May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month!
What is Preeclampsia? I didn’t have a clue what that word meant until I had to deal with it myself and believe me, it’s no fun! But what is it? Well, it’s a disorder that occurs in pregnant women and can affect the mother and baby. Some of the main signs are Swelling, High Blood Pressure, Headache, Protein in the Urine and Vision Changes but some women don’t recognize the symptoms. From my understanding, it’s not known what causes it but there are researches out there.
Now what about HELLP Syndrome? HELLP Syndrome is an extension of Preeclampsia and the letters mean this:
H (hemolysis, break down of red blood cells)
EL (elevated liver enzymes)
LP (low platelet count)
The only treatment for either of these is to deliver the baby.
I am a Face of Preeclampsia. With all that being said, I am taken back to when I was diagnosed. I had went to the OBGYN about two weeks before I had emergency C-Section. My blood pressure was slightly elevated so the doctor said I had to do a 24 hour urine sample which I did and protein was not detected in it. So, here I am thinking everything was good and I just needed to relax. Wrong! When I woke up with a splitting headache and throwing up I knew this wasn’t going to be good. So off to the hospital I went. My blood pressure was so high that they were surprised I hadn’t had a stroke. Me on the other hand, was so confused on what was going on. I can remember the nurses running around like they were crazy…oh wait…that was probably me! Any who, I was finally sent up to the Labor & Delivery floor where one of the doctors told me, I was going to deliver today. All I could think was, “this isn’t happening to me!”
The hospital I went to wasn’t equipped to handle a 27 week baby so I was transported to a bigger facility that could handle it. I remember the doctor coming in telling me that my blood pressure was some what under control but my blood work had come back and my liver enzymes were elevating. The doctor said it’s go time and they were prepping the surgery room. That afternoon, my baby girl was born. Not exactly how I had pictured it but there wasn’t a choice for me.
For all the pregnant ladies out there, please watch out for the signs. Make sure you go to your doctor visits and if there is anything out of the ordinary contact your doctor. I believe doctors should go more in depth about this disorder because it truly is life or death. Preeclampsia can occur in any pregnancy, not just the first and it can occur after delivery. African -American and Hispanic moms are disproportionally affected by it.
If you would like to find out more about Preeclampsia or HELLP Syndrome Click Here and you will be directed to the Preeclampsia Foundation.