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Unexpected Pregnancy: She Needs You!

The news came out of the blue. She’s pregnant, and you didn’t plan for this. She just told you, and now that the initial shock has dissipated, you may feel conflicting and scary emotions. An unexpected pregnancy can definitely be extremely daunting for both partners, including you. But she needs you to be there for her and to take responsibility. Did you know that many women feel a lack of partner support and as a consequence, decide to have an abortion that they later regret? The thing is, a lack of support when facing an unexpected pregnancy is not necessarily something straightforward. It’s not just direct threats or violence. By your words and behavior, you have the power to show not only support but also love and respect for your partner. 

Scare her unexpected pregnancy

Words And Behaviors That May Scare Her

  • A lack of presence. Sometimes, men vanish into thin after learning about an unexpected pregnancy. Fear creeps in and they feel like they need space to process the information. The downside is that their partners may start to believe that they simply can’t count on them. As a result, it may exacerbate the partner’s own fears. If you are tempted to flee for whatever reason, you may want to ask your partner for a little bit of time to process the information, and she may very well allow you to do so. But remember that this pregnancy is about both of you. 
  • Telling your partner “your body, your choice, you decide”. Letting her choose for herself is not a bad thing in itself, but most women need to know that their partner cares and supports them. By asking her to choose alone, she may believe that you don’t have a preference regarding the pregnancy or that you don’t care enough to think about it too much. 
  • Saying “I’m not sure we will make it if you keep the baby”. An unexpected pregnancy has the potential to call everything into question concerning your life and your relationship. You might face a great deal of doubt, especially if your relationship is shaky. Will you be able to make it? Or will this baby be too much to handle? It’s perfectly normal to not know and to feel scared. However, being clear in your intentions and the way you formulate them may make a great difference in her own reaction. You may not know what the future holds, but you have the ability to decide what you want to fight for. 
  • Guilt-tripping her by saying things like “you must have forgotten to take your birth control pill, so it’s your fault”. She might indeed have forgotten, but in all likelihood, you both decided to have sex. Therefore, you are both responsible for this pregnancy. Saying those types of things, even jokingly, may cause great harm and add unnecessary pressure to the situation.

Unexpected Pregnancy

What She Needs From You When Facing An Unexpected Pregnancy

So how should you react to an unplanned pregnancy? First, understand that your partner probably feels the same strong emotions as you. Take the time to listen to her and show clear support. It’s not wrong to express your vulnerability, but do not say “I don’t know”, “I’m not sure” or “you choose”. Instead, say something such as “I may feel scared right now, but I make the decision to be there for you because I love you. We will do our best to make it together”. 

Additionally, try to put things into perspective and to ask yourself what really scares you. Is it just the pregnancy or something deeper? In the end, you don’t have to have all the answers, and that’s alright. If you want to get support, you can reach out to us. Lifeline has a program called DadLine that is specifically designed for current and expectant dads. You can schedule an appointment right now with one of our fatherhood mentors, and we will be glad to help! You don’t have to face this alone.

Resources:

https://www.guttmacher.org/journals/psrh/2005/reasons-us-women-have-abortions-quantitative-and-qualitative-perspectives

What If You Are Being Pressured To Have An Abortion?

An unexpected pregnancy always comes with a little bit of shock and confusion. This can be tricky to navigate when you feel pressure (intentional or not) from your partner. In the decision-making process, you first need to be aware of the different types of pressure you may face. 

Recognize The Different Types of Pressure

Types of Pressure

Pressure can come in more or less insidious forms. It can be direct, indirect, or situational. 

  • Direct pressure:

This is when a woman’s partner acts in a straightforward manner by clearly telling her to terminate the pregnancy. He may not give her any choice and might even get violent with her (verbally and physically) if she refuses to have the abortion.

  • Indirect pressure:

This one is more subtle but can be just as persuasive when it comes to making someone opt for abortion. And the sad thing is, the partner may not even be aware of the possible negative consequences his words and actions can have. For instance, he may say things like “I don’t know if our relationship will make it if you keep the baby”, or he may disappear at the announcement of the pregnancy, or constantly change his mind about what he wants. The key point here is that by not being clear about his intentions, he may plant the seed of doubt in his partner’s mind. The latter might think that she should have an abortion in order to make him happy. Or she might convince herself that she changed her mind on her own.

  • Situational pressure:

Lastly, there is situational pressure, that can be quite tricky to pinpoint. This happens when a woman starts imagining her future and becomes scared. She may not have had a dad growing up, therefore, she may not want to inflict the same traumatic experience on her own child, in case her partner leaves her. Or she might be fearful of financial impacts or how she will be able to accomplish the goals she sat for herself while raising a child. 

All types of pressure may create fear. But the pregnancy in itself may not even be the real issue. Instead, the problem and the root cause of pressure are sometimes found deeper, in the person’s emotions, upbringing, or level of information. Above all, there are some strategies you can implement if you think your partner is pressuring you into having an abortion.

What To Do When You Feel Pressured To Have An Abortion

Pressured Abortion

  • Get informed:

Get informed about options from local organizations that can support you, as well as about pregnancy in general. Lifeline, for example, offers pregnancy and parenting education, ultrasounds, material resources, a program for dads, and much more, all at no cost. You can learn more about our services right now.

  • Give your partner some time:

Give him time to process the news of your pregnancy as he may feel overwhelmed too. Talk to him about what you have learned. Offer for him to accompany you to an ultrasound so he can see the developing baby and listen to the baby’s heartbeat (if you are far enough along). This may open his eyes to the fact that you are indeed carrying life inside you.

