Ep 104: A Hands-On Approach to Addressing Trauma in Pregnancy with Parijat Deshpande

In today’s episode I’m happy to welcome back Parijat Deshpande. Parijat was initially on the podcast on episode 74, a birth story episode where she shared about miscarriage, IVF, having a very preterm baby  at 24 weeks, NICU, and then surrogacy for the next pregnancy. Her experiences very much inform her current work,

Parijat Deshpande is a leading high-risk pregnancy specialist, somatic trauma professional and speaker and author who guides women to improve their pregnancy complications so they can reduce their risk of preterm birth. Her unique neurobiological approach has served hundreds of women to manage pregnancy complications and reclaim a safety and trust in their bodies that they thought was eroded forever. Parijat is the author of bestselling book Pregnancy Brain: A Mind-Body Approach to Stress Management During a High-Risk Pregnancy. She is also the host of the popular podcast Delivering Miracles®️, that discusses the real, raw side of family-building including infertility, loss, high-risk pregnancy, bed rest, prematurity and healing once baby comes home. 

Parijat takes a really unique approach to helping women who have a high risk pregnancy. This episode is especially for people who’ve had a history of second/third trimester loss, pregnancy complications, or preterm delivery but there is information in here for anyone who is pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant.

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • How Parijat works with pregnant people
  • How the work Parijat does interfaces with traditional care from a physician
  • What are some gaps in the medical community for high risk pregnancies
  • What trauma-informed care is and how it shows up in pregnancy
  • What “neouro-endo-immuno balance” means in pregnancy
  • What Parijat means by feeling “safe” during pregnancy
  • How a hands-on approach to managing stress can improve pregnancy
  • How past trauma can affect future pregnancies

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Ep 104: A Hands-On Approach to Addressing Trauma in Pregnancy with Parijat Deshpande

p>Nicole: On today's episode of the podcast. We have Parijat Deshpande, a high-risk pregnancy specialist, and a sematic trauma professional. Welcome to the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified OB GYN who's been in practice for nearly 15 years. I've had the privilege of helping over 1000 babies into this world, and I'm here to help you be calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful pregnancy in birth. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Check out the full disclaimer at drnicolerankins.com/disclaimer. Now let's get to it.

Nicole: Hello there. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 104. Thank you. Thank you for spending a bit of your time with me today. In today's episode, I am happy to welcome back Parijat Deshpande. She was initially on the podcast on episode 74, and I'll link that in the show notes where she shared her birth story, how she struggled with miscarriage, in vitro fertilization, having a very preterm baby at 24 weeks who had a prolonged NICU stay, and then how she decided to do surrogacy for the next pregnancy. Those experiences very much so inform her current work. And currently she is a high risk pregnancy specialist and a somatic trauma professional. She's also a speaker and an author who guides women to improve their pregnancy complications so that they can reduce their risk of preterm birth. She has a unique neuro biological approach, and this has served hundreds of women to manage pregnancy complications and reclaim a safety and trust in their bodies that they thought was eroded forever.

Nicole: She is the author of the best-selling book, Pregnancy Brain, a mind body approach to stress management during a high risk pregnancy. She's host of a podcast called Delivering Miracles that discusses the real and raw side of family building, including infertility, loss, high-risk pregnancy, bedrest, prematurity, and healing. Once a baby comes home, she takes a really unique approach to helping women who have a high risk pregnancy. It kind of felt like for me, like taking the mind body connection, that concept to a whole new level that is not typically done. So we have a very interesting, informative conversation about gaps in care for women who have high risk pregnancies, how past trauma can show up in pregnancy, what she means by feeling safe during pregnancy. We talk about the balance between the neurologic system, the immune system, the endocrine system, during pregnancy, some practical tips to help you and much, much more.

Nicole: Now this episode is especially for people who've had a history of a second or third trimester loss, pregnancy complications, multiple miscarriages or preterm delivery. But actually there is information in here for anyone who is pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant. So definitely check out this episode, you're going to learn something I promise. Now, before we get into the episode, have you checked out my free online class on How To Make A Birth Plan That Works? This free one hour on demand class gives you a step by step process to help you have the beautiful birth that you want. You see, two of the most influential factors in your birth are the way that your doctor approaches birth and the way that the hospital approaches birth. And I give you a set of questions to ask so that you understand those two things. You'll also get tips to get your doctor to pay attention to your birth wishes and much, much more. This class is on demand. It's free. It's offered several times a day. So do register for the class at drnicolerankins.com/birth-plan. All right, let's get into the episode with Parijat.

