Brave mum’s joy worth the strug­gle

Sunday Herald Sun - - NEWS - GRANT McARTHUR

TOO many women, such as Anna Car­damis, are left an im­pos­si­ble choice — a risky preg­nancy, aban­don­ing med­i­ca­tion at risk of even greater dan­gers, or for­get­ting the idea of hav­ing chil­dren al­to­gether.

But five-month-old Alexan­der (with Ms Car­damis, above) is liv­ing proof of a new op­tion be­ing given to Ms Car­damis and other women by an Aus­tralian-first clinic.

Liv­ing with Crohn’s dis­ease placed Ms Car­damis in a catch-22 sit­u­a­tion.

“I was di­ag­nosed prior to fall­ing preg­nant and I was quite con­cerned about whether I could fall preg­nant or, if I did fall preg­nant and my dis­ease played up, what would that mean,” Ms Car­damis said.

“If your dis­ease is left un­treated it could progress quite rapidly while preg­nant, you could end up in surgery and de­liv­er­ing the baby early, which is a lot worse than po­ten­tially hav­ing some med­i­ca­tions.

“The re­al­ity was I had no other op­tions and it was go­ing to be more harm­ful for my baby if my dis­ease wasn’t well man­aged.”

With about one in 250 young Aus­tralians di­ag­nosed with in­flam­ma­tory bowel dis­ease, St Vin­cent’s Hospi­tal has es­tab­lished Aus­tralia’s first clinic com­bin­ing gas­troen­terol­o­gists and ob­ste­tri­cians to help women over­come their con­di­tions to have safe preg­nan­cies.

Dr Emma Flana­gan said the new clinic aimed to help women man­age their dis­ease to pre­vent growth re­tar­da­tion or pre­ma­ture births.

“Part of the clinic is re­as­sur­ing pa­tients that, if we can get their dis­ease un­der con­trol, they have a very good chance of hav­ing a healthy preg­nancy,” Dr Flana­gan said.

Pic­ture: IAN CUR­RIE

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