Pregnancy is in itself a medical condition, but many women deal with pre-existing or even new diseases and illnesses during this time.
A first-time mother in Ireland recently told RSVP Live how she underwent gruelling chemo treatment for cancer while four months pregnant.
Suzanne Roche from Dublin gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Zoe, in September 2016, despite being diagnosed with cancer just 17 weeks into her pregnancy.
A swollen lymph node in her neck was later revealed to be Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “It was at the time in my pregnancy when I had shared the good news with family and friends so everyone was very excited. To get a diagnosis at that time is devastating.”
Suzanne praised her doctors, saying they were amazing and very reassuring, despite her concern at having chemotherapy during pregnancy. “I was told that at that stage of my pregnancy I could start the chemotherapy treatment I required with minimal risk to the baby. Both my oncologist and my obstetrician worked closely together and both had treated pregnant women who had cancer before.”
She says despite the turmoil she felt, she tried to keep things as ‘normal’ as possible. “I kept working as much as I was able, taking time off each time I had chemo. By all accounts I had a standard pregnancy – I went to all the prenatal classes, took my prenatal vitamins, tried to keep up some sort of exercise. My obstetrician kept a close eye on myself and the baby and I got regular scans.”
Suzanne started chemotherapy treatment in her 20th week of pregnancy and had eight sessions before it was stopped around a month before her due date.
“I was lucky to have had a natural birth which went smoothly. About three weeks after Zoe was born I went back to finish my chemotherapy, completing my treatment in November 2016.”
Suzanne is now in remission and her daughter is perfectly healthy.
Did you have any health scares while pregnant? Were you concerned at how treatment could impact your unborn baby? Share your story with us