Considering pregnancy with fibromyalgia, chronic pain, chronic fatigue or any chronic illness is a big deal. There are a host of considerations. If I had thought too intensely about it prior to having my first I am sure I would have gotten myself into a tizzy. Why? Because there was no information available. Even once I was pregnant there was so little information around and even my doctors didn’t know much about it.
After years of researching and sharing my experience and writing about pregnancy with fibromyalgia, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, I have developed a list of things to consider prior to becoming pregnant.
Top Considerations Pre Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue
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Arm yourself with knowledge
Take Pregnancy and Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia micro course for an introduction about pregnancy and fibromyalgia (available in my free resources page, simply sign up to the newsletter and receive access)
Read Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia book
Consider taking the Pregnancy and Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia course
Learn about pregnancy in general
Look into delivery and recovery
Read about the early weeks (fourth trimester)
Wean off and stop any medications that are categorically unsafe
This is an area I encourage you to become a self-advocate. Do some research and be involved in the decision making process with your doctor – ensure you are being factored into the cost vs benefit equation. This is a really important one to address. I have seen women who have been forced to go cold turkey off medications during their first trimester and it is not fun.
A top piece of advice for any person approaching a doctor no matter their stage in life? A well researched/thought out decision is harder to ignore than a general plea for help. Arm yourself with knowledge, do your cost vs benefit analysis and then ask the doctor to partner with you. They may disagree but you have created a starting point for a good discussion.
Have an honest discussion with your significant other about:
How you will manage during pregnancy and the first year
What you will do in the event that you cannot continue to work
What will happen if there are times when you are too ill to look after the baby
Agree how you will approach breastfeeding
Nourish yourself well
Minimize dehydrating drinks such as tea and coffee (the research suggests these are fine in moderation during pregnancy, but it is good to minimize from the hydration perspective)
Aim for eight servings of fruit and vegetables a day, aim for an array of colours
Include protein and healthy fats at each meal
If you need, consult a medical professional or nutritionist
Start taking a pregnancy multivitamin
Come and join the supportive community in the Pregnancy and Parenting with Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia Facebook group. Having social support is magical. It truly made a huge difference for me between my first and second pregnancies. Just having people who got it to bounce ideas off was a relief.
Pregnancy with fibromyalgia, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, doesn’t have to be a scary idea. Just know that with preparation, understanding and support you can do it.
I would love to hear from you: What kind of things are you concerned with if you are considering pregnancy with chronic illness? What kinds of things do you wish someone told you if you are already pregnant or had a baby with chronic illness? Tell us in the comments below!