New research shows that some types of chemotherapy for pregnant cancer patients doesn’t hurt the baby. Here’s a summary of the study, plus hope for women getting chemo while pregnant.
If a pregnant woman ever needs pampering, it’s when she’s fighting cancer! A Little Something for Mama-to-Be Organic Pregnancy Gift Set contains five gifts to pamper and encourage women who are expecting. Chemotherapy can be an effective way to fight cancer, but it’s brutal on a woman’s body – whether or not she’s pregnant. This is the time to treat her body tenderly and help it fight the cancer.
If you know a pregnant cancer patient, read What to Say and How to Help Someone With Cancer. It can be difficult to know how to respond to a woman with cancer; that article will give you tips and ideas for supporting women who are getting chemotherapy during pregnancy.
Information for Pregnant Cancer Patients Getting Chemo
According to these research results, the most common cancers among pregnant patients were breast and haematological cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma. The study looked at 129 children, ages one to three, who were born after prenatal exposure to cancer treatment. These kids showed normal development of their mental processes and heart function when compared to a matching group of children from the general population.
This means that cancer patients getting chemo during pregnancy may not have to be overly concerned about how the chemotherapy drugs affect the baby.
Chemotherapy during pregnancy
Some women who have cancer fear that the chemo treatment will negatively affect the baby, so they terminate pregnancy or delay getting pregnant until after the chemotherapy is finished. This research shows that women may not have to worry about this. In fact, couples who want a family might start increasing their chances of getting pregnant even if they’ve been diagnosed with cancer.
Pregnant cancer patients need to know that maternal chemo treatment shouldn’t be delayed, say these researchers. Babies suffer more from prematurity than from chemotherapy, so avoiding prematurity is more important than avoiding chemotherapy.
Facts for pregnant cancer patients:
- The number of chemotherapy cycles during pregnancy in this study ranged from one to ten, and didn’t affect the babies’ health after being born.
- Premature birth was more frequent among children born to mothers with cancer who received chemo treatments.
- Babies born prematurely was most often due to a medical decision to induce labor so the chemo treatments for cancer could continue after the delivery.
- The cause of the other premature births isn’t unknown. It’s possible that chemotherapy triggered early labor or preterm contractions.
- Not all types of chemotherapy were included in this research of chemo treatments during pregnancy, so the researchers cannot guarantee that all types of chemotherapy are safe for pregnant cancer patients.
More research on pregnant cancer patients getting chemo treatments need to be done. But, this is good news. Remission from cancer AND the blessing of a healthy baby may be one of the best gifts for for cancer patients!
The bottom line is that doctors should not only start cancer treatment for pregnant patients immediately, but should also try to maintain the pregnancy to as near full term as possible.
Hope for Pregnant Cancer Patients Getting Chemo
My prayers are for faith, strength, energy, and encouragement for cancer patients who are balancing pregnancy and chemotherapy.
Gratitude for chemotherapy and pregnancy research
We are blessed with medical advancements in both safe pregnancies and chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients, and I am grateful for the work of oncologists and gynecologists. Science is a blessing, as is medical research.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the work of the doctors and scientists who care so much about cancer patients having safe pregnancies despite chemo treatments. Thank you also for the nurses, medical staff, clinics, and hospitals who help pregnant women through chemo, labor, and delivery. Thank you for the blessings that babies bring!
Strength for the chemotherapy treatments
God, please strengthen all the pregnant cancer patients and give them energy to sustain both the chemo treatments and the growth of their unborn babies. Give them strong bodies, minds, and spirits. Bless them with strength that surpasses all understanding, Father God.
Faith that chemo treatments will be effective
I pray for boundless faith that the chemotherapy will kill the cancer cells. Fill the moms, dads, relatives, and friends with faith that all the cancer will be eradicated, and the baby will be safe. Give them hope, help the families trust that Your hand is at work behind the scenes.
Protection for unborn babies
May You protect the babies of pregnant cancer patients. Blanket those tiny bodies with Jesus’ loving hands and tender care. Put a hedge of protection in the wombs of the pregnant cancer patients, Father, and don’t allow any of the chemotherapy drugs to cross membranes or borders into the babies’ bodies.
Heavenly Father, chemo treatments are brutal. They’re painful and disheartening, and it’s difficult to stay hopeful and courageous throughout the process. I ask You to fill pregnant cancer patients with courage to keep persevering through the chemo treatments and after-effects of the drugs. Help them be strong for their unborn babies, and help them not give up on the life that’s inside them.
Companionship for the journey
Bring the moms supportive friends and family members to provide personal support and love throughout the process of getting chemo treatments while pregnant. God, please ease the pain of chemotherapy by providing companionship for the journey. You know what a pregnant cancer patient needs, and I ask that You fill those needs before she’s even aware of the lack in her life.
Practical help for basic needs
Finally, Father God, I pray for many hands to help with the necessities. Pregnant cancer patients who are getting chemo have lives outside the hospital and treatments; I pray they find help for their homes, children, work, finances, and other responsibilities. May their needs be met in practical ways, and may pregnant cancer patients find the resources they need to be healthy and strong.
I pray for a strong spiritual connection with You through the chemotherapy treatments, emotional health throughout the pregnancy, and physical strength to overcome the experience of being a pregnant cancer patient. Amen.
If you know a woman who is dealing with chemo during her pregnancy, read Get Well Soon Messages and Gifts for Cancer Patients.
I welcome your thoughts on pregnant cancer patients getting chemo treatments below. I can’t offer advice or counseling, but I hope you share your experience.
Sources: “Pediatric outcome after maternal cancer diagnosed during pregnancy” by Frédéric Amant et al. New England Journal of Medicine; and The European CanCer Organisation (ECCO). “A cancer diagnosis while pregnant should not lead to treatment delay or pregnancy termination, study suggests.”