If you have an experience or story about being a pregnant amputee that you would like to share, please feel free to write in the forum.
Pregnancy can be an exhilarating, exciting and terrifying experience for a woman. Pregnancy after an amputation lends itself to special considerations for both the woman and her doctor.
I was terrified when I became pregnant. I was concerned about how the pregnancy would affect my residual limb. I was worried that I was not going to be able to wear my prosthetic. I was scared about how I would care for a newborn as an amputee.
I spent hours researching the topic on the internet. Unfortunately I was only able to find a few amputee Moms, and even fewer resources about the possible medical implications of the pregnancy. This is the reason I have started this website and why I write my blog.
The most obvious and frustrating problem I encountered when I was pregnant concerned stump swelling. I was surprised at how quickly I began to retain water in my residual limb. To counter the water retention I carefully monitored my salt intake. In the beginning of my second trimester I slept with a shrinker sock on my stump. Eventually, I needed a new socket.
My prosthetist Elliot was wonderful during my pregnancy. We decided to make the socket a little larger than the cast size to accommodate future swelling. I simply wore socks until my stump grew into my socket. Elliot was concerned about the safety issues of a pregnant woman walking on a check socket. Because of this he was able to provide me with a permanent socket within one day. For this I remain grateful.
Cramping in my stump increased as the pregnancy progressed. Removing the socket and resting the limb, massaging the stump and eating a banana helped to relieve the cramping.
Eventually my "baby bump" grew over my toes. At this point, I was no longer able to pull up my own liner. It was quite a sobering surprise when I woke up one morning and discovered I was no longer able to get my own leg on!
I did develop one trick for getting on the liner when I was alone. Start by turning the liner inside out about half way down. Then I put the liner on my bed, and positioned the stump on top of the opening. Using two pairs of tongs, one on each side, I grabbed the sides of the liner and pulled. It sounds strange, but trust me, it works. I kept two pairs of tongs next to the bed for the last three months of my pregnancy.
Taking off my liner also became an exercise in pregnant acrobatics. Using my foot, I started to roll the liner down over my stump. As soon as the top of the liner met the bottom of my stump, I moved on to step two. I put my ankle on top of the liner. Applying pressure with my ankle, I pulled my residual limb out of the liner. Voila, I was able to slide right out of the liner without assistance.
I learned quickly drinking anything after 7 PM was not a good thing. My evening refreshment always resulted in me waking up my husband to help me put on my leg so that I could go to the bathroom. This frustrated both of us.
As my size increased, my ability to sleep decreased exponentially. This is a universal complaint during pregnancy. However, I believe that my discomfort was amplified because of my amputation. My residual limb no longer "fit" on top of my other leg, causing it to rest in awkward positions. This misalignment caused pain in my stump, hip and lower back.
My husband researched my complaint and found a solution. He bought me a U-shaped pregnancy pillow. I was able to move the pillow into any position necessary. Because of the pillow's flexibility I could create a support for my stump.
As the pregnancy progressed I discovered an increased need for my shower chair and toilet rails. I hated pulling out the "handicapped accessories" but I realized they were necessary, at least temporarily.
I imagine every pregnant amputee experiences her issues in different ways. If you have any experiences or stories you would like to share, please feel free to post them in the forum. It can be scary being a pregnant amputee, but it doesn't have to be an isolating experience.