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anyone suffered Pre- E or HELLPS?

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
severity? did you have more children? what was the outcome? were you free from pre-e or HELLPS, was it less severe, more, the same? i had my first at age 37. we were planning a homebirth. i was induced at 40 w and 1 d for two out of three symptoms of HELLPS. even though i felt fine. blood tests were the indicating factor. i was wanting another baby but now after researching the disease i am absolutely terrified.
post #2 of 38
I had severe preeclampsia with both pregnancies, and delivered at 32 and 34 weeks. I had my tubes tied when DD was born. After DS was born and in the hospital for 6 weeks, I really thought there was no way I would want another (and I had hyperemesis my whole pregnancy, so that was a factor too).

But as time passed, I realized I would go through it all again for DS, and I really wanted a second child. It took a while, but we were finally ready about 3.5 years later.

It was another very difficult pregnancy. Hyperemesis again, and then pre-e set in at 29 weeks, and I spent the next 5 weeks in and out of the hospital before delivering at 34 weeks. My BP went back to normal soon after, but I still have visual disturbances and a headache that have persisted for 14 months now, as a result of the preeclampsia.

The good news is that HELLP Syndrome does not commonly recur in a subsequent pregnancy. It can, but it's very rare. And since yours was at term, you are less likely to develop HELLP and/or pre-e the next time, and if you do, it would probably not be early.

There are no hard and fast rules about these syndromes, which makes them so frustrating! But in general, in most women anyway, recurrence is typically later and less severe if it happens at all (and then there are those of us who have history repeat itself).

If you haven't found it already, the forums at the Preeclampsia Foundation website are wonderful for news and support.

(((hugs)))
post #3 of 38
I had mild, late term pre-e with ds2. They found it at 37 weeks, my protein was 500 with the cutoff being 300. No symptoms other than high bp which was 140/90, so not incredibly high either. Blood panels came back normal, so no HELLP.

BP dropped nicely after birth, but they induced me immediately. They don't fool around with pre-e at the hospital I was at.

This time around I'm 22weeks. So far I'm doing fine but definitely keeping an eye out for it. Like Bodokon said, if it was late term and mild, chances are slight for a reoccurance, and if it does, it will probably be later & milder.

Ds was in NICU for a week though. He had too much Magnesium sulfate in his system and just couldn't take good deep breathes. Once it was out of his system (3 days) he was fine and just kept for observation. He was small though--4lbs 13oz. Might be due to the pre-e or might be due to me just making small babies (I was 6lbs even at full term). Had he gone for 3 more weeks, he'd be a normal sized baby.

Because I had such a mild case, because my son wasn't really affected, I felt fine conceiving again. However, I made sure to space out my birth by 2 yrs at least (both for c/s AND because at the time I heard that too close births increase risks).

Ami
post #4 of 38
I had Preeclampsia with my daughter. On bed rest for a month before they finally induced me at 39 weeks. My husband and I are currently ttc #2. I am also scared about this as well as my daughter was a difficult labor and is now special needs as well. We are just hoping for the best and if I should become pregnant again I will do the best I can to take care of myself.
post #5 of 38
I had pre-e too, onset of BP symptoms at 34-ish weeks with protein about 2 weeks later. Nearly 5 weeks of bedrest led to an induction at 40w (way too late). My condition became severe at delivery, and I also had post-partum pre-e.

I'm happy to say that while I had a touch of pregnancy-induced hypertension with #2 (my O.B and PCP believe that I have a predisposition to hypertension which is unmasked by pregnancy), I went quite uneventfully to 41 weeks with her.

Now, I'm 25 weeks with my 3rd. Since my BP seems to respond unfavorably to pregnancy, we'll be watching closely. But I'm pretty confident that I will make it to term again.

Everyone's risk of recurrence is different. IIRC, HELLP is single digit odds of recurrence with a 25% risk of pre-e in subsequent pgcy. But if you don't know what your underlying conditions may be (there are many that contribute), then your risks may be higher. If you're concerned, I would find out about a preconception consultation and testing with an MFM. That could give you a clearer picture of your individual risk.
post #6 of 38
I had what was probably turning into pre-e and landed me an induction...sudden bp rise at 38 weeks, labs trending toward pre-e. I am defintiely nervous about it this pregnancy, but so far (28 weeks along) so good. My baseline bp is better than it was with my last preg, probably because of acupuncture. We are also did baseline labs so if something is (or isn't) going on, it's crystal clear.

