Ah, the Internet. What a marvelous tool that has enriched the lives of many. In the modern age, we find ourselves only a click away from being able to learn about any subject at any time. How could this possibly be bad? You have a headache that just won’t go away…why not look online for a cause and solution? I used to be a big believer in being responsible for one’s own health. But now I wonder, is this really being healthy? Considering that I’m currently on bed rest for preterm labor, I think not.
A few weeks ago, about 23 weeks into my pregnancy, I started having some abdominal tightening. It happened every couple of hours or so and wasn’t painful, so I did what came naturally. I looked on the Internet and discovered the bane of pregnancy known as Braxton-Hicks. For those of you not familiar with the term, they are the “practice contractions” that a body goes through prior to having a baby. After a bit of reading, I decided that these were nothing to be concerned about.
Fast forward a couple of weeks, I was working with everything seeming perfectly normal. I had been having a few more of the BH contractions than usual, still no pain or real discomfort. But then I started noticing that they were becoming more frequent…almost to the point that I could predict when they were going to happen. Again, I looked to the Internet for help. Since many women were reporting the same thing with their doctors saying not to worry, I continued along doing what I had been. Eventually a co-worker asked what was wrong when i started rubbing my stomach as I had yet another BH contraction. When I told her, she responded by saying I should call my doctor immediately and that this was NOT normal. My doctor’s office had me go straight to the Labor and Delivery unit of our local hospital to be checked out. After a couple of hours on a monitor, it became clear. The so-called Braxton-Hicks contractions, painless as they were, were actually real contractions. I had been going into preterm labor and had no idea.
Needless to say, I became a prisoner of the hospital for a few days and was given a variety of fun things including some wonderful steroid shots in the posterior and a wide assortment of other wonder drugs that would hopefully stop the contractions. A week later I am now home, but thanks to my slow response to my body’s helpful hints, I am still having contractions and regularly taking my miracle meds to keep this baby inside for as long as possible. Although there is no certainty that going into the hospital as soon as I started having contractions would have helped any, it is safe to say that had I known the complications that could occur, I would have been in there in a heartbeat.
Take it from me, the Internet is a wonder and can be amazing for learning and broadening your horizons, but nothing can replace a medical professional who is giving their full attention to you. Use your own common sense rather than searching for some on the Internet. It may save you from yourself in the end!