1. Women do not die in childbirth in this day and age.
Every year 585,000 women die in childbirth, most in developing countries. 13% (or 50-70,000) of those deaths are known to be from eclampsia alone. Research shows that more women actually die of preeclampsia than eclampsia. In the USA 18% of pregnancy-related deaths are due to the disease. (Approximately 180 women a year or 3 women a week...) Even women, who do not die experience trauma, lose babies and suffer lifelong disabilities including paralysis, blindness, permanent neurological impairment, hypertension, liver failure, kidney failure, etc…
2. Preeclampsia is rare.
Preeclampsia occurs in 5-10% of all pregnancies. Internationally this accounts for 6-8 million births a year, in the USA—approximately 200-400,000 pregnancies. Preeclampsia is as common in the USA as breast cancer. A woman’s risk of having a baby with Downs Syndrome is 1:250. A woman’s risk of having preeclampsia is 1:20. Preeclampsia is the most dangerous of the leading common complications of pregnancy.
3. Preeclampsia only happens once and only in the first pregnancies.
The leading risk factor for preeclampsia is actually a previous experience with preeclampsia. While rare, preeclampsia can occur in second pregnancies even if it did not happen in the first. It can occur in the first, then skip a pregnancy and reoccur in a third.
4. Only certain kinds of women (heavy, old, young, black, Hispanic, women with twins, etc…) get preeclampsia.
While women with a body mass index (BMI) of 30% or higher, of advanced maternal age (over 35), teenagers, African Americans, Hispanics and those expecting multiples are among those at an increased risk—studies show that these “risk factors” do not predict who will get the disease and to what severity with which it will occur.
5. You can prevent (or you caused) preeclampsia with “x” (diet, exercise, attitude, working/not working outside the home).
Preeclampsia occurs in every country in the world regardless of diet, body size, and lifestyle. No significant study has shown that any of these factors are the cause or the cure for preeclampsia. Women in famine torn Ethiopia experience preeclampsia as often as women in San Francisco.
6. Pregnant women do not need to know about preeclampsia because only 5-10 out of every 100 will get it.
Because we cannot safely predict who will and will not get preeclampsia—and of those women who will and will not lose a baby and/or die, all women, particularly those in their first pregnancy, or with known risk factors, should be warned about the complications and dangers of preeclampsia. Women are taught about Downs Syndrome, breast cancer self-exams, pap smears. Most women would rather know.
7. Once the baby is delivered—the mother is fine.
While it is true that delivery sets in motion the recovery process, most maternal deaths occur in the 24-48 hours after the birth of the baby. Preeclampsia, eclampsia and the complications from it can occur up to six weeks post-partum. Vigilant post-partum care could prevent many of these deaths.
8. Preeclampsia has little to no impact on the baby.
Preeclampsia can cause intrauterine growth restriction and is the #1 reason doctors choose to deliver early. Preeclampsia is the leading known cause of prematurity accounting for 15% of preterm births in the US or approximately 60,000 premature births. It is also a leading cause of neonatal and infant death.
I just had an emergency c-cection with my second child because of preeclampsia/PIH.
My first pregnancy was really easy and had absolutley no problems, delivered her with midwives...
She's almost 2 now.
The doctors and nurses were really shocked, so i think that its probably quite rare, but absolutley possible to have preeclampsia with second child.
|3. Preeclampsia only happens once and only in the first pregnancies.|
|The leading risk factor for preeclampsia is actually a previous experience with preeclampsia. While rare, preeclampsia can occur in second pregnancies even if it did not happen in the first. It can occur in the first, then skip a pregnancy and reoccur in a third.|
I hope this clarifies. I agree with you. Pre-eclampsia does not only happen with the first. I am so sorry you had such a scare with pre-eclampsia. Are you and your baby doing well?
Have you researched the work of the Brewers? What are your thoughts on their efforts to use nutrition to combat E/P-E?
...missing Mothering Magazine...
More and more it is believed that pre-eclampsia is a disease of the placenta. Commonly autopsy reports will describe a smaller than average placenta, a placenta full of blood clots, blocked artery in the umbilical cord or a placenta that had a "heart attack". WHile there is no known cure for pre-eclampsia, other than delivery of the child, it may be possible for the disease to be managed until delivery. Several women take vitamin E, vitamin C and aspirin therapy. Others include daily shots of Heparin or Lovanox throughout the pregnancy to prevent blood clots. THere are therapies available.
