My first pregnancy culminated in Pre-eclampsia, but right at the last moment. I suffer with health anxiety which brings with it a level of white coat syndrome, so my blood pressure was never really that low in my first pregnancy and as such my midwife decided to see me on a much more regular basis, just in case. I only ever presented with slightly raised blood pressure until the day I go diagnosed where I presented with rapidly increasing blood pressure, protein in my urine, visual disturbances and a previous headache.
As it turned out I was eventually destined for pre-eclampsia as it developed quickly and rapidly just before my due date. It was because of this that I was able to go straight to induction and delivery, and as is the case in many cases of pre-eclampsia, but blood pressure resolved on delivery.
This is my story of pregnancy after pre-eclampsia
It is sitting at high risk and low risk at the same time. I have a higher risk than the average woman who has never experienced pre-eclampsia in pregnancy before, but not massively higher. It is dealt with by being managed by a consultant, through a daily Aspirin dose and through midwife contact every two weeks. It has me set up for a higher risk pregnancy but presuming pre-eclampsia doesn’t effect this pregnancy it will mean a low risk, midwife-led birth. It was even a possibility that I could have opted for a home birth – something I did consider but ultimately have decided against overall. It’s constantly sitting on tenterhooks, analysing and acting on every single potential symptom and overall just waiting for it to strike. It’s hoping that everything that you do will work and you will sidestep it this time while simultaneously worrying that you won’t.
Pre-eclampsia effects 1 in 25 pregnancies in the UK and despite extensive research it’s still unknown what exactly it is that causes it. It is thought to disrupt the flow of blood/oxygen from mother and baby and to be an issue with the placenta. It is so much more than just high blood pressure or pregnancy induced hypertension. Once you’ve had pre-eclampsia it forever changes your make up, doubling your risk of stroke and quadrupling your risk of high blood pressure as you get older. It also puts you at a higher risk of a future heart attack.
Delivering your baby is the only cure
There is currently only one way to cure pre-eclampsia and that is to deliver your baby. In my first pregnancy I developed it when I had reached full term so the only answer was to deliver as soon as possible. In the hour between leaving my midwife appointment and getting to the hospital my blood pressure had risen exponentially, I had ++ of protein in my urine, I had a bad headache, swollen feet and visual disturbances.
Pre-eclampsia is a dangerous condition, in severe cases can result in both fetal and maternal death, it can mean delivering your baby pre-term if necessary, it forever changes the make up of your body and puts your pregnancy at an increased risk.
Pre-eclampsia is dangerous.