Pregnancy and altitude change..... - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-02-2008, 09:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I currently live in Texas (at an altitude of about 650 feet) and am 15 weeks pregnant. I have a question for any of you midwives, docs, "know-it-all's", etc.....!

We will be moving (temporarily) to Colorado soon, to an altitude at about 7,000 feet, and I was wondering if I should be concerned about my placenta growing larger than it would if I were still living in TX throughout my pregnancy? I know it sounds silly, but I understand that pregnant women living in higher altitudes, can grow larger placentas, since that is our baby's oxygen supply. I wondered since my body is not used to that altitude, if I should be concerned about this? Then you have to worry about placenta previa, then you may have to get a sono to find out, yadda, yadda and so on. We are planning a natural, home birth with no intervetions, but I have a friend that says (she's a natural birth teacher) all women should have a sono at twenty-something weeks preg to check for previa!!!! Yuck- I don't want a sono unless absolutely neccessary, but sure don't want the surprise of previa at a home unassisted labor, either! I have had two previous healthy pregnancys, but don't know much about living (or dramatically changing to) a higher altitude.

We stay busy outdoors, and would be hiking, etc., and just wondered if the altitude change should concern me being pregnant (not being used to it) or if I could go on with this move with no worries?
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Old 04-02-2008, 10:06 PM
 
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pregnant women living in higher altitudes, can grow larger placentas
seriously??? why did my idiot doc not know that? I worried about that for weeks! We're at 5k feet and this baby has the largest placenta I've ever seen. I thought it was something bad.

If you're having an u/s to check for previa I'd do it as late as possible. 35+ weeks. Because at that point it is unlikely to move and at 20 weeks it could easily move completely out of the way.

what I *have* learned is you can expect to need at least 40-50 ounces a day more fluids than you would at your current elevation. Also the blood tends to thicken so if you're showing anemic on regular blood tests, you're REALLY anemic.

Those are the only 2 altitude related things I've learned since this PG (my other two were at sea level, what a difference that apparently made!).

As far as hiking, etc I wouldn't worry about 7k feet.
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Old 04-02-2008, 11:42 PM
 
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Hey I have the same question. I just moved to denver. ALso any suggestions on doctors, hospitals. I am 12 weeks pregnant.
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Old 04-03-2008, 12:30 AM
 
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We were planning a move to a very high elevation (above 10,000 feet) while I was pregnant, so I did a lot of research on this. The general consensus seems to be that there is no risk of complications associated with high altitude, unless you are going above 14,000', though some studies say the risk may increase for some around 10,000'. Here is a quote from the book, Going Higher, the Story of Man and Altitude, by Charles S. Houston, MD:

"Conception and pregnancy have some special features at altitude...there's no added hazard at moderate altitude for the mother. The problems begin at 14,000', and some believe as low as 10,000'...When we remember that a fetus living at sea level is living in an oxygen environment equivalent to that on top of Everest, it seems unlikely that going from sea level to 10,000' will make much difference. But some careful observers believe that this may pose some slight risk (of prematurity) to the fetus."

The elevation you are talking about should be no problem at all, but it is a good idea for anyone moving here from near sea level to take it easy for the first couple of weeks, while your body adjusts, to avoid altitude sickness. Drinking more water than you ususlly do (at first) will help you avoid problems, also.

I did go ahead and do quite a bit of hiking up high during my pregnancy without any problems, but I have lived here most of my life, and my body is well adjusted to it. Please PM me if you want more information on high altitude and pregnancy, because I kept all of my research. It's beautiful here in Colorado! I hope you enjoy your stay!
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Old 04-03-2008, 01:54 AM
 
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I live at 6,000 ft and during my first pregnancy would take occasional hikes in Rocky Mtn National Park. I didn't have any problems but I have never had any trouble with altitude sickness. They were also less than one day hikes so I wasn't too high for too long. I can't remember what the exact altitude I went up to was though.

*formerly apecaut*, Mom to A, Calliope (stillborn 40 weeks 6/22/07), A and O
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Old 04-03-2008, 02:53 PM
 
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I agree with what ElkMtnsMama said. Unless you are going to be climbing Fourteeners three days after you move here then you'll be good. I'm at 7,000 ft in CO, but my parents have a house at 10,000 so we go higher all the time. It's never been at issue for me but my DD2 did have altitude related issues because of her chronic lung disease so I did a lot of researching on the subject as well.

Here is one article that talks bout pg and altitude.
http://www.bodyresults.com/E2pregnantalt.asp



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Old 04-03-2008, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So then, I have another question for ya, then: Should we worry about our newborn not getting enough oxygen after birth, being purple, losing brain cells, IQ, etc? Sounds worrysome, I know, but I really don't know,.... ya know?