My goal is to educate the women themselves. I had no idea what the symptoms of pre-eclampsia were or how dangerous it can be. Sometimes high bp can be the last symptom to manifest, after there has been significant damage to the kidneys and the baby. Pain on the right side under the ribs can be a sign of a damaged or enlarged liver. Minimal urine output relative to what you are drinking can be a sign of kidney damage, visual disturbances and the mother of all headaches can be a sign of high bp, nose bleeds can be a sign of dropping platelets. I didn't know any of these and I had all of these.
Pre-eclampsia gets it's name from the greek word for lightening because it can come on suddenly without warning. I had been feeling a little ill tuesday morning when I saw my cardiologist on July 29th, but he checked me out and said he thought everything was ok. At 2:45 I saw my high risk OB, by 5:30 I was in the hospital and my daughter was born at 10:21 that night.
I just want to get the word out and help educate as many mommas as possible about this horrible disease that stole the life of my beloved Mary Rose.
i have been doing vitamins E, C, and calcium, and in the 1st trimester only - baby aspirin. since mid-2nd trimester i've been making a real effort to get sufficient protein. i think these measures may have helped me escape the worst of it. the aspirin in particular was intended to help the blood vessels into the placenta establish themselves well.
i was born to a mom with pre-eclampsia, and my name is rosemary... so i send you a special for you and the memory of Mary Rose.
James 12/04 & Cecelia 4/07
I had HELLP syndrome which is described as a severe form of eclampsia where your organs start shutting down--you are essentially "allergic" to your baby.
It was REALLY hard to find information about it at the time and it was REALLY scary. It came on SO suddenly with my first--I had pain that I thought was gas all of a sudden one day (at 33 weeks) which turned out to be my liver shutting down. Of course my bp was skyrocketing as well but it took the doctors days to figure out what was wrong with me. I was put on hospital bedrest (couldn't leave the bed AT ALL) and at 35 weeks they decided that they had to deliver my son as I was getting so sick.
My son is fine now-we were very lucky--he was severly jaundiced, took 5 weeks to get him nursing properly and had an inguinal hernia that needed an operation but has been great ever since!
I was watched VERY closely with my last pregnancy and with moderated bedrest from week 26 on, I made it through okay (bp went up a little and had swelling but it didn't get any worse from there.) My specialist decided to do an amnio at 36 weeks and I had a c-section at 37--it was SO nice to get to nurse my daughter in the delivery room and have everything be normal (getting to have her room in with me etc. right from the beginning!)
I am pregnant with my third now and am being watched very closely again. I am on aspirin therapy and have been on moderated bedrest for about 6 weeks (I'm now 28 weeks). My specialist hopes to do an amnio at 36 weeks and deliver at 37 again as long as everything goes okay. I get tests done all the time to make sure my platelets, liver function, blood pressure, weight, and urine are all okay but it's worth it as it seemed to work last time!
Anyway--just wanted to share my story--I wish that I knew some of the signs ahead of time before my first baby--my first sign was a horrible headache before the pain in my liver--but I get migraines so just thought that it was that.
By the way--I don't fit into ANY of the "higher risk groups" for preeclampsia--I was 26 when I was pregnant with my first, was at a normal weight, exercised (weights and cardio) up until the day I ended up in the hospital, ate a very healthy lacto-ovo vegetarian diet.... It's so frustrating to have people say that diet is the cause - I felt so guilty when it happened as if it was something I could prevent but the truth is that they just don't know enough about it. I'm just glad that I had good hospital care--if it was 50 years ago, both of us would have died I'm sure--or if I was in a different area that doesn't have the resources that we have--scary to think about that!
Anyway I'll stop rambling--thanks for bringing this up--it's DEFINITELY important for people to know more!
Headaches are often caused by either dehydration, stress or a hormonal shift. Have you tried increasing your water intake?
I wish that the Brewer diet was the cure. Unfortunately, it's not. I think there's more to it than just a crazy load of protein intake during pregnancy. After all, if it was evidence-based (and I'm not talking Dr Brewer's "evidence", which is purely case studies, not a good randomized controlled trial) wouldn't it be the first thing to try? I know many docs and midwives who are rightly scared of pre-e. If protein intake was the cure, it would have been so easy to save so many lives.