Nicole: Well, thank you, Parija for coming back on to the podcast. I'm so excited to have you here. You had such an interesting story and of course, we'll link to the first time you were on the podcast sharing your birth experience, but now we're going to follow up with how some of that has resulted in, um, your current work.

Parijat: I love it. Thank you so much for having me back. I'm so excited to chat with you again.

Nicole: Why don't you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and your work and your family, if you'd like.

Parijat: Absolutely. So, uh, I'm Parijat Deshpande and I work with women who are trying to conceive and are pregnant after second or third trimester loss or prematurity. And I take a body-based trauma informed approach to support their bodies, to help them reduce their risk of complications in preterm delivery and navigate the medical system so that they can have a different experience next time during their next pregnancy. And that work is entirely influenced by and inspired by my own personal experience of growing my family in a very challenging non-traditional way. If you will.

Nicole: Yeah, you have to tell us a bit about that.

Parijat: Um, so my, my oldest, my son was born extremely pre-term after a very high-risk pregnancy after IVF, after an experience with loss. So his journey home was a really challenging one. He was born at 24 weeks and five days, and we spent a lengthy NICU stay, um, hoping that he would come home to us, which he did thankfully. And then, um, after that experience with the number of complications that I had with his pregnancy, we decided that it wasn't actually safe for me to be pregnant again. And so we pursued gestational surrogacy to, uh, bring our second one home. And, uh, the process to bring her home was also complicated by multiple miscarriages and, uh, just a variety of complications with the fertility treatment process. And so she was our very, very last embryo. So my son was our very first one from IVF and she was our very last, so I called them my bookend babies, and that's what we've got going on over here. We're just so lucky to be able to have them in our lives. And both of them just inspired my work so much every single day.

Nicole: Absolutely. So like I said, we will link to your first podcast episode. I distinctly remember when we recorded that episode, that my mouth was open. Cause I was just like, this is a lot for one person to have to go through. So the fact that you've come on the other side of it and have like turned it into something so meaningful and helpful to other folks is really inspirational.

Parijat: Thank you.

Nicole: So how do you typically work with pregnant people?

Parijat: I work with them, you know, I love working with them very closely. So I work with a very small number of people at a time and I work it's all virtual. It was, it's always been virtual even before the pandemic. So, um, I get to work then with women who are all around the world and I've worked with people from a variety of different countries and continents and people who are local and the work is primarily through calls and through email support and, um, really working very closely so that as things are happening and things are changing, we can keep up very quickly and adjust the work that we're doing together very quickly. So they're not having to wait weeks at a time before they get feedback from me. We, they get that feedback almost instantaneously throughout the day.

Nicole: Gotcha. So you provide a, um, a model of really, uh, a high touch service. So you limit the number of clients that you have, so you can really give them the individualized attention that they need.

Parijat: Exactly. That's exactly it.

Nicole: Okay. Okay. So how does what you do interface with like traditional medical care from a physician?

Parijat: Oh yes. Love this question. This is probably one of my favorite parts of the program is, is this aspect of it. So I work with women who require pretty intense medical care. They, you know, as much as I love how many options there are available now for kind of more holistic approaches and natural approaches. And that's so wonderful, my clients are those who don't necessarily have those options as options available to them because of their history and what's going on in their current pregnancy. And they're also clients who have lost trust in the medical system. And so the work that I do with them as it interfaces with traditional medical care is one re-establishing that trust in the system that they need to rely on to continue to grow their family. And then two, I really kind of dive into what that care is to provide them an alternative, uh, perspective to take back to their, um, their medical providers.

Parijat: And what that means is, for example, I'll look at, say blood work or I'll look at, uh, the hospital records from previous pregnancies, not to provide any kind of analysis, but to go, what other questions are there in here that they can take back to their care providers to ask that they may not be asking or that they may not have even thought to ask, to get some more information about how that's going to influence their care now and their care and their future pregnancy. Um, and what that does is it facilitates a conversation between them and their provider that they may not be having for any number of reasons. And it starts to reestablish trust, not only in that relationship, but also in themselves to be able to, uh, know how to ask these questions, what specifically to ask in what way to ask it and in, um, how to get the most out of that appointment, even if they're in that appointment for 10 minutes and in doing that, then they're able to leave those appointments with more answers than questions, which results in less Googling, which I think we all agree is important.

