When a woman finds out she is carrying a triplet or high multifetal pregnancy, she will have a lot of information to digest and absorb. Some women, at one of their first obstetrics appointments, will even be asked if they have considered a fetal reduction. In some cases, the doctor may even recommend it.
What is a Fetal Reduction?
According to UW Health, a fetal reduction is the practice of reducing the number of fetuses in a multiple pregnancy. This question may shock some women who never thought they would be forced into making such a decision.
What Do You Do?
Here is what you can do if your doctor makes a recommendation for selective fetal reduction:
Find out exactly why your doctor is recommending the fetal reduction procedure. Ask what the risk factors are for both sides of the decision. Get a second opinion if you aren’t comfortable with your original OB. Dr. K.S. Joseph shares that having more information can help parents make a more informed decision, so make sure to ask all the questions you have.
After meeting with your doctor, do your own research. Visit triplet or multiples forums, and ask the other women for their experiences with fetal reduction. One woman chronicled her entire experience online, and reading about other women in the same position as you is a good starting point.
Talk it Out
Talk to you partner, and consider seeking out the help of a licensed therapist to help guide you in your decision making when it comes to fetal reduction. This is not a choice you need to make on your own.
Consider the Long Term Effects
Don’t just consider your current pregnancy when trying to make a decision. You need to also think about your long term mental and physical health. Don’t just consider the “now,” but think about how your choice will affect the mental and physical state of yourself and your babies for years to come.
Take Your Time
Do not rush into a decision. While there will be a medical need to make a decision before a certain point in the pregnancy, do not feel that you have to decide about a fetal reduction the first day that your doctor brings it up. You need to process the information and make a sound judgement.
There is no doubt that encountering a recommendation for fetal reduction during pregnancy will be a lot to process and handle. It is natural to feel grief, anger, sadness, and a thousand other emotions if your doctor recommends this procedure. Overall, there is no right or wrong choice, you can only do what is right for yourself and your family.
By talking to your own doctor, finding other women who have been in the same position as you, and seeking out the care of a mental health specialist, you will be better equipped to make what could be a life altering decision.
Pregnancy is already hard enough without receiving what may be a devastating recommendation from your doctor. Take care of yourself and take your time in your resolution, so that you can take care of your family and enjoy your pregnancy in the end.