  • Get support:

In order to make the best decision for yourself, you need to know that you are not alone. Find someone who will listen to you and give you space to process your feelings, not tell you what they think you should do. That could be a friend, a family member, or someone else. At Lifeline, our professional counselor receives both men and women to discuss pregnancy, parenting, and relationships in general. Our sessions are strictly confidential and at no cost

  • Ask yourself questions:

What yourself what you really want for your future. Panic can easily set in at the discovery of an unexpected pregnancy. This is why it’s important to put things into perspective. Ask yourself “What do I really want for my life and not just for this moment in time?”. “How will I feel if I decide to have an abortion because someone forced me?”

  • Know what the law says:

Ultimately, you need to know what your rights are and what your partner can and cannot do, especially if he perseveres in wanting you to abort. What if he becomes violent? How should you react if he threatens you to take your other kids from you if you don’t listen to him?

What The Law Says

Law forced abortion

First, you need to know that forcing someone to have an abortion is never okay. It is considered coercion and coercion is illegal. “Most states have criminal charges for coercion and also allow for civil action by district attorneys or Attorneys General”. 

In addition, coercion is a form of abuse, as defined by Missouri’s Domestic Violence Act. Coercion is the act of “Compelling a person by force or threat of force to engage in conduct from which the person has a right to abstain or to abstain from conduct in which the person has a right to engage.” So if you are feeling scared and threatened by your partner, whether physically or emotionally, Missouri’s law allows you to request an order of protection. To do that, you will need to fill out a form

  • What about your other children?

Now, what if your partner intimidates you by saying he will take your other children away from you if you do not obey him? Doing so without your consent is illegal and you can request an emergency custody order. As for normal custody, judges make decisions according to the child’s best interest. They review several factors, including “The mental and physical health of all individuals involved, including any history of abuse of any individuals involved”. Moreover, if you and your partner are not married, you have a higher chance to obtain custody than him, as “in Missouri, custody of a child whose parents are not married is most often granted to the mother.”

Lastly, if you have already made an appointment for an abortion, you are allowed to withhold or withdraw your consentwithout affecting [your] rights to future care or treatment and without the loss of any state or federally funded benefits to which [you] might otherwise be entitled.”

Even if you have initiated a medical abortion by taking the first abortion pill, it may not be too late. Lifeline offers abortion pill reversal at no cost. You can read more about the process by checking this FAQ. For more free services such as pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and counseling sessions, contact us to make an appointment. We are here to help you!

*Please note this information in no way constitutes legal advice, nor does Lifeline ever offer legal advice. This information is for informational purposes only. Lifeline will help you find legal representation should you need to discuss this matter with a legal professional. 

Resources:

https://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/what-is-coercion-law.html#:~:text=State%20Coercion%20Laws&text=The%20statutory%20definition%20of%20coercion,force%20was%20used%20or%20threatened.

https://www.courts.mo.gov/file.jsp?id=69655

https://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=533

https://www.womenslaw.org/laws/mo/parental-kidnapping?open_id=36295

https://cordellcordell.com/resources/missouri/missouri-child-custody-questions/

https://legalbeagle.com/6311941-missouri-custody-rights-unmarried-parents.html

https://health.mo.gov/living/families/womenshealth/pregnancyassistance/pdf/InformedConsentChecklist.pdf

Can I Change My Mind In The Middle Of A Medical Abortion?

Sure enough, the pregnancy test came out positive. And it’s not something you wanted, least of all expected. So after contemplating your options, you decided to have a medical abortion. You took the first abortion pill, but now you find yourself hesitant. Your thoughts are scattered and you are not so sure about wanting to do this anymore. Is there a way out? Can you still change your mind?

The answer is yes.

Change mind medical abortion

Women Do Change Their Minds During Medical Abortions

From June 24, 2012 to June 21, 2016, 1,668 calls were received by the hotline from women who had taken mifepristone and were interested in reversal. Think about it. That is more than one woman a day. And these statistics are only about women who:

  1. Were having medical abortions instead of surgical ones (the later may also change their minds and decide to not keep their planned appointment. And since medical abortion accounts for only about 39%, think about how many more women may reconsider abortion),
  2. Decided to reach out to that specific hotline.

So you are not the first one to go through this, and you most certainly won’t be the last. Women DO really change their minds during an abortion, for whatever reason that may be. And you know what? Some even do so after completing the entire medical abortion process (a medical abortion involves two pills: mifepristone and misoprostol. Read “How the abortion pill really works” to learn more about it) and realizing they are still pregnant.

According to a study analyzing the effectiveness of medical abortion, 10% of women (9 out of 89) who still had a viable pregnancy after taking misoprostol made this choice. So why does that happen? Why are you experiencing so much confusion?

Brain and stress

How Our Brains Perceive And React To Stressful Events

Our brains don’t like stress, because stress can wreak havoc on our health in the long-term. And the essence of stress is uncertainty. When we face an unexpected situation, we see it as a threat. And our brain’s reaction is to want to eliminate that threat. We ask ourselves “how can I safeguard my future physical, mental and social wellbeing”, and then we act accordingly. The downside is that when we perceive a threat, it’s as if we had a red light flashing at us and were unable to think rationally. Our prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for planning and decision-making shuts down: “Complex decision-making disappears, as does our access to multiple perspectives. As our attention narrows, we find ourselves trapped in the one perspective that makes us feel the most safe“.

What does it have to do with your current pregnancy? Everything. You see, we often see an unplanned pregnancy as a threat. It is a sudden intrusion that you did not want, and that you maybe even actively tried to prevent by using contraception (just like 50% of women going through abortion). But it didn’t work, and you felt that the baby would shatter your entire life. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be so black or white. You don’t have to choose between your dreams and your baby. You can still go back and choose both, because you are not alone.

Change mind abortion

What Is Abortion Pill Reversal?

Abortion Pill Reversal is a protocol that has been designed by researchers and physicians for women like you, who initiated a medical abortion and changed their minds. It works by taking progesterone, the natural hormone essential for pregnancy that is being blocked by the abortion pill.

