Yes I Can Have a Child

Sometime in your life the question may come up—Can I have a child? Can I become a parent?   Your mind might be flooded with questions. Women may have concerns like, “Can I actually carry a child to term? How is my body going to be different?”  Men may question, “Will I be able to have a have a child with my partner?” Maybe we can help answer some of your questions.

Here are some tips and thoughts from our team regarding their journey to parenthood after injury or diagnosis.

For woman considering pregnancy:

  • Find a physician who understands your condition and/or is willing to learn about your unique situation.
  • Our team has found pre-pregnancy counseling a great idea. This counseling session can be helpful with addressing questions and concerns you may have. You can also discuss what can be expected during pregnancy. This is also a perfect time to review all medications you are currently on to assure they are safe to take during pregnancy.
  • Discuss with your physician and your urologist how pregnancy may affect your urinary system. Ask questions about your current bladder management and if it will be acceptable throughout the duration of pregnancy.
  • Understand your delivery options. Women with spinal cord injury can give birth normally (vaginal delivery). The key is to work with your medical team to determine if this is the best option for your circumstance.
  • Educate yourself and be aware of Autonomic Dysreflexia (AD). This may occur due to pain stimulation and may therefore occur during labor.
  • Watch out for skin breakdown. Our team has used pressure-relieving pillows, cushions and mattresses to help lower this risk. One team member used additional pillows to help support her due to poor trunk balance. Nursing pillows are great for support during labor and then extremely useful once baby has arrived. Again get with your medical team on what is best for you.
  • Formulate a pregnancy plan that outlines any additional monitoring or examinations that may be considered necessary due to your injury or illness.
  • Research new adaptive equipment. As your baby grows and your weight increases, there may be a need for items like sliding transfer boards, raised toilet seats, or additional help. It’s best to research these things during your first trimester and be prepared for the months ahead.

For men considering becoming a father:

  • In the past it was difficult, and sometimes even impossible, for a man with a spinal cord injury to become a father. The primary issue was a result of impaired erection and ejaculation. But today, there are many options that increase the chances to father a biological child.
  • There are many methods for obtaining viable sperm from a male with Spinal Cord Injury. The best plan of action is to consult with a fertility specialist to discuss which options would be best for your circumstance.
  • Fathering a child after injury is not only promising but can be achieved. It may take planning and researching but there are more options than ever before.

In conclusion, both female and males have plenty of reasons to consider pregnancy. The most beautiful part of the journey is discovering what option works best for you. One of the sweetest options is adoption. Child adoption can be one of the most rewarding aspects of life for both you and your child. There are many children in need of a nurturing home, and there are many reasons why child adoption may be right for you. When considering becoming a parent (after injury) keep in mind that it is a wonderful experience. Just like able bodied mothers and fathers, there will be questions, concerns, doubt and even fear. But the end result will be life changing in the most spectacular way. Yes you can be a have a child!

The opinions and experiences presented herein are for informational use only. Individual results may vary depending on your condition. Always consult with your health care professional. These individuals have been compensated by Bard Medical for the time and effort in preparing this article for BARD’s further use and distribution.