Preeclampsia Awareness Month – Know the Facts

May is Preeclampsia awareness month. This is such an important topic to talk about and one that is close to my heart as I suffered with this condition in my first pregnancy.

First up though –  Preeclampsia the facts:

  • Preeclampsia is a condition that affects some pregnant women – around 6%
  • Usually (but not always) Preeclampsia occurs during the second half of a pregnancy and up to six weeks after a baby has been born
  • In 1-2% of cases the condition can be extremely severe
  • Not much is known about the causes of Preeclampsia although it is thought to be linked to a problem with the placenta.

Preeclampsia symptoms – Important to note that you can display any/all or even just one of these:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Protein in urine – also known as proteinuria
  • Severe headache
  • Visual disturbances (blurred vision/flashing lights etc)
  • Severe heartburn
  • Pain just below the ribs
  • Nausea / Vomiting
  • Sudden swelling (also known as oedema) in the feet, ankles, face or hands
  • A general feeling of being unwell

I was about 28 weeks pregnant with my first child when I started to feel a bit odd, just generally a bit unwell. However, you do feel a bit rough sometimes when you are nearing the end don’t you? Anyway, I thought that this was all fairly normal and as there were no specific symptoms to put my finger on I just carried on. At one of my midwife appointments my bump was measuring a bit smaller than they expected (this was ten years ago – not sure they even measure now!) so I was packed off to have a scan and to see what was happening in there. ‘Nothing out of the ordinary’ was the verdict, although my baby was measuring quite small for his dates apparently. I was to be measured every two weeks by the midwives and that was that. There was no mention of Preeclampsia.

At around 35 weeks I became really unwell but without the classic symptoms of Preeclampsia. I had some nausea and vomiting (not unusual as I also suffered with Hyperemesis ) but my blood pressure and urine remained normal at my midwife check. I was suffering with headaches but was told this was a side effect of my vomiting and to up my fluid intake. I had no swelling or pain so I was told to just carry on. In my gut, my instincts told me that something wasn’t right and at 36 weeks, after experiencing flashing lights and floaters (that’s what they call it!) in my vision, I admitted myself to the pregnancy assessment unit and demanded to be seen. I was admitted and blood tests were taken. It was only then that the doctors agreed that I was probably suffering with Preeclampsia and I was kept under 24 hour monitoring and bed rest on the ward for about five more days. I was only eighteen and I had never even heard of Preeclampsia and this was the first time any medical professional had even mentioned it to me. I had no idea what it meant and it wasn’t until at 36+4 days that my blood pressure shot up and my urine came back full of protein. I had an emergency induction and thankfully, little Zakary was born healthy and happy at 00:20 that night. Blood tests confirmed that my body had been and continued to be under a great deal of strain and I was kept in the hospital for a further four days post-partum.

My Preeclampsia story has a happy ending but unfortunately, I know of others that didn’t. If you are pregnant and don’t feel right, please listen to your body and your instincts. I’m sure that if you displayed any of the obvious symptoms such as high blood pressure or protein in the urine, then your midwife or doctor will take the necessary steps to keep you safe and well. However, not everyone experiences the typical symptoms and if, like me you just don’t feel quite right, then please speak up and insist that you are checked out properly. It could save both your life and your baby’s life.

 

 

 

A Mum Track Mind

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25 Comments

  1. Julia
    May 12, 2016 / 7:52 pm

    Very sensible article

  2. May 14, 2016 / 7:11 am

    I’m so glad you were well looked after. My friend had preeclampsia and it contributed to her delivering at 24 weeks and sadly losing her baby. The second time she fell pregnant she delivered at 26 weeks but fortunately little Bella has just turned one as they doctors were aware of my friends horrendous preeclampsia from the first pregnancy and she was well looked after and monitored. It’s such an important subject and raising awareness is vital so women know to look out for the signs xx #fortheloveofBLOG

  3. May 14, 2016 / 7:46 am

    Your symptoms sound exactly the same as mine did – I had migraines, floaters in the eyes, vomiting, slightly high BP and baby was measuring small (I also had low Papp A though), yet I was never diagnosed as having pre-e! Weird!! So odd what our bodies do to us!! #fortheloveofBLOG
    Mrs Lighty recently posted…Time FliesMy Profile

  4. May 14, 2016 / 8:09 am

    Thanks for sharing, it’s good to be aware of these things. Most of those symptoms I would have just put down to general pregnancy tiredness!
    Kiri recently posted…The toddler’s first hair cutMy Profile

  5. May 14, 2016 / 8:42 am

    I think this will be very useful to many pregnant women. Mother worried about this a great deal when she was expecting me. Glad you had a happy ending x #fortheloveofBLOG