If you want to reverse an abortion, though, you need to receive the first dose of progesterone in the following 24 to 72 hours after taking mifepristone. The sooner you start the abortion pill reversal protocol, the higher your chances of saving your pregnancy.

You can read more about the abortion pill reversal process and what you should expect when you come to Lifeline.

Now, maybe you still don’t feel ready to have a baby. That is okay. You don’t have to have all the answers or feel prepared enough right away. At Lifeline, we provide many services at no cost, ranging from confidential counseling, parenting classes, support for dads, to adoption and other referrals. We are here for you!

Resources:

https://pwhcenters.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/ABPillReversal_CDM_040618.pdf

https://www.guttmacher.org/evidence-you-can-use/medication-abortion

https://escholarship.org/uc/item/73s041cf

https://lifelinepregnancyhelp.org/how-abortion-pill-works

https://hbr.org/2015/12/calming-your-brain-during-conflict

https://www.guttmacher.org/news-release/2018/about-half-us-abortion-patients-report-using-contraception-month-they-became

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301008217300369

https://www.abortionpillreversal.com/abortion-pill-reversal/faq

You Can Have An Abortion Pill Reversal At Lifeline!

Are you looking for help because you took the first abortion pill but now you aren’t sure you want to go through with the abortion anymore? There is protocol called abortion pill reversal, but it is time sensitive. You should start the reversal in 24 to 72h after taking the first abortion pill. Here is what you can expect when you come to Lifeline for an abortion reversal. (If you are unable to come to Lifeline, call the hotline of Heartbeat International at (877) 558 0333. They will help you find another clinic near you that offers this service.)

Reversal Lifeline

Steps To Follow And What You Should Expect

For an abortion pill reversal at Lifeline:

  • Call us at (660) 665 5688 or the national hotline at (877) 558 0333.
  • When you arrive at the clinic, one of our nurses will perform an ultrasound to check whether the pregnancy is still viable. If not, we will refer you to your physician for follow-up care. If the developing baby is fine, you will be given your first dose of progesterone.
  • Are you allergic to peanuts? Please let us know immediately as progesterone tablets contain peanut oil. Alternative options are available.
  • Once you have taken the first dose of progesterone, you will need to take a second dose within 24 hours and you will be asked to come back for a repeat ultrasound in three days.
  • Following your second ultrasound to make sure the pregnancy is still ongoing, you will be prescribed more progesterone to take until the end of the first trimester of pregnancy.

We want to make sure that you will be well taken care of. For this reason and because the process is time sensitive, two staff members will always be on call even on weekends.

Do you have more questions about the abortion pill reversal protocol? Check out this FAQ for answers. 

After the reversal

What About After The Reversal?

Now that you decided to continue your pregnancy, what’s next? Maybe you still don’t feel ready to raise a child. Whether you choose to parent or to make an adoption plan, you have options at Lifeline. All our services are available to you at no cost and include parenting classes, material support, confidential counseling sessions, adoption referrals and more. We are here for you every step of the way.

Resources:

https://lifelinepregnancyhelp.org/abortion-pill-reversal-explained/

https://www.abortionpillreversal.com/abortion-pill-reversal/faq

Abortion Pill Reversal Explained

Have you taken the first abortion pill but are now having second thoughts? It might not be too late! There is a protocol called “abortion pill reversal”, but you need to act quickly! If you live in Kirksville or its surrounding communities, you can call Lifeline to find out more about this possibility. Otherwise, you can contact the hotline of Heartbeat International at (877) 558 0333. They will help you find a clinic that is closer to you.

Medical Abortion

How The Abortion Pill Works

To fully understand the mechanism, let’s first have a look at how the abortion pill works. Mifepristone is a progesterone antagonist, meaning that it blocks your natural hormone progesterone that is essential for pregnancy. Soon after mifepristone enters your body, it binds to your progesterone receptors. Therefore, it makes it more difficult for the real progesterone to be adsorbed. As a consequence, the lining of your uterus starts to break down and the developing baby dies (because she stops receiving the nutrients and oxygen necessary for survival).

Abortion Reversal

How The Abortion Pill Reversal Works

Knowing that, researchers and physicians established that giving progesterone can reverse the effect of mifepristone. The bottom line is that by supplying you with extra progesterone, it may be able to outnumber and outcompete the chemical mifepristone, thus allowing the pregnancy to go on.

If you want to reverse an abortion, though, you need to receive the first dose of progesterone in the following 24h to 72h after taking mifepristone. The sooner you start the protocol, the higher your chances of saving your pregnancy.

Abortion Reversal Effective

Is It Really Effective?

A study that came out in 2018 has shown a 64-68% success rate. The mifepristone in itself might fail to abort (that is why misoprostol is also prescribed), but the reversal protocol can increase your chances of continuing your pregnancy.

In addition, another study found that progesterone can be effective in preventing miscarriage, especially in women with a history of previous miscarriages. Researchers did not observe an increase in birth defects. 

You can read more about the specifics of the abortion pill reversal protocol in this FAQ, as well as testimonies of success stories

Abortion Reversal Safe?

Is It Really Safe?

You may have heard about a clinical trial that stopped prematurely because three of its participants experienced heavy bleeding. To this study, the OB-GYN Poppy Daniels replied that “the actual danger posed to women isn’t abortion pill reversal” and that “The Abortion Pill Reversal protocol is simple and elegant in its design. There is a strong biological basis for this protocol because it is based on reproductive physiology. There is starting to be a bigger body of successful reversals”. You can read her full response to get a better understanding of the issue. 

In any case, the choice of attempting an abortion reversal belongs to you. Lifeline is here to support you. Learn about what to expect if you choose to attempt an abortion pill reversal. If you wish to continue your pregnancy but don’t feel ready to welcome a baby, you can also check out our other free services. They range from parenting classes, free baby items, to adoption referrals and confidential counseling sessions.