Nicole: Yes. 100%. So what are a couple of gaps that you see in the way, women who have a high risk pregnancy or have a prior history of, um, um, trauma through loss or preterm birth? What are some of the gaps that you've noticed in the way that women are cared for in our traditional medical system?

Parijat: Yeah, I think there are a couple that come to mind pretty quickly. One is there's not enough trust in the women's voice or their intuition or their knowledge of their bodies. I would say 99% of my clients have come to me with a history of, I knew something was wrong. I was trying to get somebody's attention and they kept telling me everything was fine. And then all of a sudden everything was not fine. And that in and of itself is an extremely traumatic experience. You lose trust in your body, you lose trust in the system, you lose trust in your providers, and yet when your heart wants another baby, what do you do? It's a really challenging situation to be in. And you certainly don't want to go into your next pregnancy, not trusting yourself, your body, your voice, your providers, the medical system either. Right?

Parijat: So I think that is one. And I think the second one which is tied to this is not providing trauma informed care. And by that, I mean really understanding the physiology of trauma, that it is not something you can deep breathe your way out of that. You can positively think your way out of, but understanding that, you know, even the very sight of you in front of this patient can be triggering for her. Your white coat can be triggering for her. The blood pressure cuff around her can be triggering for her and knowing how to approach these difficult conversations that, you know, my clients and people like my clients are having about decisions they have to make in their pregnancy and choices that they have. And, um, even just hearing some ambiguous, if not bad news, knowing how to have those conversations in a way that does not further trigger them and their previous trauma and traumatic losses, I think is a really big one.

Nicole: That is huge. Uh, I know I, myself only have recently started learning about what trauma informed care means. And like, it's, it's, it's more in depth, like you said, and I know I certainly have things that I could learn about it, and it's not a traditional part of the way that physicians are trained, so I can 100% see that. Um, for sure. So then, um, how about, how does what you do interface with care from mental health professionals? And I forgot to ask, like, what is your, I usually ask people to say like, what is their background or training? So maybe if you can answer that question first, what is your training? Cause I know you were a mental health professional, and then how does that interface with women who are also seeing a mental health professional either before or during their pregnancy?

Parijat: Absolutely. So, yeah, you're right. Uh, my, my training, my, uh, original professional training was in clinical psychology. And I went through the whole route of, uh, building that career up until, uh, my whole experience with fertility treatment and all of that began. And it was through that personal experience. I realized the gaps in the training and clinical psychology for supporting women who are going through something specifically like this, a high risk pregnancy after trauma or loss. And because of that, uh, the work that I do is very different from mental health work. I no longer provide any kind of mental health services. And my focus is very body-based as opposed to thought based, which is what the traditional training in clinical psychology is about. And what I found is that most of my clients have tried traditional mental health care and have found it to be insufficient. And so by the time they come to me, they're no longer working with mental health providers or they'll do like a, you know, a monthly check-in or something like that. But for the most part, most of them are not working with mental health providers anymore.

Nicole: Oh, that's interesting. I, uh, for some reason I would have thought that it would have been kind of like working simultaneously, but it's interesting that you see that most people haven't have, they just not found the help that they needed.

Parijat: I think it's a combination of exactly what I found to be missing, which is why I shifted my focus to the way that I did is one most mental health providers don't speak the language of high risk pregnancy and prematurity and loss. I mean, we have some we're seeing now who are specializing in loss or prematurity a little bit, but to be honest, it's one of those things where if you don't really work in the NICU, for example, or in the unit, it's really hard to know, or if you haven't had personal experience there, it's, you're still kind of looking at it as an outsider, which I fully recognize I would have too had I not been living in the NICU for so long or having lived through this myself. And so I think that's part of it is then when you are working with somebody who does not speak that language, that can be triggering and re-traumatizing in and of itself, as you were having to explain your experience.

Parijat: And I think the second piece is, um, my, a lot of my clients have recognized that while there is a lot of benefits to traditional mental health support like psychotherapy, uh, it only goes so far and what's missing is the body piece because pregnancy and fertility treatment and labor delivery birth, all of that is so visceral. And it is so physical that there's only so much that thought based work can do. And at some point you have to focus on the body, which is exactly why I shifted my, my support to be body-based. And I think that's when they usually come to find me, as they do the initial work with them, they get some amount of relief, which is great, but they're like, hm, there's still something missing. I'm still quite not ready to conceive yet or something like that. And worried about my next pregnancy. I'm not really sure. And I think they also recognize that we can't separate mental health and physical health, which is again where my, my work merges the two is focusing on the nervous system addresses both. And I think that's why, um, that's when and how they find me and start working, we start working together.

