Your feelings about cancer during pregnancy

A cancer diagnosis often makes people feel anxious, sad, angry, frightened and worried about the future. When you are pregnant at the same time, your feelings can be even more complicated.

To begin with, you are likely to feel shocked or numb. It may be hard to accept that cancer and pregnancy can happen together.

It is natural to feel angry or resentful. You may feel your normal healthy pregnancy has been taken away from you. It is common to feel a sense of loss because your experience of pregnancy is not what you had imagined.

You will also be coping with the physical and emotional changes that pregnancy brings, which can be stressful.

You will probably feel very anxious about your own health and the baby’s. Understanding how the cancer is treated in pregnancy may help you to feel a little more in control. It may also help to know how best to take care of yourself.

Some women also wonder if they are somehow to blame. There is nothing to feel guilty about as you have not done anything wrong.

Focus on taking care of yourself and being kind to yourself. Get as much support as possible. Your healthcare team, family, friends and partner, if you have one, will give you lots of support to help you to cope. Don’t be afraid to accept their help. We have more information about getting support if you have cancer during pregnancy.

You may worry you are not bonding enough with the baby because your time and energy is taken up with treatment. It is important to remember that women who do not have an illness can also find it hard to bond with an unborn baby. It does not mean you won’t feel a strong connection when the baby is born.

The most important thing you can do for the baby is to look after your own health. But there are still ways you can focus on your pregnancy too, despite what is going on.

We have more information on talking about cancer, including helpful advice on coping with your feelings and getting support.

During chemotherapy I switched off from being pregnant. I wouldn’t buy anything and envied other expectant mums. Emotionally, I felt robbed.

Polly

I was completely mind blown and devastated. I felt so overwhelmed. In that instant, I didn’t know what the outcome for the baby would be.

Kimberley