Resources:

https://www.abortionpillreversal.com/abortion-pill-reversal/faq

https://lifelinepregnancyhelp.org/how-abortion-pill-works

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30831017/

https://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(19)32762-0/fulltext

https://www.abortionpillreversal.com/abortion-pill-reversal/success-stories

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03774745

https://pregnancyhelpnews.com/ob-gyn-debunks-pro-abortion-study-and-media-cover-up-defends-abortion-pill-reversal

How The Abortion Pill Really Works

Abortion pill, medical abortion, RU-486… You’ve probably encountered these words before, especially if you’ve ever considered ending a pregnancy. Maybe you typed them in Google and found basic answers on how to use it, up to what week of pregnancy and what side effects to expect. But would you like to dig deeper and truly understand the ins and outs of the abortion pill? If so, you first need to know the story of your body. Hang in there because we promise you, it’s captivating.

You Are Your Hormones

Your body is complex, coordinated and resilient… and it is composed of about 30 trillion cells. Yes, trillions. Since all these cells must communicate for your body to function properly, you are equipped with two great communication systems: the nervous system, and the endocrine system. The nervous system is like a high-speed rail network whereas your endocrine system (in other words, your hormones) is like a canal network because it is a little slower. * The abortion pill acts upon your hormones, so with this in mind, here’s how hormones work:

  • Different glands in your body (your hypothalamus, your thyroid, your ovaries…) produce different hormones;
  • Hormones travel through your bloodstream to deliver instructions to specific cells located in other parts of the body;
  • Once they arrive at destination, hormones are received by hormones receptors, which act as the “eyes” and “ears” of a cell;
  • If both the right kind of hormone and hormone receptor are present, the two bind together, the instruction is delivered and a particular activity can start in the cell.

While slower, your hormones are just as important as your nervous system! These little chemical messengers control a wide range of bodily functions and also affect your mood and your thoughts. Your reproductive system, for instance, is regulated by hormones.

Menstrual Cycle

The Story of Your Menstrual Cycle

Why do you have your periods every month or so? Because biologically speaking, your body is programmed to reproduce. This means that, except for special situations such as breastfeeding, illness or food scarcity, your body prepares for a potential pregnancy every cycle.

Ovulation is the main event and corresponds to the release of one (or more) egg(s) by your ovaries. Sperm can then fertilize that egg if you have sex. Since each woman is different, it is good to remember that cycles can last anywhere from 21 to 40 days and that ovulation can happen on any day too, not just on day 14.

So how does the cycle work precisely? Well, several hormones are involved and you can memorize the entire process (only if you want to!) with this short acronym: FELOP: **

  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Estrogen
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Ovulation
  • Progesterone

To start with, you have 15 to 20 eggs that begin to mature in your ovaries under the influence of Follicle Stimulating Hormone. Each egg is contained in a follicle, which in turn produces estrogen. When estrogen reaches a peak level, it triggers an abrupt surge of luteinizing hormone, which causes ovulation.

After all this is done, the body can relax, take a seat back and wait to see whether the egg(s) released will get to meet sperm or not. In the meantime, the follicle that enclosed the egg transforms into what is called corpus luteum or “yellow body”. It will stay alive for about 12 to 16 days (unless pregnancy occurs) to release progesterone.

Progesterone

 

What Does Progesterone Do?

So what is this progesterone for? Along with estrogen, progesterone is one of the most popular female hormones. Although it is also present in men to help with sperm production, as a woman you have more of it especially after ovulation and during pregnancy. If fact, it is vital for pregnancy, so the abortion pill works by being an obstacle to it.

  • After ovulation:

 The progesterone produced by the corpus luteum preps the uterine lining (or endometrium) for the implantation of the embryo, which happens about a week after fertilization.

  • During pregnancy:

If fertilization happens, the corpus luteum doesn’t disintegrate and continues to produce progesterone until the placenta forms and takes over. The progesterone prevents the release of other eggs, which protects you against multiple pregnancies. And it also protects the brand new life growing inside you. It prompts the endometrium to provide nutrients and oxygen to the developing baby, and it allows the uterus to grow without having contractions, meaning, without expelling the embryo.

You guessed it. This natural mechanism is exactly what the abortion pill interferes with.

Abortion Pill

Here Comes The Abortion Pill

The term “abortion pill” can be a bit misleading because it actually consists of two pills: mifepristone and misoprostol:

  • Mifepristone (also called RU-486 or Mifeprex, the brand name) was developed in France in the 1980s. The FDA later approved it for use in the US in 2000. This first pill blocks the hormone progesterone. Think of mifepristone as a hacker. It comes in disguise and deceives the progesterone receptors in order to bind to them instead of the real progesterone. As a consequence, no chemical reaction can occur and the lining of the uterus, to which the developing baby was attached, breaks down. Most of the time, you will read that “mifepristone stops the pregnancy from growing”. But what it means exactly is that the little human growing inside you is deprived from oxygen and nutrients, and dies as a result. Growth stops because life stops.
  • The second pill, misoprostol, induces uterine contractions, resulting in the expulsion of the embryo.

The entire process lasts only a few days but some severe complications can arise, such as heavy bleeding.

But did you know that the effects of the abortion pill can be reversed? If you have taken the first pill mifepristone and would like to continue your pregnancy, there is hope! Reversing an abortion is a safe but time sensitive method. There is absolutely no fear or shame to change your mind during an abortion. If you happen to be in this situation, Lifeline is here to help you. You can read more about the abortion pill reversal protocol and what to expect at our clinic.

