Women are often told to slow down a little when they’re pregnant, but work and life can make it tough to do that. Now, one blogger is detailing what can happen when women continue to go full-throttle during their pregnancy: They can end up in the hospital.
That’s what happened to Steph Pase, who wrote an intense post titled “Putting Myself Last Ended Me Up in Hospital” on her website, Just Another Mummy Blog, about her experience. In it, Pase talked about how she started feeling like her body “literally has nothing left to give” while being a pregnant mother of a toddler. Unfortunately, she was right.
Pase said her illness began when she started waking up feeling exhausted. She ignored it, thinking it was normal, but things quickly became worse. One morning, she woke up feeling like she had done an intense workout, even though she hadn’t. Her mother and husband, Ryan, suspected that she had the flu, but, she said, “This was so different. It was nothing at all like a flu ache — it was more intense and a different sensation and I wasn’t sick.”
Pase got sicker each day, so she went to the doctor, where she passed out. “I got to the point that moving any part of my body was quite painful and it would make me light headed then I just fainted,” she said. She was sent to the hospital, where she assumed she would get better. She didn’t.
Back at home, Pase took showers every hour to try to ease her muscle soreness and stiffness, but eventually that stopped working. “I got to a stage that afternoon I physically couldn’t reach my arm out, walk, sit, roll in bed…ANYTHING without Ryan doing it for me because it was such excruciating pain,” she wrote. Eventually, things “got to a point I was too scared to move because of the pain,” she said. “It was like I tore every single muscle in my body I could even feel the muscles I use to chew in my jaw. Everything was stiff and in agony.”
She was sent to the hospital again, where she struggled to use the bathroom, among other basic things. “I couldn’t use my arms, even sign a piece of paper without shuddering in pain,” she said. “I remember laying there in the one position for days and just thinking to myself ‘this seriously cannot be real life.’”
Blood tests didn’t reveal anything, but her doctor pointed out that the body can shut down when a pregnant woman is stressed. “When a body is under a great deal of stress for a long period of time, it can do strange things in order to protect the baby,” Pase said. “It’s as if my body has had to physically force me to stop altogether.”
Pase tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she spent five nights in the hospital, and her doctors are still running tests to try to figure out why her body reacted this way. “I’m much better but still I get sore very easily and don’t have as much energy as I used to,” she says.
It seems crazy that something as simple as being run down during pregnancy can make a woman’s body start to shut down, but Christine Greves, a board-certified ob-gyn at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that it’s possible.
“Pregnancy is a time when your body is physiologically different,” she says. A woman’s blood volume increases and she’s immunosuppressed — all of which can be tough on her body. Pregnancy can also be stressful for women, especially if they’re already busy, she points out. “If you’re not listening to your body and going full-throttle, you can get sick,” she says.
Of course, the best way to keep yourself from getting run down is to avoid doing too much in the first place. It’s hard for doctors to make a blanket statement on what, exactly, that means for every woman, but Greves says it’s important to listen to your body. If you find that you’re tired more than usual, she recommends scaling back on your exercise and trying to squeeze in naps to see where that gets you. It’s also crucial to take time to rest during pregnancy. “That doesn’t mean sitting down and drinking a cup of coffee to be able to go at it again — it’s genuinely propping your feet up and relaxing,” Greves says.
If you’re pregnant and feel like you have the flu or are just really run down, Greves says it’s important to see your doctor to try to find out why. Again, sometimes it can be as simple as doing too much, but it could also be a sign of an underlying illness like anemia.
While Pase seems to be on the mend, she says she’s more aware now that she needs to listen to take care of herself as well as her growing family. “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” she says.
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