Nicole: Gotcha. And I want to be clear that neither one of us are saying that mental health professionals aren't useful because they are yeah, exactly. Just, yeah, just, it just depends. And I will, I will, uh, agree that it is very helpful to seek out people and more people are doing it that have some experience in pregnancy and postpartum or peripartum care. And it can be hard to find someone who has that experience or knowledge or focus area for sure. And, uh, it, it's kinda like, yeah, like you were saying, some things you have a deeper level and understanding for after you go through it. There's just nothing like it. I mean, there's nothing to say, like for like, I was a bad position for instance before I myself had a pretension, but like, it just, it just changes you in a different way

Parijat: It changes you. Absolutely. Absolutely it does. Exactly. And I think, I think that it's important then to find somebody who is up to date on the, the, the knowledge that you are looking for. Right. For sure. Um, and, and that can include that personal experience as well. And I really appreciate now seeing more and more physicians and more and more providers of all kinds coming out and sharing their personal experiences too, because then you can kind of connect and go, Oh yeah, that's what I've been through also. You're I know you're going to get what I've been through.

Nicole: Yep, yep, yep. Yep. So let's talk about that body connection actually, since you, you brought it up, is that where just coming from your website, you talk about the neuro immune endo balance during pregnancy, is that, that body connection that you're talking about and if so, what does that mean?

Parijat: Right. That's exactly it. So, you know, my focus when I went through my personal high-risk pregnancy, I remember distinctly being, and feeling very anxious and very scared all the time. And I remember thinking, well, I don't just want anxiety relief. I want to know how to feel better so that I can also protect my baby and, and help myself stay pregnant. Especially when I started noticing that my anxiety was very closely tied to my preterm contractions, for example. And so it was in this, uh, additional training and research that I went into looking at, well, there is actually a very close connection. It's not that you think yourself into preterm contractions or hypertension or anything like that, but there is an actual physiological change that happens in your body that contributes to an increased risk of pregnancy complications and preterm delivery. And it is through, uh, this neuro endo immune balance that we're talking about that.

Parijat: So I like to describe it like a three-legged stool. So pre pregnancy, we have those three systems: the nervous system, the endocrine system, which is tied to hormones, and immune system, which is often associated with the info with inflammation. They have to work in a particular balance for optimal health. When we become pregnant, those three shift automatically they have to, in order to support a healthy pregnancy, when that shift has happened, that is different from pre pregnancy. And it is in that optimal range. We S we see, uh, uh, a very high chance of a healthy pregnancy going forward. Barring anything else that might be happening when that those three are off balanced from the pregnancy typical state, which often happens when you are living in a body with chronic stress or traumatic stress impacts the nervous system, which then impacts the endocrine system and the immune system. And when those shift beyond that range, that's when we see an increased risk of complications, including preterm delivery.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. And I think, oh, I wonder if this is particularly helpful because a lot of women feel like somehow their body failed them the first time. So helping them to both forgive themselves or give themselves some grace that, you know, there wasn't anything that they did wrong or their fault, but also learning how to change that aspect for the next pregnancy. Is that fair to say?

Parijat: Yeah, absolutely. And I think it's, it's, it becomes, uh, an experience of hope also for women who keep hearing, well, we don't know why this happened, and this gives a door for additional exploration to go, well, this may not be the only thing that happened, but could this offer some insight into what else we can do differently next time to support your body, to reduce your risk of the complication occurring again, next time around.

Nicole: Love it, love it. So now one of the other things you talk about that is important to do for the next pregnancy is feeling safe. So what does that mean when you talk about feeling safe during your pregnancy?

Parijat: Yeah. It's I say, feeling safe, but what I really mean is creating the physiological change in your body so that your nervous system is acting, uh, with optimal flexibility is essentially, that's actually what I'm trying to say, but that doesn't sound as catchy as you like, saying.

Nicole: No, that is really like a very succinct and clear definition of, of, of what you mean. Cause I think you can feel a little bit like, I don't know what exactly that mean, but, um, that, that, I get it. Okay.

