Pre-eclampsia or preeclampsia is a medical condition in which hypertension arises in pregnancy (gestational hypertension) in association with significant amounts of protein in the urine.
Pre-eclampsia is a set of symptoms rather than any causative factor, and there are many different causes for the condition. It appears likely that there are substances from the placenta that can cause endothelial dysfunction in the maternal blood vessels of susceptible women. While blood pressure elevation is the most visible sign of the disease, it involves generalized damage to the maternal endothelium, kidneys, and liver, with the release of vasoconstrictive factors being secondary to the original damage.
Pre-eclampsia may develop from 20 weeks’ gestation (it is considered early onset before 32 weeks, which is associated with an increased morbidity). Its progress differs among patients; most cases are diagnosed before labor typically would begin. Pre-eclampsia may also occur up to six weeks after delivery. Apart from Caesarean section and induction of labor (and therefore delivery of the placenta), there is no known cure. It is the most common of the dangerous pregnancy complications; it may affect both the mother and fetus.
Hi lovely ladies and excited Fairytales are True loyal readers,
I’m Caley from Ellie Love – I don’t know about you but I am really hoping that bebe Tuck has arrived by the time you read this!! Are you excited as I am? Following this journey with Sarah and her precious family has been special and I absolutely cannot wait to see his precious face. But as beautiful mama Sarah enjoys making special memories with her new little man, I am here to give you a quick recap on my pregnancy/birth story (and the
joys pains of pre-eclampsia).
As the above definition states, pre-eclampsia is not fun and not something that should be taken lightly, although the symptoms are pretty obvious. Unfortunately though, there is no cure or way to prevent or help it…
I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia at 31 weeks of my pregnancy and it was noticed in a routine blood pressure check at one of my scans. In South Africa, we go for a scan and visit the gynae once a month for our whole pregnancy, and once a week in the last four weeks of the pregnancy (a heck of a lot but a nice way to keep up to date with baby’s progress!) At 31 weeks, my blood pressure was 122/89 – slightly higher than the norm of 120/80 but not bad. At 32 weeks, my BP reading was 125/92 – high enough to make my gynae prescribe high BP medication for two week. At 34 weeks, my BP reading was 128/95 – too high and still climbing (even with the medication). I was then put on a stronger dose of medication for another 2 weeks and ordered on bed rest. Bed rest? For this busy mama? This was a tough ask but I tried my best!
At 36 weeks, my BP reading was 130/102 – extremely high and very dangerous for this mama and her heart. The main concern for me and my hubs is that our baby was still not considered “full term” and we didn’t want to risk have a C-section and for our baby to struggle breathing or being in the NICU. My gynae asked to see me daily for check ups and with this monitoring would make the final call.
On Friday, 13th April 2013 (37 weeks and 2 days), I drove myself to my gynae for my routine BP check up. I out out my arm, hooked up to the machine and gazed at a red screen that said 135/110!!!! Gynae did an internal, noticed that baby had started engaging, did a quick scan and confirmed baby’s current weight was 3,3kgs and ordered an emergency C-section for lunchtime that day. Our baby was coming…
I drove home, collected my husband and our hospital bags, and returned to the hospital to check in and become a mommy for the very first time. my C-section was quick and easy with limited discomfort and no pain and our healthy baby girl, Sophie Jade was born at 14:55 weighing exactly 3.3kgs. And at 14:56, my BP reading was back to 120/80 – a sure sign that our little princess just wanted to get out and come and meet us.
Pre-eclampsia is not to be taken lightly – it can be dangerous for both mother and child. The higher risk is on mom and her heart and natural birth is not recommended as blood pressure can spike intensely during labour and the actual few minutes traveling down the birth canal. High blood pressure and extreme swelling are tell tale signs and bed rest and limited movement is recommended. However, the down side to this is it can also cause extreme weigh gain. I gained 8kgs after being diagnosed and in those last 6 weeks, and a grand total of 22kgs during my whole pregnancy! Listen to your gynae, he/she always knows best and will do and recommend what is best for both mother and child.
Friday the 13th will now always be our lucky day.