I have heard stories, (on this forum actually) of babies being born purple at high altitudes, or being given oxygen just after birth as a precaution, etc. I am a little skeptical now.... What do ya think fellow Coloradian's?
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Old 04-03-2008, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Meeker, Colorado. For a tempory job transfer-my husbands. I understand there's not much near there at all. I hope to find a midwife close, but we really wanted to have an unassisted birth at home, but feel a little insecure about not knowing the area (in case we need help), or not knowing much about our new territory-altitude things and all that may affect pregnancy or new born baby!!

I have a 11 year old, two year old, and homeschool!! (I have to learn how to put the cute little icon things under my post like you "regulars" have!! )
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Old 04-03-2008, 05:08 PM
 
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I wouldn't worry about that (oxygen) at 7k feet. The studies showing that problem are mainly at/above 10-12k feet.
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Old 04-03-2008, 06:09 PM
 
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Mtnlover, I currently live in New Castle, which is about 30 or 40 miles South of Meeker, (pretty close, when you're talking about Western CO) so I would be glad to share information with you on this area! Meeker is really pretty and not too crowded. If you would like, I can PM you my midwife's contact information. She was great, and I would not hesitate to reccomend her. She does cover a pretty wide area, and you'd have to check with her, but I expect she would be willing to travel to Meeker to attend a birth.

I really would not expect your baby to have any oxygen issues because of the elevation. 7,000' is not that high, especially considering that you already live 650' above sea level. That means your blood is already adjusted to an oxygen level slightly below that of sea level, which really does help quite a bit. If you are still concerned about it, and decide to have an unassisted birth, you could rent a little oxygen setup from the med supply company, for reassurance.
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Elksmtnsmama, how exciting! New Castle is one of the towns we will consider living in since its close to the jobsite (Meeker). I doubt we'll actually live in Meeker, because I hear its very hard to find available places to stay there right now. We will definately have to email. How do you do this "PM" thing? (Sorry, I am a very simple person with minimal computer lingo/knowledge!)

Anyhow, I guess this means you didn't have any oxygen issues with your homebirth? Is this a common concern though, in higher alt living that you know of? Talk to "ya'll" soon!!
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Old 04-03-2008, 08:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mntnlover View Post
So then, I have another question for ya, then: Should we worry about our newborn not getting enough oxygen after birth, being purple, losing brain cells, IQ, etc? Sounds worrysome, I know, but I really don't know,.... ya know?

I have heard stories, (on this forum actually) of babies being born purple at high altitudes, or being given oxygen just after birth as a precaution, etc. I am a little skeptical now.... What do ya think fellow Coloradian's?


It's not *uncommon* to have babies on O2 here, but it's not something I'd worry about. I say that because we had many consults with the Children's Hospital in Denver about my youngest so maybe I've heard about more babies/children on O2 here then most. Giving O2 as a precaution after birth is very unnecessary, the vast majority of newborn do just fine here. It would take severely low O2 sats to cause brain damage. If you have a baby that needs O2 then you can expect to see other symptoms first weight loss is a biggie, they burn so many calories trying to breathe, increased respirations, etc... My DD2 went on O2 at 6 weeks of age, she remained on it until she was 7m old. In hindsight, she really required O2 before but everytime we were at the docs her O2 sats were fine, but it wasn't until her first hospital stay were she was monitored 24/7 that we realized her sats would drop down to 60 and then very slowly climb back up to above 90, which is what you want them to be. She had chronic lung disease though and her lungs were not properly working, this was all resulting from a severe illness, she was actually born at home very healthy. My point being that she was probably dropping down to those levels for 2 weeks before she went on O2, today she is a very happy, smart 17m old.


Some babies are born blue, that's not a altitude problem, it can happen at any elevation. And another good reason for not cutting the cord right away, most babies will pink up quickly. A homebirth MW does carry O2 if she should need it. My babies having O2 issues at birth has never been a concern for me, DD2 was born 35 miles from the hospital, we since moved closer but that was after her health issues required it.

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Old 04-03-2008, 08:16 PM
 
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mtnlover, a PM is a private message, and this link http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=520255 will tell you how to do it. Just scroll down through the index until you find the right section.

How exciting to hear that you may end up in New Castle! No, we had no oxygen problems at all with our daughter's birth, and our midwife does carry it with her, in case there is ever a need.
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Old 04-03-2008, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, too, Peony for your very informative responses! And, what a blessing that your little sweetie is doing better now!! It sounds like I need to just "chill out" a little on this issue then, and leave it all to God! I'm just such a planner, and an information junkie when it comes to the health of my family, and wanted to know what I needed to know!
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