Nicole: So it's really like working with your body so that you're you're you look, I can't even say it now. You have to say it again. Cause I liked it so much. You say it so much better. So say it again.

Parijat: Oh gosh. I don't know if I remember exactly how I said it, but it's essentially working with your nervous system to, uh, have it basically working within its optimal flexibility. What happens when we're living with traumatic stress? So after an experience of pregnancy trauma, birth trauma, medical trauma, NICU trauma, any of that, or traumatic loss, the nervous system, if it hasn't had a chance to discharge the survival, uh, energy, so to speak that has been thrown in your body because you went into survival mode. If he couldn't come out of that, that's what we call trauma. And what that means is the nervous system has lost its optimal flexibility to go from the Sur, the kind of fight flight survival mode into rest repair mode, bouncing between the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems. It's not able to do that as effectively or if at all, for some people depending on their situation. And so when we are stuck in that survival mode, we don't feel safe, just pure and simple.

Parijat: We don't feel safe. And so when you go to your doctor's appointment and you have medical trauma, you're not going to feel safe, no matter how kind and wonderful your medical provider is. You're not going to feel safe when you are getting ready to deliver your baby. And if you haven't really done the trauma healing work from your previous birth trauma, labor is not going to feel safe to you. So lots of things like that. And so in order to feel safe, it's not a mental shift where you have to tell yourself to feel safe or have some mantras or affirmations or anything. It really starts at the body level first. You know, all of those other things can come after your body has shifted to restore that optimal flexibility in your nervous system, which as you can imagine, what as we just talked about then has a cascading effect on your endocrine system and your immune system, which again, then works to reduce your risk of complications or improve though. Any of them that have all already come to be in this pregnancy.

Nicole: Absolutely. So I love how you are combining both that, um, things like the energy approach in feelings, for lack of a better word with science, like you're, you're, this is based on a science, like you do research, you stay up on things, um, if I'm not mistaken, is that correct?

Parijat: That's right.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. So this isn't just like, I don't want to say woo woo or like, right.

Parijat: No. Right. That is what the emp- impression is sometimes is when we talk about stress, when we talk about feeling safe, when we talk about these things, it has this air of, okay, well, I'm just going to think it or do something kind of intangible to do that. And that's something that I feel very strongly about is I, cause I remember being in that moment going tell me something to do. I don't want,

Parijat: Cause otherwise I'm just going to be sitting on pub med for hours and hours and hours reading more things I shouldn't be reading. So give me something to do. And so the work is very tangible. I have exercises that I give my clients and we are tweaking constantly and we're always focused on her body and what her body's telling her that she needs to do differently or the same or slightly adjust to get her to a place of that nervous system flexibility. And it's just a very goal directed, very tangible approach to this work because I get it. Otherwise your mind runs away with you I've had, has totally happened to me too. And, and that can feel really overwhelming in an already scary situation.

Nicole: For sure. For sure. For sure. So speaking of scary, what are ways that past trauma or from pregnancy losses from having a high risk pregnancy, a prior preterm birth, what are ways that, that past trauma can show up in that next pregnancy and, and, and throw things off because I'm guessing you're going to say some things that we probably may not even realize.

Parijat: Possibly, uh, you know, even before pregnancy, a lot of my clients that come, they come and start working with me right before they're ready to start trying to conceive. And when we look back at their medical history, we can see signs of it already. Uh, for example, you might notice that you have, uh, some insomnia that has just been around for a couple of years, three years or so. And when we track it back, we go, when did this start? Exactly. Oh yeah. It was when my daughter was born and went into the NICU. Okay. Right. Uh, we see, uh, I see very frequently actually NICU moms having developed autoimmune diseases. And if they are active auto immune diseases, that's usually a good sign that, that, that is, um, a piece of that as the trauma playing out for sure. In your body. Um, and then when we see, look into pregnancy, we see it in a variety of different ways.

Parijat: One can be elevated blood pressure when you go into your doctor's office, but everything tracks fine at home. Um, you can see it as a multiple pregnancy complications, uh, frequently. I see it as gestational diabetes. That's not managed well, even with really good diet exercise and, and all of the standard procedures that you try. Uh, you just can't get it under control, gestational hypertension, kind of same thing. You're trying all the medical approaches and it's just not quite coming to the range that we want to see it at preterm contractions. Um, we see again, insomnia pain increase, you know, there's so many different ways that it can present even during pregnancy. Um, in addition to the kind of anxiety roller coaster, I like to call it where you're, you'll do a couple things to kind of calm yourself down before, say an ultrasound, you get the good news. Okay, everything's looking good. You take a deep breath, you feel better, you get to the car. And you're like, okay, wait, but now what if something's wrong? Right. And that roller coaster of the up and down constantly, you just can't find your footing on experiencing long-lasting relief from that. Those are a lot of different ways that I see it coming up.