The only surefire way to diagnose pre-e is to do a liver panel and complete blood count. High blood pressure in and of itself does not equal pre-eclampsia, protein in the urine is often a late sign of pre-ecl (and quite often shows up because of dehydration or normal stress on the kidneys) - not early, and swelling in pregnancy to a degree is normal (hands/feet), however excessive swelling (not going down in the hands, neck and face especially) is not.
Also as pam mentioned swelling in the hands, neck and face are signs as well as excessive weight gain in a short amount of time like 6 pounds in a week, that can mean you are retaining water because your kidneys are shutting down.
I also had HELLP syndrome. I had liver pain for 10 days and was told by 3 doctors that it was just gas or constipation. Little did I know that my liver was in danger of rupturing. I had to have an emergency C-section and because my platelets were so low, I couldn't have an epidural. They were afraid I would bleed into my spinal column and wind up paralyzed. They also told me they might not be able to stop the bleeding and may have to do a hystorectomy. SO they put my to sleep and took my baby. She died before I woke up, so I never got to see her alive. She survived for an hour trying to breathe, but her little lungs were too small. Because of the pre-eclampsia, she had dropped to 3 weeks behind schedule.
I am so glad to see that some of you are taking pre-e more seriously and keeping such a vigilant eye out for symptoms. If our story can save one woman and child, then Mary Rose will not have suffered in vain.
I don't remember a lot of what happened to me as I was so drugged up to prevent the seizures I was having etc. I had an emergency c-section but was very lucky that it wasn't until 35 weeks so my son was okay. I was able to have a spinal though and I had my own personal nurse in my room for about a week - looking back I realize how serious that is but after hearing other stories from HELLP survivors, I realize how lucky I was (and am). Again, I am SO SO sorry for your loss--good for you for trying to help others in her name.
As far symptoms-bp and swelling are just two and don't necessarily mean you have (or will get) preeclampsia. My friend's bp was going up during her last pregnancy and she couldn't get shoes on as her feet were shaped like potatoes because they were so swollen but she never developed preeclampsia or anything else.
Anyway--gaining weight suddenly is another sign to watch for--my specialist wants to know if I gain 3 lbs or more in a week (which I have this time around a couple of times but everything is okay so far) but is just another sign. As are headaches--especially really severe ones. I've also been told to tell the specialist if I see spots, have pain in the upper right quadrant (just under my ribs as that is where the pain was with my liver last time) especially if the pain radiates up into your shoulder (which I had as well). Because of my history I get regular blood tests to check for platelet counts and everytime you go to the dr they check for protein in your urine as that is another bad sign.
My specialist insists that I rest as much as possible on the couch with my feet up (preferebly lying down) and I have to contat him if I get any of the symptoms just so they can run tests and make sure it is not happening. He takes it VERY seriously (as he should!) so I trust him--he was the only one that could figure out what was wrong with me when I got it with my son. (He said that he heard 'something' when taking my blood pressure?!?!
Okay again I've rambled enough but hope that info helps a bit--I'm here on the couch with a laptop--SO glad I have a laptop this time around--it certainly helps pass the time!!
High blood pressure is a silent killer. Oftentimes, women diagnosed with preeclampsia do not feel sick. Many signs and symptoms of preeclampsia mirror other "normal" effects of pregnancy on your body. Women diagnosed with preeclampsia may feel frustrated when prescribed bedrest because they feel fine. If you feel fine, it may be hard for you or your partner to appreciate that preeclampsia is a serious condition.
High blood pressure is defined as blood pressure of 140/90 or greater as measured on two separate occasions within six hours. However, a woman who normally has a low baseline blood pressure, such as 90/60, could be considered hypertensive at a blood pressure of less than that - especially if she has other symptoms. A rise in the diastolic (lower number) of 15 degrees or more, or a rise in the systolic (upper number) of 30 degrees or more is cause for concern.
*Swelling or Edema
A certain amount of swelling during pregnancy is normal. Edema is the accumulation of excess fluid. It is particularly concerning when it accumulates in the face (eyes) or hands. It is normal to have trouble wearing rings throughout pregnancy.
Proteinuria is the result of proteins, normally confined to the blood, spilling into your urine because the small blood vessels in the kidneys become damaged. A simple dipstick test of your urine at each prenatal check-up can screen for proteinuria.
*Sudden Weight Gain
A gain of more than 2 pounds in a week or 6 pounds in a month could be cause for concern.
