Taboos persist around medicine and medical care for women during pregnancy, while evidence-based information is limited or often incomplete. The sad reality is that every day, women across the world are denied basic medical care because they are pregnant.
Daphne Meganck and her husband were ecstatic when they found out she was pregnant with their second child. But that happiness quickly turned into fear – for her family and herself – when she received a diagnosis of invasive cancer.
She told the Pregnancy and Medicine Initiative that when she was pregnant with her much wanted second baby, a routine follow up with her gynaecologist at 14 weeks led to some life-shattering news. By 20 weeks, she had received a diagnosis of invasive cancer.
“It was a bolt out of the blue and I felt completely winded. It’s such a happy time in your life, you don’t expect to get news like this.”
Describing her feelings as being in “both heaven and hell”, Daphne was advised by her doctor to wait for treatment after her baby was born.
“I was 20 weeks pregnant at that stage and very connected with the baby, I could feel it kicking inside of me. But i was thinking of myself as well. And while it was a wanted pregnancy, my husband was only thinking of me. We had several difficult conversations about how we could approach this.”
Eventually, Daphne sought a second opinion, one that was very different to what she had first been told.
“The second consultant said ‘You can wait but you don’t have to’. I felt as if a weight had been lifted. All of a sudden there was a plan and I cried – I was scared but I was crying more with relief that I had options.”
She elected to have surgery to remove the cancer and is now living happily and healthily – with both of her children.
“There is a taboo about taking medicine in pregnant or having any treatment – I had the same idea until I looked for different information.It doesn’t have to be a choice between the baby and the mother.”
Were you denied medical treatment during your pregnancy? Or did you decide to avoid medical treatment you needed? Share your story with us HERE.