Resources:

* The Truth About Hormones, Vivienne Parry, 2009.

https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/diagnosis/hormone_status/understanding

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/periods/fertility-in-the-menstrual-cycle/

https://lifelinepregnancyhelp.org/pregnancy-myths/

** Taking Charge of Your Fertility, Toni Weschler, 2015.

https://www.healthline.com/health/progesterone-function

https://embryo.asu.edu/pages/development-mifepristone-use-medication-abortions

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320433#what-is-the-corpus-luteum

What You Should Know About Stress In Pregnancy

Stop worrying, it’s not good for the baby”. If you are pregnant and have a tendency to worry, there is a good chance that you have heard these words before. And no matter whose mouth they came from, they probably made you frown just a little bit. There is no doubt they were meant as a completely benevolent and innocent piece of advice. But let’s be honest… it’s easier said than done! Instead, being told to “just relax” can cause even more stress, if not some frustration. But there are things you can do to reduce your daily stress. Because although annoying, your relatives have a point when they recommend to lower your stress level. Let’s learn why stress during pregnancy can easily become your enemy and how to kick it away from your life. Lifeline is here to bring you support. 

Different Kinds of Stress

The stress you feel can originate from an array of different factors.

  • First, there is “psychosocial stress”. Stressors are everywhere, and they don’t spare anyone, pregnant or not. Therefore, you may experience stress due to life circumstances such as relational or financial issues, pressure at work, daily hassles and so on.
  • On the other hand, you may also feel “pregnancy-specific distress”. You might be anticipating future prenatal screenings, dreading complications, or the subsequent challenges associated with motherhood. “Will I be a good mom?” or “will my child be in good health?” are both questions you might be asking right now.

Rest assured that stress and anxiety during pregnancy are normal. The Journal of Women’s Health estimates that about 8 to 10 percent of pregnant women experience perinatal anxiety. However, both kinds of stress can be harmful when they last for a longer period of time. Prolonged stress could potentially be  dangerous when it occurs early in pregnancy.

How Stress Affects Your Pregnancy

A lot of things happen during pregnancy. In order to sustain a healthy pregnancy, your body has to go through a series of adaptations that involve your hormones, your immune and nervous systems. Unfortunately, some of the hormonal changes you experience can make it more difficult for you to handle stress

Which is bad news, because prolonged stress during pregnancy has been found to disrupt these necessary physiological adaptations. Prolonged stress can affect your baby’s health and development via both direct and indirect pathways:

  • Indirectly, it increases the risk of a preterm birth or a low birth rate. And both complications are linked to potential short (breathing issues, low body temperature…) and long-term complications (cerebral palsy, hearing of vision problems…).
  • Directly, it raises the amount of stress hormone in the amniotic fluid, resulting in growth acceleration for the baby. And “an excessive acceleration of growth may occur at the expense of the proper maturation of the organs,”. A high concentration of stress hormones in the amniotic fluid can also alter the development of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory.

But none of these things have to happen! According to scientists, potential negative outcomes of stress can be neutralized by the secure bond between mother and child. And even during pregnancy, you can reduce stress and find solace.

How to Kiss Stress Goodbye

Finding relief from stress while pregnant is definitely possible. Here are some suggestions you may want to try to implement in your daily life:

  • Talk to someone and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes, being able to express your feelings to someone you trust can help make the pressure on your shoulders go away. At Lifeline, we offer confidential counseling sessions with a professional counselor. Don’t forget that you are also allowed to ask friends or relatives for help when it comes to planning for the baby’s arrival or anything else you need assistance with.
  • Take some alone time to rest your mind. Spend a few minutes doing something that relaxes you, such as listening to music (it lowers cortisol levels!), reading inspirational writings and meditating on it, journaling, etc.
  • Try to stay healthy by having a good diet, quality sleep and the right amount of exercise. You don’t have to overdo it, especially in the later trimesters. Instead you can just go for a walk.
  • If you are worried about labor and infant care, try to learn as much as you can about it. Knowing what to expect can help demystify the process and thus reduce your stress. Don’t have the necessary resources? No worries! Our program “Earn While You Learn allows you to gain knowledge on many different subjects for free, as well as benefit from our baby boutique.
  • Talk to your doctor if your stress gets out of control. He or she could prescribe you some medications that are safe to take in order to help you cope with stress.

No matter what you are going through, remember that you are not alone. Lifeline is  here to support you during your pregnancy. Find out more about our free services here, and book an appointment with us!

Resources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/anxiety-coping-tips

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5052760/

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=90&contentid=p02382

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premature-birth/symptoms-causes/syc-20376730

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170529090530.htm

https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/stress-during-pregnancy#takeaway

Enceinte pendant le coronavirus : comment prendre soin de vous et de votre bébé

Il faudrait que vous viviez sur une autre planète pour ne pas avoir entendu parler du fameux coronavirus (ou COVID-19) qui sévit actuellement dans le monde entier. Mais que savez-vous réellement sur ce virus et son impact sur la santé ? En temps que femme enceinte, comment prendre soin de vous et de votre bébé pendant le coronavirus ?

Carte du monde et coronavirus

Comprendre ce qu’est le COVID-19 :

Le coronavirus dont tout le monde parle est apparu pour la première fois à Wuhan en Chine à la fin de l’année 2019. Il s’est ensuite rapidement répandu dans le reste du monde. Présent dans chaque état des Etats-Unis, 11 cas on été officiellement recensés dans le comté d’Adair County dans le Missouri au 13 avril 2020.

Le COVID-19 est un nouveau virus mais non pas une nouvelle forme de virus. En effet, il existe plusieurs centaines de coronavirus. Ils tirent leur nom des protéines en forme de pointes à leur surface qui font penser aux extrémités d’une couronne. Malgré leur existence de zombie (partagée par tous les virus) et leur capacité à infecter des milliers de cellules humaines en un rien de temps, les coronavirus ne sont généralement pas mortels. Le plus souvent, ils ne provoquent que des symptômes d’intensité faible à modérée en affectant les voies respiratoires supérieures. Le rhume saisonnier est un exemple de coronavirus. Toutefois, 3 de ces virus ont été particulièrement médiatisés depuis 2002 du fait de leur létalité. Le virus SARS de 2012 en fait partie. 