I will say that it is really hard to strike a balance between realism and neuroticism about what *may* happen. Having a good provider is really helping with this though.

The first pregnancy is most likely to develp pre-e--and of course if you have had it before, your risk is higher...so I consider it a wash in terms of likelihood. It still doesn't enable me to zen out about my planned homebirth, but I feel "OK" about it.
post #7 of 38
I had pre-e, HELLP, and postpartum pre-e and had an emergency c-section at 33 weeks. Symptoms started at 29 weeks but I was in major denial. The insight over at the Preeclampsia Foundation was incredibly helpful and I really suggest that you go over there and check it out and visit their forums.

Pre-e completely obliterated my plans of having another baby right away. In fact, I'll end up waiting five years between babies. I'm not pregnant now, but have built up a fantastic care team who have worked with me to uncover underlying issues and help me come to terms of what happened and how likely it is to happen again.

For awhile, DH and I were terrified of even thinking about trying again. But now that some time has passed and we've done so much research and visited so many specialists, we feel much more positive about the whole thing. I know how I'll have to be "managed" during my next pregnancy and understand what I can do now to help increase my chances of doing better next time.

Give yourself some time and start networking with other pre-e mothers. Go see an MFM and get checked out for underlying issues.

Good luck.
post #8 of 38
Hugs mamas... I just finished Ina May's book and there is a chapter about pre-E and such. I'm watching my nutrition very closely this time around.
I generally have very low blood pressure (last week 90/51). I did fine with DS. At 35 weeks, I had a higher reading (160/80) in the office, but great readings at home. I hated my obgyn who kept telling me how stupid natural birth is and that I better expect a huge episiotomy and shoulder dystocia and so on. Both hubbie and I though the elevated reading was due to my apprehension and negative feelings. We bought a well-made blood pressure cough and measured at home, with the highest reading being 120/80! A week later I spent a couple hours at the hospital, I was very ill and coudln't keep water down from severe heartburn. I received IV fluids and they monitored my pressure all the time, and it was fine.
At 37 weeks, my water broke. I left for the hospital and had great blood pressure values. My pee was protein free at all times. I had popped however a couple of Tylenols for bad heartburn despite my better knowledge that my liver cannot take that stuff....
And here it begins: I had back labor and no doula present. The jacuzzis were all in use, I only had a shower. I felt very alone and defeated, and DH was just scared to death. At some point I gave in and wanted the epidural. They do a CBC and stuff for that. They found my liver enzymes higher than usual (duh, Tylenol intolerance, which was known) and my platelets were super low (luckily, that saved me from an epidural!). So the obgyn diagnosed via the phone (!) HELLP on me. My blood pressure remained stable and low, only throughout contrax it was high for the severe pain I experienced! Since I was called a HELLP mama, I was not allowed to push upright and kept in place in stranded beetle by a nurse. Horrible. DS was born and the placenta plopped out 3 minutes after him, followed by the hugest clots and tons of blood. The nurse and CNM panicked and rammed a Pit shot in my thigh (despite my saline lock that was available!). That stopped the bleeding. Both the nurse and CNM felt that it rather looked like a slight placental abruption from the huge clots I had than HELLP syndrome, especially since my BP readings were never that high nor did I have protein in my urine, no swelling, no heightened reflexes.
I know Pre-E and HELLP is severe, but I really don't think I suffered from it (neither does my MD sister who reviewed my records). Yet I am terrified of developing any of those symptoms and the ramifications of pushing on my back, which was absolutely horrible.
post #9 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by nia82 View Post
I just finished Ina May's book and there is a chapter about pre-E and such. I'm watching my nutrition very closely this time around.
Just wanted to note that while good diet/nutrition is necessary for all pregnancies, PE and HELLP are not nutritional diseases. You can't eat your way into PE/HELLP and you can't eat your way out. These are diseases of the placenta that begin very early in the pregnancy; they are not diseases caused by poor nutrition.

