Alex, who wedded in 2011 while pregnant, remembers that it was hard to engage in the wedding preparations, to find a nice gown that would fit and to be happy on the wedding day.
“You can’t move around to look for things your committee does that. Then your gown gets adjusted to the last week and the wedding is supposed to be fun but you have nausea and mood swings,” Alex says.
Rita, who held her introduction ceremony (kwanjula) in 2012 while pregnant, echoes Alex’s sentiments ,saying: “You can’t do certain things for yourself because you tire very quickly.”
While Alex and Rita complain about having to adjust wedding gowns and being too tired to be actively involved in preparing for their big days, Stella, who held an introduction ceremony and wedded in 2012 while pregnant, was taken seriously ill after her introduction and wedding ceremonies. Early this year, a pregnant bride from Sheema district collapsed and died as she joined jubilant guests at her wedding reception.
Another pregnant bride in Ntinda went into labour prematurely the day after the wedding, losing her baby in the process. Yet for many couples, when an unexpected pregnancy occurs, the first instinct is to hold a wedding – it is the honourable thing to do – in order to have the child within the confines of wedlock.
But away from the growing concerns in the church about the spiritual message a pregnant bride sends across, is it safe for one to go through with the wedding with a bun in her oven?
Safe in healthy women
Dr Dan Kaye, a gynaecologist and obstetrician at Mulago hospital, said it is safe to prepare for a wedding while pregnant. Emmanuel Okiror, a nurse and postgraduate midwifery student at Makerere University, said “there are no biological bases for dangers of wedding while pregnant.”
Pamela Nawaggi, a clinical embryologist at Women’s hospital in Bukoto, is in agreement with Kaye and Okiror. She says that in healthy pregnant women, a wedding will have no dire health consequences. However, Nawaggi says that for women with gestational hypertension or diabetes, wedding preparations might result in some complications.
“If the pregnant bride-to-be has gestational diabetes and she gets so caught up in wedding preparations and forgets to eat, her sugar levels may go very low and she may collapse,” Nawaggi says.
A hypertensive bride-to-be’s blood pressure could also rise because of the stresses of preparing for a wedding. In extremely rare cases, Nawaggi says, a pregnant bride-to-be’s blood pressure could drop where she gets so caught up in wedding preparations and forgets to drink water and other fluids.
A pregnant bride-to-be with a weak cervix – doctors will tell you if you have a weak cervix – could also miscarry from the stresses of wedding preparations.
Okiror also concurred, wedding preparations “expose the [pregnant] women to extra physical and psychological stresses that will overwhelm [them] as compared to the non-pregnant woman because they already have an imbalanced physiological system”.
He recommends that pregnant women avoid standing for four hours or more, walking for more than two hours and frequent heavy lifting as these activities have been associated with unhealthy outcomes in pregnant women.
A pregnant bride-to-be should also stay hydrated and have balanced meals in time. Nawaggi says that foetuses are unlikely to be affected by the stresses of wedding preparations because “they have good coping mechanisms.”
Source : The Observer