Le nouveau COVID-19 préoccupe pour deux raisons en particulier :

  • Il est extrêmement contagieux car il séjourne dans les voies respiratoires supérieures (composées du nez, des fosses nasales, de la bouche et du pharynx). Par conséquent, il peut aisément se propager d’une personne à l’autre lorsque l’on tousse ou éternue.
  • Il reste très énigmatique. Les chercheurs ne comprennent pas encore totalement son mode de fonctionnement (certaines personnes ont par exemple reporté avoir perdu leurs sens du goût et de l’odorat, ce qui pourrait être un indicateur de l’infection) et ne savent pas s’il pourrait avoir des conséquences sur la santé à long-terme. Par ailleurs, il n’existe pas encore de vaccin.

Les symptômes du coronavirus

Les symptômes du COVID-19 :

L’infection au coronavirus entraîne des maux de gorge, une toux, une fièvre, ainsi qu’un essoufflement. Ces symptômes apparaissent généralement dans les 2 à 14 jours suivant la contamination. Des symptômes plus sérieux tels d’une détresse respiratoire ou une douleur persistante dans la poitrine peuvent également survenir. Ces derniers doivent être pris en charge immédiatement. Pour plus d’information et pour vous tenir informée, n’hésitez pas à consulter le site du gouvernement français.

En ces temps troublés, se tenir informés est important. La bonne nouvelle est que tout n’est pas perdu car il y a de l’espoir !

Femme enceinte et coronavirus

Le COVID-19 et la femme enceinte :

Etes-vous plus vulnérable au nouveau coronavirus si vous êtes enceinte ? Pendant longtemps, les scientifiques ont pensé que le système immunitaire des femmes était fortement affaibli lors de la grossesse dans le but d’éviter le rejet du bébé par le corps de la mère, qui le considérerait comme un « corps étranger ». Pourtant, les chercheurs ont récemment conclu que ce modèle était erroné. Le journal américain de l’immunologie reproductive (American Journal of Reproductive Immunology) a déclaré que « même si la présence du placenta modifie le système immunitaire, celui-ci n’est pas supprimé et les femmes enceintes sont tout à fait capables d’avoir des réponses immunitaires fortes lorsque la mère ou le fœtus est en danger ».

Il est vrai que les femmes enceintes sont plus sévèrement affectées par certains virus tels que ceux de la grippe, de l’hépatite E et de l’herpès. Néanmoins cela ne signifie pas que vous êtes automatiquement plus à risque. Au moment de la rédaction de cet article, le CDC ne sait toujours pas si les femmes enceintes ont un risque plus élevé de tomber malade. Toutefois, il n’inclut pas non plus celles-ci dans sa liste des groupes à risque face au coronavirus. Dans cette liste, on peut trouver les personnes âgées, celles avec de l’asthme, du diabète, le SIDA, ou encore ayant des maladies du foie. (Retrouvez la liste en français sur le site du ministère des solidarités et de la santé français) L’autre bonne nouvelle est que, toujours d’après le CDC, les femmes enceintes contaminées par le virus ne semblent pas avoir davantage de complications que les autres femmes infectées.

Coronavirus et le bébé à naître

Le COVID-19 et le bébé à naître :

Enfin, même si la recherche reste limitée, les experts ont déclaré ne pas avoir trouvé de preuve suggérant que le nouveau coronavirus pourrait se transmettre de la femme enceinte à son bébé. Jusqu’à présent, un seul nouveau-né à été testé positif au coronavirus quelques minutes après l’accouchement, mais les médecins ne savent pas comment la contamination s’est produite. Plus d’informations sont nécessaires sur les circonstances de l’accouchement et les mesures d’hygiène qui ont été prises.

De plus, aucun symptôme aggravant (tel qu’une détresse respiratoire ou une fonction hépatique anormale) n’a été constaté chez les bébés infectés.

Si votre grossesse arrive à sa fin, sachez qu’aucune des deux méthodes d’accouchement (par voie basse ou par césarienne) n’est actuellement recommandée par les experts. Ces derniers ne savent pas encore si l’une ou l’autre présente moins de risques de transmission dans le cas où la mère est infectée. Il est probable que vous ayez besoin d’être séparée de votre bébé après la naissance pour éviter tout risque de contamination. Quant au lait maternel, le CDC a déclaré que le virus n’a pour l’instant pas été détecté dans celui-ci et qu’il n’est pas encore clair si les femmes malades peuvent transmettre le virus par l’allaitement.

Comment prendre soin de vous pendant le coronavirus

Quelles sont les mesures de précaution à prendre ?

Le CDC recommande aux femmes enceintes de :

  • Se couvrir la bouche au moment de tousser (préférablement avec votre coude),
  • D’éviter tout contact avec les personnes malades,
  • De se laver les mains au savon et à l’eau ou à l’aide d’un gel hydroalcoolique,
  • De rester en contact avec votre gynécologue obstétricien, de repousser si possible les visites non essentielles ou les effectuer par téléphone.

Il est également fortement conseillé aux femmes enceintes de rester à la maison, étant donné que notre compréhension du virus reste encore incomplète.

Nous espérons que ces informations pourront vous être utiles en ces temps difficiles. Doit-on paniquer ? Non, car il est tout à fait possible de se protéger. Par ailleurs, les experts sont convaincus que malgré les connaissances limitées, il y a des raisons d’être rassurés, même en étant enceinte.

Si vous avez des questions par rapport à votre grossesse ou à la parentalité, la clinique Lifeline reste ouverte aux heures habituelles. Des mesures de sécurité sont mises en place pour prévenir les contaminations mais vous pouvez nous contacter par téléphone au (660) 665-5688.

