You may feel as if your world has come crashing down, but don’t despair; there is help at hand…
According to UK charity Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC), around two per cent of babies are found to have a serious problem during pregnancy, which is detected either during a scan or following an antenatal test.
Seek expert advice
Once you’ve been told there’s a problem, you should be referred to a doctor within 24 hours and, if necessary, see a specialist within 72 hours. If your baby has a well-recognised anomaly, such as Down’s syndrome, information will be readily available. With rarer abnormalities, you may need to speak to a paediatrician or geneticist to find out how your baby will be affected.
Find someone to lean on
You may find it difficult to take in what the doctor is saying about your baby. Take your partner or a friend with you for support, make notes and ask if there’s anything you don’t understand.
Remember you’re not alone. Carrying a baby with an abnormality can make you feel terribly isolated. Most people derive great comfort from talking to people who’ve been in the same situation.
Use the rest of your pregnancy to bond with the baby you’re going to have rather than the one you were expecting: he needs you more than ever. And keep talking to your partner; try to work through your emotions and support each other through this difficult time.
Having a child with extra needs will be a challenge, but your baby is just as precious as any other and you will love him or her to bits. The future may turn out even better than you’d ever expected: many families find their lives are greatly enriched by their ‘special’ child.
Take your time making decisions
According to ARC, every year at least 2,000 parents in the UK have to consider terminating a pregnancy because an abnormality has been diagnosed in their baby. Accept the counselling you’re offered to help you make this difficult and painful decision. For support and information, call the ARC helpline on 020 7631 0285.
Now tell us what worked for you…
Have you been affected by a problem during your pregnancy. Share your story…