Dull, throbbing headaches, often described as migraine-like that just won't go away.
*Nausea or Vomiting
Nausea or vomiting is particularly significant when the onset is sudden and in the second or third trimesters.
*Changes in Vision
Vision changes include temporary loss of vision, sensations of flashing lights, auras, light sensitivity, and blurry vision or spots. For some women who are farsighted, vision may actually improve.
*Racing pulse, mental confusion, heightened anxiety, trouble catching your breath
If these symptoms are new to you, they could indicate an elevated blood pressure.
*Stomach or Right Shoulder Pain
This type of stomach pain, called epigastric pain by the medical profession, is usually under the right-side ribs. It can be confused with heartburn, gallbladder problems, flu, indigestion or pain from the baby kicking. Shoulder pain is often called referral pain because it radiates from the liver under the right ribs. Lower back pain is different from muscle strain common to pregnancy. It is usually more acute and specific. All may be a sign of HELLP Syndrome or a related problem in the liver. Shoulder pain can feel like someone is deeply pinching you along the bra strap, or it can be painful to lie on your right side.
*Lower back pain
Lower back pain is a very common complaint of pregnancy. However, sometimes it may indicate a problem with the liver, especially if it accompanies other symptoms or preeclampsia.
Hyperreflexia is when your reflexes are so strong that when they are checked, your leg bounces back hard.
I hope this is helpful to someone.
Remember, while pre-eclampsia/eclampsia can come on suddenly, the underlying pathology is set in the first trimester.
Is 14 wks soon enough for baseline bp?
I had pre-e in my second pregnancy. I did everything "right".
I've read all about the Brewer Diet, and while it may help, its not a cure. I think the whole thing is a false hope for women with this serious problems. It also saddens me when people judge women based on what they think they know about pre-e and blame them because they must have had a bad diet, too fat, too thin, or this or that while pregnant.
My OB said to me last time, "Its BS, pre-e can just happen. No diet, no voodoo in the world, herbs, or even prayer can stop it if its going to happen." She told me to stop stressing over having it and that I had not done anything wrong.
I hope I don't get pre-e this time. I only had it in the last trimester with my last pregnancy. Maybe this time I will get skipped over!
I hope you get skipped over. In this day and age too many people want to say, well if you do this......you won't get it. The reality is you can do everything right or everything wrong and nobody know who will get it or when or how severely.
We don't like to hear that there is uncertainty in the world of medecine, but I think the time has come to stop accepting pre-eclampsia as something that just happens sometimes and start educating ourselves, our doctor's, our families and our children. Pre-eclampsia isn't something that happens to someone else, it can happen to you or your sister or your daughter.
The following are risk factors for pre-eclampsia:
*Previous history of preeclampsia, particularly if onset is before the third trimester
*History of chronic high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disorder
*Family history of the disorder (i.e., a mother, sister, grandmother or aunt who had the disorder)
*Women with greater than 30% Body Mass Index (BMI). To determine your BMI, click on the following link http://nhlbisupport.com/bmi/bmicalc.htm and follow the instructions there.
*Over 40 or under 18 years of age
*Polycystic ovarian syndrome
*Lupus or other autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis or MS.
*Diabetes, sickle cell disorder, hyperthyroidism, kidney disorder, etc.
*Genetic Blood clotting disorders like Protein C Deficiency, Protein S Deficiency, Thrombophilia, Antithrombin III deficiency, Giant Platelet Syndrome
*First pregnancy with a new partner/husband
natashacat, I don't think 14 weeks is too soon, if at all possible, you should find a bp you had taken before you got pregnant. If you can't find one, then just keep an eye on how high it gets and does it drop in the 2nd trimester. SInce you are already in week 14, you should see a drop from what it was last time. You can also go to some drug stores and test it there, although I wouldn't bet on the accuracy of those machines, I have a little $50 bp monitor at home, and it is worth every single penny, for me.
Well, I am getting sleepy. So go forth and educate, I know everyone here knows somebody who is or is trying to get pg. Spread the news ladies, save a life.
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My Mika, My best friend in the world, soul sister and lifelong running mate is gone.
She was a HEALTHY, THIN, COLLEGE EDUCATED,WELL NOURISHED, MOTHER OF 2. She died in her 3rd pregnancy at 36 weeks along. Baby Mariah also died.