Nicole: Yeah. I think another one that comes to mind maybe is unexplained pain. Yes. Yeah. That you've had chronic pain and don't understand why. I think we, we definitely underestimate the effect that events can have on us physically. And, um, just, and it's not being like some, some people have a hard time wrapping their minds around that because it, it feels, they think you're trying to say like, it's all in your head and that's not what it is at all. It's that, there's a connection between the things that happened to you and what physically manifest in your body. Absolutely. Sometimes you need to uncover that in order to fix the things that are manifesting in your body.

Parijat: Absolutely. And what I like to remind people, I'm so glad you said the it's all in your head piece. Cause that does come up a lot. And what I like to share, and again, why I do this work. So body-based and physiologically is when we are living in survival mode and that shift has happened in the nervous system. We actually lose access to parts of our brain that allow us to process complex thought and future planning and all of that. And so really actually is physiologically, not even in your head, it actually is in your body because the nervous system has changed in a way that has dumping all of these changes to your hormones and to all different. I mean, literally every body's system changes when you are in survival mode, right? I use the example of being chased by a bear when you're being chased by a bear, the only goal is to survive that bear attack.

Parijat: So digestion changes, your cardiovascular system changes, respiratory system changes, right? Everything changes all in order to keep you alive and safe. And so now you take out the bear and you replace that with say fertility treatment or pregnancy or labor and delivery. It's the same thing that's happening in your body. All of those changes are happening to keep you alive and safe. And your body has not in your brain has not realized, Oh, the bear's actually gone or there's a way to get away from this bear, so to speak. Right. And so it's, it's very, very body-based. And so for anyone that's listening, it is absolutely not in your head, uh, both kind of in lay speak, but also physiologically it's just cannot. It's not possible for it.

Nicole: Love it. Love it. Love it. Love it for sure. For sure. So let's give some tangible, like pieces of advice, things that you would tell people who have a high risk pregnancy, what are two or three pieces of advice that you want to give?

Parijat: Yes. So if you are trying to conceive after loss, after preterm delivery, after pregnancy trauma, birth trauma, any of that, I think the first thing to do, uh, and it sounds really simple, but I think the very first thing to do is to acknowledge that what you experienced was a trauma. I think we're very careful to use that word. I hear so often. Well, but baby came home well, baby was healthy. Well, baby was full term. Um, you know, and I was able to breastfeed or something like that. And we kind of minimize that experience because of some external factors that we think kind of justify that this was not trauma, but, you know, right. Your body is telling you and you know, and so take a moment, take a day, take a week and really allow yourself to accept what I went through was a trauma. It does matter what my sister went through, whether it was easier or worse does not matter what my neighbor has gone through or what the stories they read on online are. And that they're so much worse than mine. It doesn't matter. Your body is telling you and to really, really, really start there by owning that, because until then, it's going to be very hard to, um, to know what the next steps are for you and your particular body.

Nicole: That's that is so important because especially since our society often has this, you have to push through and, and then also the way you should just be happy because your baby came home, um, philosophy. So recognizing that, I just love that piece of advice. Please give yourself permission to acknowledge your own experience without comparing it to anyone else.

Parijat: Exactly. Yeah, exactly.

Nicole: And so what's another piece of advice you give?

Parijat: I think after that, then once you have really given yourself that permission and accepted that, uh, the next piece I think is to really get curious and to go inwards and investigate, what is my body telling me? Where are those signs? Like we just talked about what are those clues? My body is telling me that I still have this trauma in my body, that my body is still functioning as if I am still being chased by that bear and find what those are. And that can sometimes be a little overwhelming. Cause you, you start making that list. You go, Oh my gosh, there's so many things. And so, you know, I encourage you to think of that as, Hey, your body's really trying to get your attention. That's all it is. All of this is manageable.

