you have to stop the pill before TTC (trying to conceive)?
Taking Charge of Your Fertility
Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth
Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health (Revised
Edition) by Toni Weschler
"As the book explains, by using simple fertility signs including
peaks in morning body temperature and changes in cervical position
and cervical mucus, it's possible to determine when ovulation is
taking place. Fertility awareness is therefore useful for not only
couples who are trying to conceive, but for those who are aiming
to avoid pregnancy without the use of chemical contraceptives."
face it, if you have IC, sex isn't always easy. In fact, sometimes it's
downright painful. So now you want to get pregnant and that means you
have to have a lot more sex. Well, atleast you have to have a lot more
sex at a certain time of the month. Here are a few tips that you may find
PT isn't right for everyone, but if you experience pain with sex it may
be worth trying. Ask your Urologist or OB/GYN for a referral. As part
of PT, it's important to do Kegels. It's often helpful to have an object
to contract against. Your physical therapist can supply you with a vaginal
dilator, a small plastic rod that you can insert. Your therapist can also
give you a "Mr. Frosty", a condom filled with ultrasound jelly
that you can discreetly store in my freezer. Or you can make one by filling
a condom with KY jelly. It's used after sex to cool down the vaginal tissues.
Read more about
pelvic floor therapies in the handbook!
It's necessary to loosen up and lubricate those pelvic muscles and vaginal
tissues. Plus it's fun!
Keep in mind that baby making can be a bit different than love making.
Be sure to communicate with your partner about this transition.
Some lubricants have been proven to kill sperm, including KY Jelly.
Granted, you wouldn't want to rely on them as a contraceptive, but they
could hinder your ability to conceive. There is some debate about whether
or not Astroglide is sperm friendly. There is a product on the market
called Pre-Seed that is recommended for TTC, but there are mixed reviews
and it is quite pricey and difficult to find.
white is recommended because it is most like our natural cervical fluid
that's present just before ovulation. Yes, plain old egg white, although
you might want to look for pasteurized eggs which are available in most
grocery stores these days. Simply separate the egg and discard the yolk.
It helps to allow it to warm up to room temperature. You can use a small
syringe (no needle) to insert it in the vagina. Many women, who struggle
with fertility or simply don't produce enough quality cervical fluid,
highly recommend using egg white. And let's face it, lube is usually
necessary with IC.
Certainly some positions allow deeper penetration and more probability
of the sperm reaching the egg. For example, missionary position is considered
best and woman-on-top is often considered worst. However you must weigh
this against which positions are most comfortable for you. Experiment
and have fun!
as soon as possible. You may want to consider waiting 10-20 minutes
to allow the sperm time to travel up, but there is debate whether or
not that's necessary.
- If you
are prone to UTI's, ask your Doctor about taking a preventative antibiotic
- Both of
you should consider showering before and after having sex. At the very
least, have your partner wash his hands before sex. A removable showerhead
is most helpful for cleaning up afterwards and preventing the spread
to test? Some home pregnancy tests claim you can test up to 5 days before
your expected period. But remember that they are NOT 100% accurate that
early. Try not to stress and remember that you can always try again
next month (that's half the fun after all!)
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