- Shawn Johnson, who is 28 weeks pregnant, has opened up in a new interview about having pregnancy complications.
- The World Champion gymnast had a miscarriage in 2017 and said it was "terrifying" when she learned her unborn baby has a two-vessel umbilical cord.
- Johnson is due in October and encourages other moms-to-be to stay positive throughout pregnancy complications.
There are times when we're not on the same page as our partners: One of you prefers sushi over pizza, Netflix over HBO, or ski trips over island destinations. These small differences can often be compromised, but when it comes to the right time to expand your family, Shawn Johnson says an agreement is in order.
"It’s hard because you can’t try to get pregnant if both of you aren’t on the same page," she tells Prevention.com at an event for Philips Advent. The World Champion gymnast, who is married to American football player Andrew East, previously suffered a devastating miscarriage in 2017, but she didn't lose hope about trying for another baby.
"Right after the miscarriage I wanted to try again, but my husband thought we should wait until after we heal and process everything," she says. "So we kind of flip-flopped sides multiple times before we both decided that it’s time to start trying."
The two felt ready about seven months ago, and Johnson learned that she was pregnant again in February 2019. When the pregnancy test confirmed she was expecting, Johnson felt "all the emotions," recalling that it was equally as exciting as it was terrifying. "Any pregnant women is terrified, no matter what, just because it’s such a foreign and new world," she says. Even more so, Johnson experienced a handful of complications that would have any mother-to-be worried.
At their 20-week ultrasound checkup, the couple learned that their baby had a two-vessel umbilical cord, dilated kidneys, and could possibly have down syndrome. "We had already lost one baby and hearing any complication of any kind makes you guard your heart and think that this might not work out as well." Johnson says. "And for us, we felt such heartbreak with our first baby, but with this one, we were so much farther ahead than last time, that we couldn’t even comprehend losing our baby. To hear things like still birth and miscarriage associated with the complications you’re having is just terrifying."
But then, Johnson and East received some good news from her doctor that their genetic tests were negative, indicating that their baby will not have Down Syndrome. Also, the two revealed on their YouTube channel that their baby's kidneys are looking healthy. "We still have to monitor the two-vessel cord, but things look good so far!"
Many women, especially first-time moms, worry about the health of their babies during pregnancy, but in reality, Kansas City pediatrician Natasha Burgert, MD, says that every pregnancy has some kind of complication. "Going into pregnancy with the expectation that there is going to be some kind of unexpected news is a healthy way to start," she says. "Doctors are going to consider many things a complication that a normal person may not think of as one, so just trying not to be scared of the word 'complication' is important."
Also, Dr. Burgert says that a lot of times something that's very normal can feel strange, but your healthcare providers are there to help you and your baby. "That's why you have so many doctors appointments, to check on the baby and your health," she says. "It’s our job to worry about any complications that may come up, and then to point you in the right direction for treatment."
At 28 weeks along, Johnson is feeling "large," but good. "I was nauseous in the first trimester, felt great in the second trimester, and now that we’re going into the third I’m definitely feeling tired and a little achy. Peeing a lot!" Every pregnant woman's experience is unique, and typical pregnancy symptoms include fatigue, food cravings, frequent urination, swelling, and more.
Though she hasn't planned out her baby's nursery yet, Johnson's been staying on top of her doctor's appointments, researching on her own, and reaching out to other moms about their experiences with pregnancy. They will continue to keep an eye on her baby's two-vessel umbilical cord.
Johnson wants other new moms to know that, despite any complications that may come up, you just have to control what you can. "Take everything one day at a time," she says. "Stay positive and hope for the best."
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