Pregnancy is a beautiful journey that is full of joy and happiness. Nevertheless, if you are diagnosed with cancer, you may have many questions running through your mind, thinking about undergoing chemotherapy while protecting your unborn child. This is where you must understand chemotherapy and pregnancy to weigh the potential risks and benefits, along with experiencing specialized care and close collaboration from your healthcare professional.
Let us discuss the challenges and benefits of chemotherapy during pregnancy, exploring its long-term impact on the mother and baby.
Cancer is not common during pregnancy and rarely affects the developing fetus. Nonetheless, diagnosing and treating cancer during pregnancy can pose a challenge due to the impact that cancer screenings and treatments can have on the growing fetus. So, every aspect of your cancer treatment must be done carefully.
Chemotherapy during pregnancy may restrict fetal growth and increase the risk of preterm delivery or stillbirth. However, we cannot say these side effects will indeed happen, as a study reveals that no consequences are seen in children born to the mothers receiving chemotherapy when comparing them with the birth weight and gestational age of those born to healthy women. Though premature delivery can cause some problems, it is unclear whether they result from the treatment or other factors associated with the disease.
The benefits and risks are as follows -
Your obstetrician and oncologist will evaluate the diagnosis and make informed decisions concerning treatment options. They will consider several factors to develop the proper treatment regimen, including the size, stage, and types of your cancer and your specific treatment preferences.
Sometimes, your doctor may recommend avoiding or delaying some treatments during pregnancy, including:
Chemotherapy is usually given after 14 weeks of pregnancy. Your oncologist will only administer some chemotherapy drugs that remain safe to your unborn. Your placenta will remain a fence to you and your unborn, preventing the passing of drugs to the fetus through it. You can receive chemotherapy drugs as an IV injection, IV drip, or oral tablets.
The treatment will be temporarily stopped once your pregnancy reaches 37 weeks. This will give you a break for your delivery while preventing the birth of a baby when you have low blood cell levels. Your chemo sessions will be continued after your delivery. If you deliver a baby shortly after your chemo session, you will be given medicines to increase your immunity.
They are as follows -
Children of mothers treated with chemotherapy during pregnancy may experience psychological and neurological problems as the central nervous system is easily affected by the chemo drugs. Therefore, those children may process information slower than those born to healthy mothers.
Follow these tips -
At Chesapeake Oncology-Hematology Associates, we offer the best-in-class cancer care that helps perfectly balance the unborn’s and mother’s well-being while reducing potential complications and physical and mental concerns for you and your family. Contact us today to receive top-notch cancer treatment and support.
You can receive chemotherapy after the first trimester.
Pregnant women can visit a chemo patient. Nevertheless, chemotherapy drugs are usually discharged through urine, vomit, or stool after 2-3 days of treatment, so you must avoid exposure to these body fluids.
While some doctors recommend waiting for 6 months after chemotherapy, some other doctors suggest waiting for 2-5 years. However, the waiting time depends on the woman’s age, type and stage of cancer, and the type of treatment they had.
High molecular weight chemo drugs don’t cross the placenta.
Chemotherapy during the first trimester may affect the unborn’s blood system, eyes, and ears and may impact overall growth.