Saturday, October 14, 2006


Most women who get preeclampsia develop a mild version near their due date and they and their babies do fine with proper care. But when preeclampsia is severe, it can affect many organs and cause serious or even life-threatening problems. That's why you'll need to deliver early if your condition is severe or getting worse.

A blood pressure of 210/160 is severe (that was me!).

Preeclampsia causes your blood vessels to constrict, resulting in high blood pressure and a decrease in blood flow that can affect many organs in your body, such as your liver, kidneys, and brain. When less blood flows to your uterus, it can mean problems for your baby, such as poor growth, decreased amniotic fluid, and placental abruption — when the placenta separates from the uterine wall before delivery.

Changes in your blood vessels caused by preeclampsia may cause your capillaries to "leak" fluid into your tissues, which results in swelling (known as edema). In rare cases, preeclampsia can lead to seizures, a condition called eclampsia. In fact, "pre-eclampsia" was so named because it was first identified as the condition that leads to these seizures. All women with severe preeclampsia are given magnesium sulfate, an anti-seizure medication.

Despite extensive research, no one knows for sure what causes the condition. It's likely that there's no single explanation. Genetics, certain underlying diseases, the way your immune system reacts to pregnancy, and other factors may play a role. Most experts believe that many cases of preeclampsia actually begin early in pregnancy, well before any symptoms become evident.

Well there it is, no known cause, no known prevention, and the "cure" is to give birth. But this is why I agreed with RescueMike to have this baby in a hospital. He will take my blood pressure regularly, especially toward the end of the pregnancy and we will keep regular prenatal visits with the midwife. She will test for protein in my urine and generally keep and eye on things. I will watch for swelling, especially in my face, and rapid weight gain near the end. Other than that, I will stay as healthy as possible and hope it doesn't appear this time.

So I plan to have two birth plans, one for no pre-e and one for pre-e. I will be more flexible with my expectations and I will have a better understanding of what will need to happen if I do end up with it again.

And I now understand how bad my condition was, what the risks were, and how lucky I was not to end up with a c-section. Acceptance feels good.


Anonymous Leakyboobs said...

I asked around about some ways to prevent pre-e... There are some strong views on this site, and his experiences from the 60s in the south still colored his opinions, but has a HIGH-protein method that really worked for many people. It may work, it may not, but it's worth a shot, right? Here's the link to the specific diet: (but please view this pop-up too -question mark included-)

Whatcha think?

8:39 AM  

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