Sources :

https://www.gouvernement.fr/info-coronavirus

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/23/coronavirus-isnt-alive-thats-why-its-so-hard-kill/?outputType=amp

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263743803_Understanding_the_Complexity_of_the_Immune_System_during_Pregnancy

https://solidarites-sante.gouv.fr/actualites/actualites-du-ministere/article/coronavirus-qui-sont-les-personnes-fragiles

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/if-youre-pregnant-heres-what-to-know-about-the-coronavirus#Which-is-safer:-C-section-or-vaginal-birth?

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html

How To Care For Yourself And Your Baby During COVID-19

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately (and if that’s the case, good for you, given the circumstances!), you’ve most likely heard about COVID-19, aka the new coronavirus that has been wreaking the world havoc in the past few weeks and months. But what is it exactly and more importantly, how does it impact you, as a pregnant woman? What should you do to care for yourself and your baby during COVID-19?

COVID-19 in the world

COVID-19 101:

The coronavirus everyone talks about appeared first in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019. It then spread rapidly to the rest of the world and is now affecting every state of the US. As of April 13, 11 cases have been reported in Adair County, Missouri.

COVID-19 is a new virus but not a new form of virus, as there are actually hundreds of them in the family. They are called “coronaviruses” because of the protein spikes at their surface that look like points of a crown. Despite their scary zombie-like existence (typical of any virus) and their ability to hijack thousands of human cells rapidly, coronaviruses usually only cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory illnesses in people. For instance, the common cold is a coronavirus. However, since 2002, 3 of these viruses have become popular due to their lethality, including SARS in 2012.

The new COVID-19 is particularly preoccupying for a couple of reasons:

Symptoms of COVID-19

Symptoms of COVID-19:

As for symptoms, they present themselves in the form of a fever, a cough, and shortness of breath. They usually appear from 2 to 14 days following exposure. More serious symptoms require immediate medical attention. They include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, and more. You can learn about other symptoms and stay updated by checking the CDC website. Because even if we’re still lacking information on the virus, knowledge remains power!

And as a pregnant woman, you need power. The good news is that all is not lost and that there IS hope.

Care for yourself during COVID-19

COVID-19 and the pregnant woman:

Are you more at risk of contracting COVID-19 if you are pregnant? For a long time, scientists thought that women’s immune system was highly suppressed during pregnancy in order to prevent the rejection of the baby, which would otherwise be considered a “foreign body”. Yet, research has recently come to the conclusion that this model was erroneous. The American Journal of Reproductive Immunology wrote that “while the presence of the placenta changes and adapts the immune system to pregnancy, it is not suppressed and pregnant women are very much capable of having robust immune responses when mother and/or fetus are at risk.”

It is true that pregnant women are more severely affected by certain viruses such as Influenza A (the flu), hepatitis E and herpes than non-pregnant women. However, it does not automatically mean that you are more at risk. As of the time of this writing, in spite of not knowing if pregnant women have a greater risk of getting sick, the CDC does not put pregnant women in its list of people who are at higher risk for COVID-19. That list contains the elderly, people with asthma, people with HIV and those at higher risk for severe illness (diabetes, serious heart conditions, liver disease, and more). The other good news is that according to the CDC, women do not appear to become sicker from the virus than their non-pregnant counterparts.

Care for your baby during COVID-19

COVID-19 and the unborn baby:

Last but not the least, should you worry for your unborn baby if you are pregnant during COVID-19? Even though the research is still limited, experts say they don’t see evidence that the new COVID-19 can be transmitted to the baby in utero. So far, only one newborn baby was tested positive for the disease right after being born, but it is unclear how it contracted the virus. More information is needed about the circumstances of the delivery and the safety measures that were taken.

Furthermore, even if contaminated, newborn babies were not found to have any adverse effects such as respiratory distress or abnormal liver functions.

If you are about to give birth soon, know that no mode of delivery (vaginal birth of C-section) is recommended so far. Experts say that there’s no proof that either method is safer when it comes to avoiding the transmission of the virus to the baby if the mother is infected. After birth, you may need to be isolated from your baby to prevent any risk of infection. According to the CDC, “the virus has not been detected in breast milk; however, we do not know whether mothers with COVID-19 can transmit the virus via breast milk.

Protect yourself against COVID-19

So what should you do?

The recommended precautions for pregnant women are to:

  • Cover your cough,
  • Avoid people who are sick,
  • Clean your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer,
  • Stay in contact with your OB-GYN and space out your appointments if possible, or conduct them remotely in order to avoid exposure to the virus.

It is also greatly advised for pregnant women to stay at home, as we still don’t know the full story of COVID-19.

We hope that this information helps you in these troubled days. Is it time to panic? No, because avoiding the epidemic and staying safe is more than possible. Besides, health experts say that despite the limited data, there are reasons to stay reassured, even when pregnant. If you have any questions relative to pregnancy and parenting, Lifeline is still open during our regular hours. Precautionary measures are taken to avoid contamination, but you can give us a phone call at (660) 665-5688.

Resources:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html

https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/coronaviruses

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/23/coronavirus-isnt-alive-thats-why-its-so-hard-kill/?outputType=amp

https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-symptoms-loss-of-smell-taste-covid-19-anosmia-hyposmia-2020-3

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263743803_Understanding_the_Complexity_of_the_Immune_System_during_Pregnancy

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-at-higher-risk.html

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/if-youre-pregnant-heres-what-to-know-about-the-coronavirus#What-steps-should-I-be-taking-now?

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html

First Lifeline Appointment: What To Expect

You’ve called or made an appointment online. You walk into Lifeline aaaand…then what?

If you’ve never been to a pregnancy clinic like Lifeline before, you might feel a little nervous or unsure. Do I need to drink a ton of water and have a full bladder going in? Will I be judged? Should I bring my insurance card? What should I expect at my first Lifeline appointment?

