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August 12, 2014 by Andrea



Finding out that you're pregnant should be a time that's filled with joy, celebration, and anticipation; but, if you're a woman living with sickle cell disease, it can also be at time of concern. Will a crisis harm the baby? Will you be able to carry the baby full-term? Before we break down the answers to those questions and more, let's be clear on the most important thing.

Yes! Women with SCD can most definitely have healthy pregnancies.

But, it's true that there are risks. Pregnancy for any woman is taxing on her body, and for a woman with sickle cell, all that extra physical exertion and exhaustion can lead to crises that occur more often than usual. "If vessels become blocked by sickled cells, body tissues may be deprived of oxygen and die," explains Kimberly Allers Seals (author of The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy) in an article on babycenter.com. "Even minor areas of damage in the placenta may reduce the amount of oxygen and nutrients available for the baby's growth in the womb." Other potential risks include early labor and having a low birth-weight baby.

With proper prenatal care, however, these risks can be lessened. Here are a few tips to ensuring that your SCD pregnancy is a healthy one:

1) Meet with a specialist. Find a doctor in your area who specializes in helping women with SCD through their pregnancies. Be sure to follow all of the doctor's guidelines for rest and diet, as well.

2) Stay hydrated at all times. Just as you would while exercising, be sure to drink plenty of water and take plenty of breaks throughout the day, as needed.

3) Avoid stress. Worrying about your pregnancy isn't going to help matters. Instead, trust your doctor -- and your body -- to know when it's time to rest and recharge. Too much stress is unhealthy for everyone, and for women with SCD, it can lead to a crisis. Take some time to meditate, do some yoga, read, or journal -- all calming activities.

For more information and expert advice, check out this article on Baby Center.

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