Rare birth for Paralympic shooter Natalie Smith

Rare birth for Paralympic shooter Natalie Smith

Paralympic shooter Natalie Smith never thought she would experience the joys of becoming a mother—but that all changed on Sunday when she celebrated the birth of son Daniel.

Four years ago, theatre nurse Natalie's life changed forever when a hiking accident left her with a fractured spinal cord which resulted in a loss of sensation below the chest. 

Before her accident Natalie, then 34, and husband Stuart wished for a family of their own and were experiencing difficulty conceiving.

With the added difficulty of being a paraplegic, doctors were unsure if Natalie would be able to ever have children naturally because of the extent of her injury. 

Natalie said she was pleasantly surprised when she found out she was pregnant as it was very rare for women with paraplegia to fall pregnant. 

“I said to my friends and family that I wouldn’t believe I was pregnant until I actually gave birth,” Natalie said.

“I have gestational diabetes but I’ve been lucky to not have too many complications during my pregnancy.

“Given the complications, I was booked in for a planned caesarean birth on 10 April but little Daniel decided he didn’t want to wait that long,” she laughed.

On Saturday night (5 April) Natalie underwent an emergency caesarean at Mater Mothers’ Hospital.

“I had to be under anaesthetic for the birth and straight after the delivery I went into the operating theatre for unrelated surgery on my hips," she said.  

“I spent a bit of time in the Intensive Care Unit and because of my level of injury; doctors had to be extra careful with the anaesthetic.” 

Both mum and baby are doing well.

“The doctors and nurses at Mater Mothers’ Hospital were absolutely amazing. One nurse even came in on her night off just to be in the operating theatre when I gave birth. I can’t thank them enough.”

As well as juggling life as a new mum, Natalie will soon begin preparations to compete at the Paralympic World Championships in Germany in July, where Stuart and Daniel will cheer her on from the sidelines. 

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For urgent assessment at any stage of your pregnancy, please present to your nearest emergency centre or Mater Mothers’ 24/7 Pregnancy Assessment Centre in South Brisbane.

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