To honor this month’s special needs focus, we’re sharing some questions we’ve heard from parents expecting a special needs baby. Here are a few things to ask your doctor or midwife during your pregnancy to better prepare for having a child with special needs:
- How will my baby’s condition affect my pregnancy?
- What should I expect after pregnancy? How will having a baby with special needs change my life?
- What are some support groups, foundations or organizations that focus on my baby’s condition?
- Do you have any recommendations for specialists or other providers with experience in caring for babies with special needs?
- Where can I find factual, accurate information about my baby’s condition?
Working with a team of healthcare professionals is key for parents with special needs children. Use your doctor as a resource to help answer any questions you may have throughout your pregnancy. He or she can recommend an integrated after-delivery plan for your family.
It’s important to educate yourself, but keep in mind the Internet is full of misinformation. Speaking directly with providers and reading recommended material is the best way to get factual, accurate information. Support groups, foundations and professional counselors also provide practical information, resources and ongoing support for families with special needs children.
Remember, every child is different, meaning the severity of his or her condition may vary. Staying positive and hopeful is essential for your baby’s, and your own, well-being.
Lisa Espinosa is a certified nurse midwife at Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers