Pushin' On: UAB Spinal Cord Injury Model System Digital Newsletter Volume 35 | Number 2 - Page 2

HEALTHY LIVING My Experiences with Pregnancy after SCI by Whitney Hilton Whitney Hilton is a mother of two. And both of her children were conceived and delivered after she had a T2 spinal cord injury (SCI). Whitney recently shared her experiences with pregnancy for a video, Professional Insights into Managing Pregnancy after SCI. The video is aimed at professional in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OBGYN), but Whitney also answered the following questions to share her experiences with others. I had so many other questions, too. Would it put too much on my husband? Would other people judge me for choosing to become a parent when I have a disability? Was I being selfish for wanting to be a mom? One negative thought hurt me the most. I wondered if it was fair to bring a child into this world knowing he or she might have to grow up a little faster than other children or maybe take on added responsibilities because of my physical limitations. What thoughts or concerns did you have about starting a family? I desperately wanted to be a mother, but it took me awhile to decide to have my first child. Of course, I had concerns like most first-time mothers, but my concerns were deeper, though. I wondered if my physical limitations would prevent me from being the kind of mom I dreamed of being. I didn’t know how I would be able to do all of the physical tasks of taking care of a baby and toddler. I had many ideas of ways I might adapt to do these things, but it’s really hard to know if something will work until you try it. What were your thoughts and concerns with your second child? It took us over 4 years to get pregnant the second time, and I had a few insecurities because of this. I sometimes irrationally thought maybe I wasn’t getting pregnant because I have a disability. I even felt unworthy of motherhood at times. When my husband and I started talking about adoption, I became pregnant. It was a bit harder the second time because I was older and had an 8-year-old and a newborn to take care of. It’s easy to forget how hard things are sometimes, but I knew I could do it. I had already worked out how to do most baby-related tasks. I knew more what I could do independently and what I needed help with doing. I was really more confident in my abilities as a mom and had a better understanding of my strengths and weaknesses. Did you have any problems or complications during your first trimesters? The only thing that stands out is that I almost fainted with my first pregnancy. The fainting spell only happened one time, but that’s how I knew I was pregnant. I was also extremely tired like most women. Did you have any problems or complications during your second trimesters? I remember having much more energy, but I had times of extreme dizziness. I could tell a spell was about to happen. I would start to yawn uncontrollably and would have a few minutes to get to a safe area before I would begin to see spots, hear strange sounds, and feel a bit numb. My OBGYN thought it was happening when the baby put too much weight on my arteries. I Participate in UAB Research Low Carb/ High Protein Diet to Improve Metabolic Health in Individuals with SCI This study aims to determine the effects of an 8-week high-protein low-carbohydrate diet on metabolic health and gut function. Criteria to Participate • Have a SCI (tetraplegia or paraplegia) • Live in central Alabama and visit UAB 3 times • Willing to undergo lab tests (blood glucose, insulin and lipid levels, gut function, and body imaging) • Complete activity and food intake questionnaires Participants will earn between $250 and $450 for completing the study. Call 205-500-8180 or 205-996- 6896 or email SCIresearch@uab.edu for information. 2 uab.edu/sci High Intensity Interval Training vs Moderate Intensity Training for Improving Health in Individuals with SCI This study aims to discover whether low volume high intensity interval exercise training can improve cardiometabolic health, muscular strength, and overall quality life to a greater extent or comparable to moderate intensity exercise training. Criteria to Participate • Ages 21 -60 • C5-T12 levels of injury (AIS A, B, C, D) • 3 years post-injury Participants will receive $125 for completing the study. Call 205-996-4114 or email SCIresearch@uab.edu for more information.