Training for Life
When the CFvoice Go>To team covered the wedding of Mari and Roger, the young couple was already talking about their hope for a family.
“I had always wanted a baby,” says 29-year-old Mari; but, when she and her fiancé shared their dream with Mari’s pulmonologist it was less than well received. Her doctor said that, given Mari’s lung function, weight, and overall health, pregnancy was a bad idea.
“I was crying. The social worker was crying,” remembers the Texas native. “And then I got mad. No one tells me ‘no.’”
Mari moved quickly from anger to determination. She began a dedicated exercise and nutrition routine, and Roger, a personal fitness trainer, made her his pet project. A short 12 months later Mari’s doctor, impressed with her improved PFTs and weight gain, said that, yes, she and her soon-to-be husband could now plan for a family. The couple was ecstatic.
Mari’s story is becoming more and more common in an adult CF population that continues to grow. Pulmonologists treating adults with CF understand the importance of this topic, particularly now that close to one-third of those adults are married1. While most men with CF are infertile, 50 percent of women with CF are able to conceive2.
What is also growing is a body of science indicating that, under the right circumstances, pregnancy is safe in women who have CF3. Women, like Mari, who take their health routine seriously, and work closely with their CF clinic team.
“It took time for me to get my body where it needed to be with my weight and my lung function,” says Mari, who delivered her daughter, Bella, on December 29, 2008. “My body needed to be strong enough to go through the pregnancy.”
The medical community agrees that good pre-natal health is essential; especially since weight gain difficulties are typical during a CF pregnancy4. Mari, who was nauseous her whole pregnancy, weighed the same on her delivery date as she did when she got pregnant.
“I was afraid something would be wrong with her,” remembers Mari. “It left me very underweight.” The new mother, who’d worked so hard to have her baby girl, knew that her work as a mom wasn’t over.
“I had been in training for pregnancy. Now I had to train for life,” she says. Easier said than done with a new baby, a home, a working husband, and CF. Eventually, the young couple decided that the spare bedroom had to go and, in its place, came a home gym.
“I get my workouts in when she naps,” says Mari, although she admits there was a time after Bella’s birth when she skipped exercise all together. Trying to get the baby to the grandparents’, so that mom could go to the gym, was too much of a hassle. With the new exercise room, Mari is back on track and putting her health first.
“I have everything I have ever wanted,” she smiles. “Now it’s just maintaining my life so that I can make memories with my little family.”
- 1Cystic Fibrosis Adult Care: Consensus Conference Report. Chest. 2004; 125;1-39. DOI 10.1378/chest.125.1_suppl.1S. Downloaded from chestjournal.org on March 26, 2008.
- 2Sueblinvong, V. & Whittaker, L. Fertility and Pregnancy: Common Concerns of the Aging Cystic Fibrosis Population. Clinics in Chest Medicine .28 (2007) 433-443.
- 3Sueblinvong, V. & Whittaker, L. Fertility and Pregnancy: Common Concerns of the Aging Cystic Fibrosis Population. Clinics in Chest Medicine. 28 (2007) 433-443.
- 4Tonelli, M.R.; Aitken, M. L. Pregnancy in cystic fibrosis. Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine. 13(6): 537-540, November 2007.