I was informed by a Facebook post the other day that May is Preeclampsia Awareness month. I find this a very interesting coincedence, as Little Miss Minion was abruptly brought into this world due to Pre-e in May.
I thought I would do a post about preeclampsia and it would be prety much like what I’ve said before. I decided to take a look at Preeclampsia.org and found some very interesting information that I didn’t know about before today.
Did you know that preeclampsia encompasses several different health issues? It covers standard pre-e, plus HELLP syndrome, toxemia, and hypertension of pregnancy. It causes a range of symptoms in the mother and in the baby, most of which will result in death if not treated. It happens in an estimated 5-8% of pregnancies, but is resposible for 20% of premature births in the world. That is 2.6 million, if you wanted a number. It causes about 76,000 maternal deaths and 500,000 infant/fetal deaths worldwide annually. HELLP syndrome, which occurs in 5-12% of preeclampsia sufferers, is particularly dangerous, as it causes damage to kidneys and platelets (the part of your blood that allows it to clot), among other things.
There isn’t much known for sure about the causes of preeclampsia. Most specialists agree that it might be caused by a placental issue, but there isn’t much proof. See my last post for on that theory. The symptoms are much more well-known. High blood pressure, blurred vision, protein in urine, and seizures are pretty standard. Swelling and organ damage are also common. Having preeclampsia doubles mom’s risk for stroke and heart attack. Pre-e preemies are at higher risk for cerebral palsy, learning disorders, and more.
People ask me all the time if we will ever have another baby. The truth: I don’t know. Since I got preeclampsia so early (abnormal bloodwork at 25 weeks, full blown severe pre-e and emergency delivery at 28 weeks), I have a higher chance of getting it again. The average reoccurence rate is 20%, but some studies suggest its between 5-80%, depending on the severity. I would say a second trimester delivery puts me squarely in the severe category.
The good thing about pre-eclampsia, if you look really hard, is that most people are aware of it thanks to pop culture references such as Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife. Proper prenatal care is ESSENTIAL in monitoring preeclampsia. All of my symptoms could be brushed off as typical pregnancy things, until they did bloodwork. My advice to anyone reading this who thinks they might have some of the symptoms-PUSH YOUR DOCTORS!!!. I did, and I think it saved my life and LMM’s. I have every confidence that my doctors would have caught it, but probably not as early as we did.
Enough from me. Happy Intergalactic Star Wars day! May the 4th be with you!