Parijat: When we take a trauma informed lens. Now you've accepted and really given yourself that honoring of yes, what I've been through is trauma. Yes, I'm living in a body with traumatic stress and these are all the ways it's manifesting through my body, through my health. Now I know what I can do about it. The support will come from nervous system support and really restoring that flexibility and that health to your nervous system. And so get really curious about what are the ways and, um, and, and get curious about what are the things I'm trying that are kind of working, you know, like maybe you're taking sleeping pills at night and they work most of the time or they make work like 60% or something. Right. Maybe, you know, go a little bit deeper with that. Could this be another way that my body is telling me that I need to really look inside and support my nervous system in a different way.

Nicole: Gotcha. Gotcha. Anything else?

Parijat: I think reach out for support. Yes. Don't do this alone. It's not worth it. Yeah. It's, it's too much. Um, it's too much on you, especially if you're already pregnant to, uh, to have to manage all of that all by yourself, you don't deserve that.

Nicole: For sure. For sure. And, and, and it can look like various ways you might imagine. And I would say maybe you have to like try different things until you find something that works as well.

Parijat: Exactly. Yeah. That's right. So,

Nicole: Um, just to wrap up, what would you say is the most frustrating part of your work?

Parijat: I think it is when I meet women who really believe that there's nothing more they can do.

Nicole: Mm. So you think there's an opportunity for just about everyone to, to try a new approach?

Parijat: Yeah, I do. Because at the very least what, what, what we can address is your experience inside the medical setting, to be able to really be present with your medical providers, to make choices about what lies ahead for you, uh, instead of, um, which we can't do when we are living in survival mode, they're not actual choices, they're reactive experiences to looking for safety essentially. And so I think at the very least that's possible for everybody and best case is we can actually beat medical odds, the odds that you are given. Let's see if we can actually, um, support your body in a way to have a different experience physiologically next time around.

Nicole: Yeah, I like that. I like that for sure. So on the flip side, what's the most rewarding part of your work?

Parijat: It's, uh, it's a particular moment that I see in all my clients' faces when they hit their, when their body responds differently than they've ever expected. Uh, there's a look that they get, they all get this look on their face. It's amazing. Um, sometimes it's when they experienced their contractions stop. Like I here they come again and then they do cause they know some of the work that we've been doing and then they stop on their own. They get this look or, uh, I have a lot of clients right now, especially who have a history of hypertension. And so when they're able to take their blood pressure without being triggered and their blood pressure is actually within normal range or better than it's ever been before. Um, that look, I think is, is the top. And that's, I cert certainly rivaled with receiving the email of the birth announcement of their baby. Oh, sure. Yeah. Emails pictures. Oh my gosh. Yes. They're the best.

Nicole: And I can imagine, imagine that the work that you do is beneficial beyond pregnancy, for sure. Yeah, it is. Yeah. So not just like during pregnancy but life.

Parijat: It is. Absolutely. I was just telling a client yesterday. In fact, I said, once you do this work, you open this door, you can never close it again. It's just, you're always going to hear my voice going. What's your body saying, what's your nervous system doing? Um, and, and it's amazing cause it does. It goes beyond, uh, certainly through labor delivery, but into early postpartum, it improves healing rates. Uh, no matter how you delivered and pain improves significantly. And then the, any kind of lifelong health things start to get better afterwards and you now know how to support your body through whatever might happen, even after pregnancy to keep it in that optimal range of that nervous system, flexibility to support your body, to improve health, which is really cool.

Nicole: Really, really cool. Really, really cool. So what is your one like favorite piece of advice that you'd like to give to expectant moms?

Parijat: I think it is don't underestimate the power of your body, especially when you are faced with pregnancy complications or, uh, any kind of challenges in pregnancy, because I know we don't talk about that enough kind of in mainstream media, you see these easy breezy, lovely pregnancies you think but, that's not me. I'm broken that lady over there is not broken, I'm broken. And I really like to reinforce that you have a tremendous amount of power in your body. And when you can tap into really understand this neuro endo immune connection to pregnancy health, suddenly this is like mind blowing you. It's like you realize you have this magic wand inside your body this whole time. And so please don't ever lose faith in that. You do have more power in your body than you realize. And I'm saying that as somebody who had eight pregnancy complications in my pregnancy, I get it. I know how hard that is. And you still do have that power. I really believe it. Yeah.

Nicole: Yes, yes, yes, yes. Love it. Love it, love it. So where can people find you? I know you have a fabulous Instagram account with lots of useful information there and then website, you have a book, your program. So tell us all the ways that people can find you.