This was her 2nd time with Eclampsia. symptoms came on Sunday, she was dead Monday night. She had a MIGRAINE, SWELLING and Protein in her urine (tested a few days prior). She called the doctor and told her about the migraine and the doctor told her "it's not a migraine, take a tylenol and ride it out" had she gone to the ER and gotten her blood pressure checked she and her beautiful daughter would be here today. Instead many people have a hole in our hearts and spirits that can never be filled.
She woke in the emiddle of the night to go to the restroom, fell to the floor seized and was found the next morning. I cannot imagine what her full term baby endured.
here is a website I created in her memory. Please take care of yourselves mommas. Eclampsia death Tamika Winston
Originally Posted by pamamidwife
I wish that the Brewer diet was the cure. Unfortunately, it's not. I think there's more to it than just a crazy load of protein intake during pregnancy. After all, if it was evidence-based (and I'm not talking Dr Brewer's "evidence", which is purely case studies, not a good randomized controlled trial) wouldn't it be the first thing to try? I know many docs and midwives who are rightly scared of pre-e. If protein intake was the cure, it would have been so easy to save so many lives..
Obviously, diet might affect other body chemistry, so even if researchers are finding other chemical indicators or warning siganals it still wouldn't prove that diet has no possible effect.
However, since there is only "case study" evidence that diet might do some good, doctors aren't reccommending diet as a possible preventive to women with other risk factors.
It's hard to see how cutting out junk food and eating more eggs could actually be harmful, and while there isn't hard evidence that it will help, there is also zero evidnece that it won't help since it's never been tested.
From a consumer standpoint, the obvious best course of action is to eat more eggs even if only for the placebo effect AND keep checking your blood pressure and watching for symptoms.
Naturally I advocate a healthy diet, but I don't want people to get the idea that a specific diet protects you from pre-eclampsia. Just because you are eating a specific diet does not mean you should not keep an eye out for warning signs and symptoms of pre-eclampsia. No-one is immune at any time.
Thank you lori for putting this as a sticky.
here is a quote from published guidelines
"In the past it has been recommended that an increment of 30 mm Hg systolic or 15 mm Hg diastolic blood pressure be used as a diagnostic criterion, even when absolute values are below 140/90 mm Hg. This definition has not been included in the current guideline because the only available evidence shows that women in this group are not likely to suffer increased adverse outcomes. Nonetheless, it is the collective clinical opinion of the guideline panel that women who have a rise of 30 mm Hg systolic or 15 mm Hg diastolic blood pressure warrant close observation, especially if proteinuria and hyperuricemia (uric acid greater than or equal to 6 mg/dL) are also present"
This is a web page for the complete document down loadable as a pdf
or a summary-
I might add that in the guidelines 2 separate BPs are taken but that does not include a recumbent bp.
The cause of pre-eclampsia has to do with women's toxic exposures. Most individuals in the US have over 200 toxic exposures per day. Women consume a remarkable number of consumer products that are virtually unregulated, though we consider them "safe" because they are so common. These consumer products and exposures include: shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, cosmetics, laundry detergents, dishwashing liquid, chlorine bleach, cleaning supplies, furniture, carpets, building materials, pesticides sprayed in or around the house as many as 30 years prior to the date of exposure, ... ambient outdoor air, etc. Many of our everyday toxic exposures are difficult to control.
Our bodies mediate our toxic exposures in many ways. A very high quality diet can help the body to remove toxins from our body. However, diets can also be a source of toxins, such as pesticide residues on apples or synthetic additives in prepared foods. .... So, any study on the relationship of diet to pre-eclampsia would have to account for many aspects of diet and control for sources of toxic exposure.
I learned so much from this thread. Thank you all.
I have had four children.
Spencer, severe pre-e, c/s at 32 weeks.
Sarah & Megan, mild pre-e vbac's (Megan was an hbac). But it turned really bad after the girls were born. My bp went through the roof. But at least my girls were full-term.
Thomas, severe pre-e, which turned into HELLP at 31 weeks. Emerg c/s.
I will say that I did the Brewer diet w/ the last three. I was convinced that it helped w/ the girls...but clearly it didn't help w/ Thomas
It's hard to try and live in the Natural Family Living world and occaisionally be judged for not having done things the "right way". Thank you for starting this thread. And thank you to whomever made it a sticky
Thank you for sharing your story with us.