I love Ina May's book, but I am frequently disappoined by how often caregivers correlate PE/HELLP with nutrition and imply that a simple diet plan or good food choices will make all the difference. It is simply not true. All mamas need to eat well during their pregnancy, but there is no known way to prevent pre-e/HELLP.
post #10 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparklett View Post
Just wanted to note that while good diet/nutrition is necessary for all pregnancies, PE and HELLP are not nutritional diseases. You can't eat your way into PE/HELLP and you can't eat your way out. These are diseases of the placenta that begin very early in the pregnancy; they are not diseases caused by poor nutrition.
This exactly!

nia--I am not a doctor (just a lowly doula ), but what you describe happening does NOT sound like either HELLP or PE to me. It sounds like anxiety (bad reading) and someone who can't process tylenol very well. Even then, I can totally understand your anxiety about it for next time given what you went through.

If you are looking for things to do in the future, acupuncture is great (before/during pregnancy) and a liver detox (before preg) can help. The liver does play a role in PE, and having a well supported liver can help lower your odds--plus it might help you be able to tolerate things like tylenol (?). I think if I were in your shoes, I would probably feel proactive working with an acupuncturist/ND to get liver/palate numbers in a better range...just so there are no false alarms for anybody. HTH somehow.
post #11 of 38
Thank you... I think better nutrition cannot hurt, and I cannot wrap my head around The Farm's super low pre-E rates... Something must have influenced that.... My blood values are superb now, but I'm not ever gonna take any Tylenol again (I haven't since that episode)! It might get really hard by the end of the pregnancy if heartburn returns, but the midwives at the birthing center have a herbalist and know good acupuncturists. I'm sure they know of a ND too - we don't have NDs around here!
Interestingly enough, I know that I have a very small liver for my body size (yet oversized lungs, good for a non-drinking athlete ). I rarely drink alcohol, but I get buzzed pretty good from one glass of wine, which leads me to believe my liver is really, well, not to be over-used. I'm keeping medications to a total minimum (just prenatals and purified fish oil) and drinking pregnancy tea with a component that is supposed to help the liver (dandelion root). I will ask my midwives though to order blood tests throughout to check for liver function, to see what's going on.
post #12 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by chellebee View Post
If you are looking for things to do in the future, acupuncture is great (before/during pregnancy) and a liver detox (before preg) can help. I think if I were in your shoes, I would probably feel proactive working with an acupuncturist/ND to get liver/palate numbers in a better range...just so there are no false alarms for anybody. HTH somehow.
Great idea! I've been seeing an acupuncturist/herbalist for an ovarian problem for several months now and we've talked extensively how we can work together to prep for my next pregnancy (still a year or so off). Liver detox is a must for me.
post #13 of 38
I don't know why The Farm has such low PE rates either, but the Brewer studies have never been replicated and no mechanism has been found that would explain why it works.

I have chronic hypertension that was unmasked by pregnancy. (It never returned to normal and I'm now on medication.) My BP climbed slowly but steadily throughout my third trimester. At 37 weeks I was admitted to hospital with what turned out to be severe preeclampsia (I was 4+ on initial dip). Two days later, after my 24 hour collection had come back and they were talking about induction, my baby showed signs of distress on the monitor and a decision was made to section immediately.

I did all the things you're supposed to do for hypertension... lost weight, cut salt, ate better. Didn't really help, unfortunately. No one knows what will happen if I manage to get pregnant again. The MFM I saw (on my RE's advice) was completely unhelpful.
post #14 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexisT View Post
I don't know why The Farm has such low PE rates either, but the Brewer studies have never been replicated and no mechanism has been found that would explain why it works.
We know so little about the human body and nutrition, that I wouldn't discount a diet free from processed foods as being a co-factor in preventing pre-e.
post #15 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekgolightly View Post
We know so little about the human body and nutrition, that I wouldn't discount a diet free from processed foods as being a co-factor in preventing pre-e.
But it doesn't.

Preeclampsia happens all over the world every day, since the beginning of time. It is the leading cause of maternal mortality, even in (or maybe especially in) countries where processed foods are not widely available.