Have no fear, we’ll answer all those questions for you! First, know that help is here for you at Lifeline. We’re here to listen, encourage, and support you. From the moment you step inside, we hope you feel like you’re in a safe place where you can just be yourself, ask all your questions, and let us know how we can best help you. All are welcome regardless of their race, religion, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation.  Everyone needs an extra hand sometimes, and we want to extend ours, free of judgement!

WHERE TO GO

  • Lifeline is located at 1515 N New St., Kirksville, MO. If you’re familiar with the Kirksville area, we’re right behind Auto Zone off of Baltimore St./ Business Hwy 63.
  • Park in the Client/Expecting Mom/New Mom spots (VIP parking!).
  • Enter through the front door and you’ll hear a happy chime and see a friendly face at the front desk ready to check you in. Just let our receptionist know your name and she’ll make sure our nurses know you’ve arrived.

WHEN TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT

If you are coming for a pregnancy test, we recommend you to wait until the week after your missed period in order to make sure that you don’t get a false negative, as it can take a little while for the pregnancy hormone to be detectable by the tests.

WHAT TO BRING

  • All new clients will need to bring a photo ID and a social security card. The photo ID could be a driver’s license or permit, a school ID, a passport, or any other official ID that has your photo and legal name. This just helps us make sure our clinic is safe and secure for everybody. If you don’t have these documents, please give us a call before the appointment so we can find an alternative and ensure that you will be able to receive our care anyway.
  • Are you coming for a pregnancy-related service and you have already seen a physician? Bring your proof of pregnancy document with you. If you don’t have it yet, no worries as we can provide it for you after a pregnancy test.
  • If you’re coming for a pregnancy test or an ultrasound, arrive with a full bladder. The pregnancy test requires a urine sample from you, and having a full bladder for an ultrasound allows the nurse to get a better picture of the reproductive system. Don’t worry, we’ll let you relieve yourself as soon as possible!
  • Feel free to bring your significant other, a friend, or family member. We want you to have the support from loved ones that you need! The nurse will ask to talk with you individually at first just to make sure you have the opportunity to ask any questions or share private information that you wouldn’t want to share with your friends and family. But soon your loved ones will be able to join you to learn more about our programs and about your pregnancy situation and ask any questions they might have. We even offer Dadline, a fatherhood mentorship program designed just for expecting/new dads. If you are pregnant or a new mom and the father of your baby wants to learn more about being a dad, our nurse can give him more information on that program.

 WHAT NOT TO BRING

  • You won’t need to bring any form of payment, because all of our services are offered at no charge (celebrate good times, come on)!
  • Insurance information is not needed for our services.
  • Please leave food and drinks at home or in the car so we can keep our clinic clean for everybody.

WHAT TO DO

  • Our receptionist will have you fill out some paperwork when you arrive. Nothing super long, just your name, date of birth, date of your last menstrual period (if that applies to the type of appointment you are here for), and other basic info.
  • Whenever the nurse is ready, she’ll take you back to one of our comfy client rooms. No stark white walls, no obnoxiously bright lights. Just a cozy room with plush chairs, colorful designs, and plenty of privacy for you to talk one-on-one with a registered nurse who wants to help you. She’ll go through some more questions with you about your pregnancy or potential pregnancy, medical history, and what resources are available to further assist you. Your honest answers will allow her to best help you.

FOR PREGNANCY TESTS

  • The nurse will show you the private bathroom, and you’ll go in to provide a urine sample in a cup.
  • When you’re finished, the nurse will test your urine for HCG (a pregnancy hormone) with a medical-grade pregnancy test.
  • If the test is positive, she’ll discuss your options with you and let you know about all the resources available at our clinic, like our Earn While You Learn program. She’ll also refer you to other helpful community resources.
  • If the test is negative, the nurse will still be happy to share information about our programs or community referrals if you want to know more. And, whatever the test result, whether you want to shout for joy or need time to process the situation, the nurse will be by your side as long as you want.

FOR ULTRASOUNDS

  • If you’re in the first or second trimester of pregnancy, you might be eligible for an ultrasound at Lifeline.
  • Our nurse will take you back to the ultrasound room, and an additional staff person will accompany you and the nurse for extra support.
  • The exam will start with an abdominal ultrasound (on your belly), and if you’re early on in your pregnancy you will also need a transvaginal ultrasound. The vaginal probe allows us to get a clearer picture when the pregnancy is just getting started.
  • The nurse will use either or both probes to measure the gestational age of the baby (how far along you are), the baby’s heart rate, and to make sure the pregnancy is in the uterus where it’s supposed to be. At Lifeline we don’t diagnose any medical issues or determine the baby’s sex. We’ll refer you to your doctor for those questions.
  • After taking some measurements, the nurse will talk you through what’s going on in your body. You’ll be able to see the screen the whole time.
  • Photos of the ultrasound and measurements will also be reviewed by our medical director, a board-certified OB/GYN. The physician will review everything and we will let you know what sort of care he recommends. You’ll even get to take copies of those photos home with you!

AFTER THE APPOINTMENT

  • If you are interested in receiving more services from us after your initial appointment, we might be able to schedule it right away depending on our availability, and if that is not possible, you will be given the opportunity to make another appointment.
  • We might refer you to other agencies for complimentary services depending on your needs.

YOU’RE NOT ALONE.

Hopefully, this info gives you a better picture of what to expect from your first appointment at Lifeline. If you have any other questions, please give us a call or send an email or text. We want you to have all the information you need to feel at ease. If you haven’t scheduled your appointment yet, click right here

Remember, help is here for you. No judgment. No pressure. Just compassion, information, and resources to help every step of the way.

Find Us

CONTACT US
Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic
1515 N. New St.
Kirksville, MO 63501
Get Directions
Text: 660.851.4350
Call: 660.665.5688
lifelinephc@gmail.com