High-Risk Pregnancy and the Mind-Body Connection

You don’t know Murphy’s Law until you’ve heard the story of Parijat Deshpande’s high-risk pregnancy.

After being diagnosed with endometriosis, Parijat and her husband sought out a specialist and started fertility treatment. After an intrauterine insemination that ended with an ectopic pregnancy, they tried again with IVF. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome was just the first in a series of eight complications that Parijat endured during the pregnancy. She was forced to stop working at six weeks—and her water broke at only 23 weeks and two days.

Today, Parijat sits down with me to share her story, discussing the details of the medical complications she survived and the emotional extremes that came with extensive bed rest. She walks us through the harrowing weeks leading up to her son’s premature birth at just 24 weeks and the time he spent fighting for his life in the NICU. I ask Parijat how the pregnancy affected her work life and shaped the business she is building now. Listen in for Parijat’s take on the connection between personal healing and business growth and learn how she supports women in processing the grief and guilt associated with high-risk pregnancy.

The Startup Pregnant Podcast Episode #049

Some quotes from the episode

  • “With OHSS, when I landed in the hospital, when I landed in the ER … something felt very scary-wrong.”
  • “If you have severe endometriosis, do not do IUI. It is not safe.”
  • “[IVF is] a full-time job … I felt like a little guinea pig in a lab.”
  • “[IVF] really took the intimacy of family-building—completely just chucked it out the door.”
  • “The day that our son was conceived, we weren’t even in the same rooms as each other. We weren’t even in the same city.”
  • “We would go through different milestones that were supposed to be exciting like, ‘Hey, we made it through the first trimester!’ And we would celebrate for five minutes, and then something else would go wrong.”
  • “How many hits can you take before you finally just say, ‘I’m done. I can’t do this.’ Except you can’t walk away. You can’t say, ‘Well I’m done with the pregnancy. No thank you.’”
  • “There were days when I … felt like such a failure, I felt so broken, I felt so guilty, and I just didn’t know how to get through the next moment.”
  • “What I had done was put myself in this bubble and completely released all the tension I’d been holding in my body. I knew, without a doubt, that if I had any tension in my body … those contractions were going to come back, and I did not want that to be the reason why he was born so early.”
  • “This baby has survived so much already, we’ve got to give him another chance. I will take the magnesium and whatever it comes with.”
  • “The NICU became our home.”
  • “It was this really bizarre, really difficult emotional experience of watching this baby—he was the size of a sheet of paper—try to fight for his life.”
  • “[Micro preemies] are little spitfires. Whatever that will is that they had, that strength to keep them fighting for their life? That doesn’t go away when they get home.”
  • “I just felt like I owed [my son] my entire life to make up for how much he had to go through because I couldn’t stay pregnant.”
  • “I never realized how much personal growth and healing is required to start your own business.”


Parijat Deshpande is a high-risk pregnancy expert, speaker and advocate for moms at risk for pregnancy complications and preterm birth. She combines her professional background in clinical psychology, wellness and lifestyle medicine with her personal experience with an extremely high-risk pregnancy to help women lower stress, have a safer pregnancy and reduce the risk of premature delivery. Parijat is also the founder and executive director of MySahana, a nonprofit that seeks to reduce stigma and increase awareness about mental health issues and wellness in the South Asian community.




Thank you to the sponsor of this episode: Acuity Scheduling. Acuity functions as an online assistant, helping to organize your schedule and collect client information. Take advantage of Acuity’s 45-day free trial for Startup Pregnant listeners at https://acuityscheduling.com/startuppregnant.

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