Parijat: So I like to hang out on Instagram. I'm @healthy.highriskpregnancy and I love it when listeners, if you're listening right now and you're not driving, take a screenshot of this episode and tag me and TA tag Dr. Rankins, and, uh, let us know what your biggest takeaway was from this episode. I love seeing that on Instagram. Yes. And, um, and then you can find me on my website at my full name parijatdeshpande.com and there's links to my book, Pregnancy Brain, which was meant specifically for women with high-risk pregnancies. And I dive into like the whole neuro endo immune physiology a little more deeply than we got into today. And, um, and then you can listen to my podcast, Delivering Miracles is they're made for high-risk pregnancies as well. And then my program Path To Baby, if this sounds like something you're looking for, I'd love to talk to you there too.

Nicole: Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for agreeing to come back on to the podcast. I love connecting with people who are so passionate about being of service and people, women who have a high risk pregnancy people who've experienced high risk pregnancy and pregnancy loss are definitely an underserved group of people. So thank you for your work. Thank you so much.

Nicole: Well, that was a episode. I really love how she approaches high risk pregnancy. I think sometimes it feels like, and I mentioned this in the episode that when you have a high risk pregnancy, that there's not a lot of places and spaces for you. So I just really love how she's carved out this really unique approach to helping pregnant people who have a high risk pregnancy. Now, you know, after every episode, when I have a guest on, I do something called Nicole's Notes where I do my top two or three takeaways from the episode. So here are my Nicole's Notes from my conversation from, or for my conversation with rather Parijat. Okay. Number one, trust is so important in your relationship with your provider. And I think this is especially the case in a high risk pregnancy and the term high risk gets thrown around a lot. Um, there are some things that are certainly like higher risk than others.

Nicole: For example, like sometimes people who have gestational diabetes are considered quote unquote high risk, but I think that's a really different situation than if you had something like a second or third trimester loss or preterm delivery before. So just be careful about that term higher risk. But I thought all that to say is that I appreciate this. She takes an approach of helping women get that trust in the system that they actually need. Okay. See, sometimes I see that women want to bypass the traditional medical system all together, even if they have a high risk pregnancy and that's actually not safe. Home birth or midwifery care are great options for low risk pregnancies, without any problems. If you have a high risk pregnancy or some issues, then you are best served in a more traditional medical system. So I really appreciate that Parijat helps you develop that important trust that you need so that you can get the care that you need.

Nicole: Number two, she talks about connecting with your body on a much, much deeper level. And I think that we could all benefit from a deeper connection to our bodies and really being in tune with our bodies and thinking about how our bodies and the things that happen in our bodies are a manifestation of what's happening in our life. I can't say that I have like a great way necessarily to do that. Other than to say, just deeply, listen to your body, listen to yourself, trust your intuition and seek that deeper work. If you need to, in order to figure out things again on that higher and deeper level. And then number three, if you have birth trauma, okay. And that is defined as however you feel like you need to define it. It's not a competition. As she talked about, one experience may not be traumatic as it is for someone else who has that same exact experience.

Nicole: But if you feel like you have some trauma from your birth, then acknowledge it and take time to address it. Everyone again is going to be different in what feels traumatic and how they address it. And it may be as simple as something is journaling. It may be sharing your birth story. That may be very helpful. It may be joining online communities. It may be getting some professional help, but know that if you don't address it, it's going to continue to show up in various ways. So take some time to address your birth, acknowledge it if there was some trauma involved with it. So there you have it, that is it for this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast, wherever you're listening to me right now, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon, Audible. You can listen to podcasts anywhere now. And I would really appreciate it if you leave that review on Apple Podcast in particular, because it helps the show to grow.

Nicole: And it helps other folks who find the show. Also, don't forget to check out the free online class on How To Make A Birth Plan That Works. It's drnicolerankins.com/birth-plan. Women love that class. You will definitely appreciate having gone through it afterwards. And that is it for this episode, do come on back next week. And until then, I wish you a beautiful pregnancy. And thanks so much for listening to this episode of the All About Pregnancy & Birth podcast, head to my website, drnicolerankins.com to get even more great information, including free downloadable resources on how to manage pain and labor and warning signs to look out for after birth. You'll also find information on my free online class, on How To Make A Birth Plan That Works, as well as everything you need to know about my signature online childbirth education class, the Birth Preparation Course. Again, that's drnicolerankins.com and I will see you next week.

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