When I heard that Michelle Duggar is, in fact, pregnant with what will be her 20th child, my initial reaction was, “What the hell?”
I don’t suspect I’m in the minority.
The gist of the shock and concern seems to be based around the dangerously premature birth of the youngest Duggar, Josie, who was born at a shocking 1 pound, 6 ounces. Michelle Duggar’s pregnancy with Josie was shortened by her diagnosis of preeclampsia, a condition identified when she was initially hospitalized for gallstones.
Josie spent four months in the hospital after her December 2010 birth, and had to return shortly after being released because of vital sign concerns. She didn’t, for all intents and purposes, get to go home from the hospital until she was six months old.
The idea of a baby having to spend her first six months of life in the hospital is tragic, as is the notion that nineteen kids were almost certainly getting a degree of shafting from parents obviously concerned about ..
… their newest addition.
I get that. I totally do.
So why, when two of the risk factors for preeclampsia include a history of the condition and maternal age (35 being the so-called magic number), would you choose to potentially put your family in that sort of position again?
Duggar long ago earned a spot in the category doctors have created for women who have had many children. Women achieve what is called grand multiparity when they give birth at least five times, and, for these women, additional pregnancies bring special risks.
Doctors worry most that these women will hemorrhage after delivery, and doctors won’t be able to get the uterus to contract to stop the bleeding, said Dr. Lois Brustman, an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University.
A woman’s uterus, the organ within which the fetus develops, is a muscle, and each successive pregnancy stretches that muscle. As a result, after a woman has had many pregnancies, the muscle has a hard time contracting after the placenta — the organ that connects the fetus to the mother’s blood supply — separates, Brustman said. This creates a risk of massive bleeding. Because the uterus has been weakened by successive pregnancies, drugs to cause this contraction are typically less successful, she said.
Scar tissue from past pregnancies within the uterus can cause problems with the placenta. This can create additional risks, including premature birth, according to Brustman.
Duggar is 45, and her age also brings increased risk of health problems during pregnancy, including hypertension, diabetes and preeclampsia, a condition unique to pregnancy that involves hypertension and protein in the urine, Brustman said. Duggar suffered from preeclampsia during her most recent pregnancy, according to news reports.
Her age also brings risk of chromosomal anomalies — a type of genetic problem — which can cause Down syndrome, miscarriages and other issues. This risk increases dramatically as a woman ages.
I had a long conversation with my mother about how appalled I am at Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar expanding their brood, and it was actually very interesting.
- As Kate Gosselin could tell us, fame is fickle. If the Duggars stop popping out babies, 19 and Counting will at some point become passé … and there goes the money.
- If you identify as pro-choice, you can’t have it both ways. In other words, if I strongly believe that women have the right to choose abortion, then I have to also believe that Michelle Duggar has the right to keep having babies
- Reality shows are really screwing with our culture.
- It’s very sad that Michelle Duggar seems to feel that her sole purpose in life is to be a “Mommy and Wife”
- Have the Duggars given any thought to the complexities and additional strains of a special needs child? Like all children, those with special needs are true gifts and offer a great deal to their families, friends, caregivers, and often society as well … but it’s not easy, and making an active choice to go down this road just strikes me as … well, stupid (and what I can’t help referring to as “pulling a Palin”).
So, yeah, I am completely appalled at the idea of a woman putting her health and the family she already has at risk just to keep having children, whether it’s to keep the reality show check rolling in, because she believes it’s in God’s hands (and can somebody explain to me why it’s so hard for people to understand that maybe God created all the medical advancements that make this sort of thing so ill-advised?), or what.