CF Mamas Discuss Pregnancy Health, Delivery, and Breastfeeding


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(Courtesy of Gillian Mocek)

We’re back this week with part two of our CF Mamas Interview Series, this time we’re discussing the impact of pregnancy on health, delivery, and breastfeeding! (Check out last week’s post.)

(Courtesy of Janeil Whitworth)

Cystic fibrosis and pregnancy:

Gillian Mocek: As expected, my blood sugars were all over the place during pregnancy. I required more mealtime insulin and more frequent blood sugar checks. … I actually had the highest PFT I’d had in a few years.”

Janeil Whitworth: Overall, pregnancy was beneficial to my health. My lung function went up almost 10 percent and I gained weight easily. My CFRD did get worse, but that’s expected in pregnancy.”

Colette Riddle:  Since I wasn’t a part of a CF clinic at that time, I have no idea how the pregnancy impacted my PFTs.  However, during my first pregnancy, I was being tested for gestational diabetes, and I did have to have insulin a couple times right before delivery. … It was more AFTER the pregnancy that impacted my lung function; just the demand of taking care of a newborn and myself with CF.”

Tamara Jimison: Pregnancy was generally good to me. I got sick and had an exacerbation once during my 22nd week or so of pregnancy and required OB antibiotics and a hospitalization. … My CFRD was relatively manageable, and I actually had more lows than I normally had, my blood sugars were very stable, and I had great blood control over it because I knew everything I did was affecting not only me, but my child. My A1C actually went down to 5.3 while pregnant and I had the best control over CFRD than I have ever had.”

Delivery and cystic fibrosis: cesarean or vaginal?

Gillian: I wanted to try for a vaginal delivery without an epidural, though I tried to go in with an open mind for whatever needed to happen. My body responded well to being induced and I was lucky to have an easy labor. Beforehand, I was so worried about how my breathing would be during labor, yet I don’t remember coughing at all during labor and pushing. Delivery is no easy thing for anyone, but it didn’t seem to have a strain on my health CF-wise. The change in hormones and changes in my body overall were more intense afterward than I had expected.”

Janeil: I had a CRAZY quick and unmedicated delivery — under four hours from when my water broke. Delivery was awesome and I only used oxygen while pushing. I never felt stronger and prouder to have CF.”

Colette: I had a C-section because my daughter (first-born) was breached.  I also had my son via C-section, since my doctor didn’t do VBAC nor did she recommend it due to my CF.  She felt it was too risky.  My preference would’ve been to have my children normally and not via C-section. The delivery method affected my ability to cough. After a few days I was able to cough without extreme pain”

Tamara: Delivery wasn’t too much of a strain on my health when I was in labor or during the possibility of vaginal delivery. I didn’t require oxygen and didn’t have trouble breathing or feeling tired despite being up for over 15 hours. I think the C-section itself was a strain because you’re being cut open and the possibility of infection is always in the back of your mind. It’s scary and you always worry and hope nothing will happen because of it.“

(Courtesy of Tamara Jimison)

Cystic fibrosis and breastfeeding:

Gillian: Before my son was born, I had hoped I’d be able to breastfeed but again, didn’t want to force it if it didn’t go well. I did try it right away and got the hang of it in a few days. I felt supported by my CF team to try it as they helped me adjust my diet needs to breastfeed. Now I see less of the ways my body is flawed and much more of how strong and powerful it really is.”

Janeil: It’s time-consuming, so yes, it’s hard to breastfeed around the clock and make sure you are taking care of yourself. I have had IVs twice since my son’s been born and that has been a difficult time because you are so tired. Breastfeeding is physically and mentally demanding. It’s doable, but takes real commitment!”

Colette: My choice has been and always will be breastfeeding. I think it is so important for our babies to get the natural nutrients the way God has created our bodies to do. I am so blessed that I was able to breastfeed both my babies. I loved that my son latched on and I got to feed him and snuggle so close all the time. It’s a bond I’ll never forget.”

Tamara: It was difficult to manage breastfeeding, and not difficult at the same time. It’s the being a new parent and not getting enough sleep, so I’d say that had more effect on me than breastfeeding. The only thing I struggled with was eating enough, and I ended up losing too much weight because of it.”

Special thanks to the women who participated and helped make this interview possible!

(Courtesy of Colette Riddle)


Note: Cystic Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cystic Fibrosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cystic fibrosis.