Pre-eclampsia is not a joke. It is not preventable by diet. Its cause is not known. It often has no symptoms that the mother can feel. It is common, and can be deadly to both mother and child.
May is Pre-eclampsia Awareness month. http://www.preeclampsia.org/
Please take the time today to educate yourself on this deadly complication of pregnancy, and please, please, please, if you are pregnant and have signs of this and your health care provider, be it yourself through test strips, or your midwife, or doula, or OB, tells you that you are developing this, PLEASE take them seriously and get help. Do not protest that you "feel fine" - like high blood pressure, Pre-e is often a silent killer - one of the leading causes of death to pregnant women and unborn children around the world.
My DD was delivered at 37 weeks due to chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia. I was lucky. I went to term. But I was poorly monitored and did not realize how sick I was. I showed up at the antenatal clinic with BP of 160/100 and a dip of 4+. I felt fine. I wound up with a section 2 days later because my condition was deteriorating too rapidly for an induction and it had put my daughter into distress. If I hadn't gone to the clinic, I would not have realized what was going on until it was too late. Not everyone gets a headache or epigastric pain.
Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are silent and they can be deadly. Don't ever dismiss them with "my blood pressure isn't that high". Preeclampsia can progress rapidly.
DD 01/2007, DS 09/2011
While I'm not sure I fit all the criteria for pre-eclampsia, my blood pressure shot up to 155/114 two days before my due date when I was pregnant with my daughter. I felt perfectly fine (in fact, I was mad because I had more laundry and cleaning to do!) and would have had no clue anything was wrong had I not been getting the proper care. I did end up with more interventions than I wanted during my daughter's birth, but even though that was hard, it was absolutely worth it. I am grateful I didn't face any hypertension issues in my second pregnancy.
My daughter and I also survived preeclampsia. She was born at 29w weighing 2lbs 3oz.
There are some things I wish I had know during my pregnancy and some things I would have done differently:
I had some early symptoms at 23w, sudden violent vomiting, terrible headache, BP rising to 130/85. My midwives had me go for blood work which came back clear. They told me it was not pre-e and that I was probably just a nervous first time mom who needed to relax, take it easy, and get more calcium. At my routine appointment a month later my BP was 160/100, my urine was +2 for protein, and blood work showed elevated liver enzymes.
I really wanted to believe that I was fine and because of that I think I was not as proactive about my care as I should have been. In retrospect I should have:
Asked to come in every week for a BP check
Brought my home BP machine in and made sure I was using it correctly (I got wildly inconsistent results and home and often found some reason to discount the high readings)
Made sure that my care providers were talking to each other. I was also seeing an MFM for growth scans because of a separate health issue. Around the time that I had my initial pre-e symptoms, my baby also started showing signs of IUGR. I don't think the MFM ever knew that I had had pre-e symptoms. They also never took my BP at appointments. Typical of health care in the US, I was receiving a lot of care, but no one was looking at my case holistically.
Understood that pre-e can present in wildly different ways. As I got sicker I had fewer symptoms. I had severe pre-e without headache, vomiting, or swelling. I had elevated liver enzymes without any pain. My only real symptom at the time I delivered was tiredness.
Known that anyone who says all cases of pre-e can be cured with diet and/or supplements is a hack who is putting the lives of women at risk.
Blogging at http://chronicladybug.blogspot.com
Thank you for posting this! My sister-in-law had major issues with pre-e with both of her pregnancies, but my nephews are (thankfully!) happy, healthy little boys because of the care she received :)