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I’m scared of getting pregnant again -Woman who developed Bell’s palsy during pregnancy

Pregnancy is a profound and transformative journey that brings immense joy to many women. While some women have relatively easy and uncomplicated pregnancies, others may face a myriad of difficulties throughout the nine-month journey.

These challenges can manifest in various forms, including medical complications, physical discomfort, emotional struggles, or a combination of factors unique to each individual.

SONIA OKERE shares the story of a woman who experienced facial paralysis during her pregnancy…

My name is Mrs. Josephine Eniola Omobulejo, and I am from Osun State. It all started in 2020 when I was pregnant. Being a first-time mom, I followed all the doctors’ advice and couldn’t wait to meet my child.

However, two weeks before my expected delivery date, I took a nap, and when I woke up, I noticed that I couldn’t open my right eye, my right nostril was blocked, and I couldn’t move my lips. In fact, all the muscles on the right part of my face were paralysed and very painful.

Eniola undergoing medical examination for Bell’s palsy

When my husband saw what was happening, he quickly rushed me to the hospital. It was past 11 p.m. when we arrived the hospital. Fortunately, there was a doctor on duty. After examining me, he diagnosed me with Bell’s palsy.

It was the first time I had heard of such a condition. According to the doctor, what I had experienced was Bell’s palsy, a condition that causes sudden, temporary weakness or paralysis of the facial muscles on one side.

It is believed to occur when the facial nerve, which controls facial muscles, becomes inflamed. The exact cause is often unknown, but viral infections, such as the herpes simplex virus, can be potential triggers.

According to medical reports, Bell’s palsy is not a common disease, and its prevalence among pregnant women is estimated to be less than 1%.

After a thorough examination, the doctor explained to Eniola and her husband that due to her pregnancy, no prescription drugs would be administered on her, and that she would have to endure the symptoms until she gave birth.

Bells palsy occurs when the facial nerve, which controls facial muscles, becomes inflamed… viral infections, such as the herpes simplex virus, can be potential triggers

“So, that’s how I went back home and continued to endure the pain,’ Eniola says.

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Describing her experience, Eniola says, “The right side of my face was swollen, my right eye was closed, I couldn’t open my mouth wide to eat, and I couldn’t chew anything. In fact, I couldn’t laugh or speak properly because the muscles were stiff and painful.

“While I was going through all of that, I kept praying for the day of delivery to come quickly. After my child was born, I was referred to the University College Hospital in Ibadan. They ran several tests and prescribed medication for me. I was also scheduled for physiotherapy.

Eniola during and after the Bell’s palsy

“Initially, I thought everything would be resolved quickly, but I was wrong. The healing process was very slow. The drugs didn’t really work for me. What really helped me were the physiotherapy sessions, even though they were very painful. The doctors also advised me to exercise and massage my facial muscles at home, and I followed their advice.

“After many months of being unable to open my right eye, on the day it finally opened, my joy knew no bounds. When I continued with the exercise, gradually, the swollen part of my face started reducing. But it took over a year for everything to go back to normal.”

Did Bell’s palsy affect my self-esteem? Yes, it did! I still remember the day of my child’s naming ceremony. I was too ashamed to come out and greet the guests. I stopped going outside because people were always staring at me and gossiping behind my back.

In fact, they said it was a spiritual attack, and they suggested that I should consult different native doctors for a solution. Thank God that I didn’t listen to them.
Meanwhile, while I was crying and complaining about how ugly I had become, my husband kept telling me that I was still beautiful and that everything would be fine again. In fact, he helped me regain my self-confidence.

on the day of my child’s naming ceremony. I was too ashamed to come out and greet the guests

During my research about the condition, I learned that, in some cases, people who experience Bell’s palsy never fully recover from it. So, I’m grateful that I was able to conquer it. Today, my face has returned to its normal form, my nostrils are open, and I can speak properly, laugh, and smile again. However, whenever I remember what I went through, I feel scared of getting pregnant again. Moreover, the physicians said I still need to heal for some years before having a second child.

whenever I remember what I went through, I feel scared of getting pregnant again

Due to my experience, I started a kiddies store that allows me to connect with pregnant women. Sometimes, when they come to purchase things for their children, I share my story with them to inspire and guide them.

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Advice for pregnant women
In conclusion, I would like to advise every woman to hold onto God, especially when they are pregnant. If you are at risk of developing complications, you need to follow your doctor’s advice.

Some people will offer all kinds of unsolicited recommendations that are not medically related. Don’t listen to them. Also, stop moving from one spiritualist to another, because some of them will add more problems to your case.

Learn how to pray for yourself, and also use the internet to get all the necessary health information that will guide you. Children are beautiful gifts from above, and I pray that they will not bring sorrow to your life.

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