And there are women who follow the Brewer Diet to the letter and still develop severe, pre-term preeclampsia and/or HELLP Syndrome. There are many on the Preeclampsia Foundation forums.
post #16 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexisT View Post
I don't know why The Farm has such low PE rates either, but the Brewer studies have never been replicated and no mechanism has been found that would explain why it works.
I would suggest that you read about the Brewer diet on the Preeclampsia Foundation website. Brewer lacks empirical data and there is evidence suggesting that in some cases, rather than curing pre-e (or GD or whatever reason a mother chooses to follow it), a high-protein diet can contribute to negative fetal/maternal outcomes. If you would like some specific links to information about Brewer controversy, please PM me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by geekgolightly View Post
We know so little about the human body and nutrition, that I wouldn't discount a diet free from processed foods as being a co-factor in preventing pre-e.
I hate to harp on this, but as I said before, we can't eat our way into pre-e and we can't eat our way out. If eating processed foods was a factor in the development of pre-e, then almost every woman in mainstream American would have pre-e. Pre-e is a placental disease that starts during the early stages of placental development; whether or not you eat a cheeseburger and fries during this period is not going determine whether or not you develop pre-e. Conversely, when pre-e symptoms begin, eliminating processed foods and going on the Brewer diet isn't going to be a miracle cure.
post #17 of 38
Sparklett, I have read the many threads about Brewer on the PE forums. That's why I say that his studies have not been replicated and we haven't found a plausible mechanism for it. I realize that my writing was unclear; I did say "why it works" when perhaps "why it would work" would have been better phrasing (not implying the diet's efficacy). I do not believe the Brewer diet prevents preeclampsia.
post #18 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bokonon View Post
But it doesn't.

Preeclampsia happens all over the world every day, since the beginning of time. It is the leading cause of maternal mortality, even in (or maybe especially in) countries where processed foods are not widely available.

And there are women who follow the Brewer Diet to the letter and still develop severe, pre-term preeclampsia and/or HELLP Syndrome. There are many on the Preeclampsia Foundation forums.
I know the brewer's diet isn't the end all be all for anything, but I also know that there is no definitive reason for pre e and you saying diet is not a factor is just as frustrating for me as someone who says the Brewer's diet is the cure.

That pre e is related to the fraying of endothelial lining in the vessels seems promising, but diet may affect that.
post #19 of 38
In terms of 'nutrition' the biggest link I have seen is vitamin D levels. I say nutrition because for many of us we get D mostly in the form of a supplement. There is a correlation between low D and PE. Interestingly enough, the pacific northwest has some of the highest levels of PE and also tests the lowest for vitamin D. I have to wonder if folks at The Farm are getting more D due to location and therefore not getting as much PE.
post #20 of 38
I had pre e with my first baby, diagnosed at 32 weeks by my midwives, transferred to an OB and put on bedrest. It turned into mild HELLP by the time I spontaneously delivered at 38 weeks. I think I was more concerned than the doctors were, they kept sending me home even though my blood pressure was 180 over 110 and my baby was taking longer to pass the NST. At one point my feet swelled up so big they turned blueish so dh took me to the ER, they made me sit in the waiting room for 4 hours before they finally sent me up to L&D! They just sent me home to lay on my left side. I think they were playing with fire. Anyhow, it all turned out ok, I had an unmed vaginal birth to a healthy baby. He was born when I was 22. My 2nd baby I had a homebirth! I went right to my due date and even though I had to see an OB for a consult due to slightly elevated bp (140 over 90) and swelling, he was great and okayed me for a homebirth!! I was 24. I will say I had NO ms at all with my 2nd and therefore was able to eat a much healthier diet- lots of protien, which could have made a difference. When I was pg with my third I was 28 and I went over my due date by a few days, also swelled a lot again and my bp went up a bit too high (but ONLY at appointments!), I had no other markers for pre e, but my midwife sent me for a NST and the OB on floor decided I had pre e, despite my tests being fine, called my midwife and cancelled my homebirth, then informed me I would be induced in 3 days. But he said he would let my midwives catch. Midwife said her hands were tied, I went into labor on my own that night and had no choice but to meet them at the hospital for the birth or do an unplanned UC. It was great, for a hospital birth, but I am still bitter that my homebirth was stolen from me at the last minute. But my point is, I was able to have 2 healthy pregnancies after my first baby, my 2nd and 3rd babies were incredibly healthy at birth, no problems, my recovery was way better than my first birth as well. Best of luck to you.
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