  6. May 14, 2016 / 8:48 am

    I think this is an important post to share. There are still so many people out there who aren’t aware of the signs and symptoms of this condition or the dangers of it.
    Thanks for sharing it. You never, know, someone may be helped to avoid an unhappy ending by reading this. #fortheloveofBLOG

  7. May 14, 2016 / 8:52 am

    A really good post, if you have any concerns in pregnancy its so important to get checked out. I didn’t have Pre Eclampsia, but I had Obstetric Cholestasis, and I knew something wasn’t right, after a few back and forth visits the tests showed positive. Like you they don’t always show things first time round. Really pleased to hear your story had a great outcome. x #fortheloveofBLOG
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  8. The_tale_of_mummyhood
    May 14, 2016 / 9:32 am

    I’m sorry to hear about what you had to go through. This is a great post for raising awareness, I for one have certainly been educated on the condition. Thanks for sharing.

    #fortheloveofBLOG

  9. May 14, 2016 / 9:35 am

    This is a topic more women should be aware of. Glad it all worked out for you x
    #fortheloveofBLOG
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  10. May 14, 2016 / 10:40 am

    I didn’t realize it affected so many pregnancies. A very useful post thanks, please your story had a happy ending! #fortheloveofBLOG

  11. May 14, 2016 / 12:42 pm

    Oh that must have been so frightening for you – I’m glad you were looked after and it all turned out ok in the end. I have to say pre-eclampsia was one of my big worries during pregnancy as there’s not much you can do about it and have to be super vigilant – great post Hun and thank you for hosting #fortheloveofblog

  12. May 14, 2016 / 4:17 pm

    this is so important for people to be aware of. I’m so glad that you were well taken care of. I will share 🙂 #fortheloveofBLOG
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  13. May 14, 2016 / 7:00 pm

    This is a great awareness post – it’s one of those things that people think “I’ll never get” but it really can happen to anyone. I had swelling to my feet most of the way through my pregnancy, and was consistently told by my midwife not to worry about it as every one gets it. Then when I was about 38 weeks, my face and legs suddenly seemed to blow up – still I was told not to worry. At 41+1, I went in for a routine sweep, and very high levels of protein were detected in my wee, the midwife said she’d never seen such high levels! My blood pressure was fine, but I mentioned my concern about the swelling, and I was admitted to hospital with suspected pre-eclampisa. Because I was overdue, they decided to induce me just to be safe. To this day it was never confirmed if I had it or not, but it was certainly a scary time – I think more so because none of the midwives could really explain why it was a dangerous condition, just that me or my baby could be in danger. Thanks for a great post #fortheloveofBLOG

  14. May 14, 2016 / 8:16 pm

    A great article. Thank you for raising awareness. I didn’t know much about it or how severe it could be. I am pleased you had a positive outcome. X
    #fortheloveofBLOG
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  15. May 14, 2016 / 8:29 pm

    Such an important topic, that really needs to be spoken about more. They say Mum knows best and you clearly did when you took yourself to hospital. Thanks for raising awareness #fortheloveofBLOG x
    Hannah G, The ‘Ordinary’ Mum recently posted…52 Week Challenge- Week 9My Profile

  16. May 16, 2016 / 6:44 am

    As someone who also suffered from this, I did a similar post on this for awareness month. Hope that more people can recognise the signs #fortheloveofBLOG
    Yvonne recently posted…Alpaca and Llama TherapyMy Profile

    • May 16, 2016 / 7:54 pm

      I will go and check it out – thanks for your comments x

  17. May 19, 2016 / 6:22 pm

    I’m so glad everything was ok for you, my sister had mild symptoms and her daughter was induced 2 weeks early #fortheloveofBLOG

  18. May 19, 2016 / 7:25 pm

    Absolutely and completely and utterly trust your instincts! I had acute pre-e at 37+1 which led to HELLP syndrome. An emergency section and 2 platelet tranfusions later… 6 years later me and our little girl are extremely, EXTREMELY fortunate to be alive. We owe alot to the NHS and the amazing consultants and staff on duty that night. Trust your instincts is most definitely my advice to any one! So glad you had a happy ending too #FortheloveofBlogs
    Carol Cameleon recently posted…The ingredients for a healthy learning environmentMy Profile

    • May 20, 2016 / 6:32 pm

      Oh wow, that sounds so scary Carol, you poor thing! Glad it had a happy ending for you – the NHS is an amazing thing isn’t it! x

  19. May 20, 2016 / 6:05 pm

    Brilliant post highlighting such an important pregnancy condition, as women we know what is normal for us and although pregnancy can bring some weird and wonderful symptoms it is always a good idea to get checked out. Glad everything turned out ok for you and Zachary, and well done for fighting your corner 🙂 #fortheloveofBLOG

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