To educate all pregnant women & their families on the signs & risks of Pre-Eclampsia & HELLP Syndrome
What is Preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period and affects both the mother and the unborn baby. Affecting at least 5-8% of all pregnancies, it is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. Swelling, sudden weight gain, headaches and changes in vision are important symptoms; however, some women with rapidly advancing disease report few symptoms.
Typically, preeclampsia occurs after 20 weeks gestation (in the late 2nd or 3rd trimesters or middle to late pregnancy), though it can occur earlier. Proper prenatal care is essential to diagnose and manage preeclampsia. Preeclampsia, Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH) and toxemia are closely related conditions. HELLP Syndrome and eclampsia are other manifestations of the same syndrome. It is important to note that research shows that more women die from preeclampsia than eclampsia and one is not necessarily more serious than the other.
Globally, preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death. By conservative estimates, these disorders are responsible for 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths each year.
What is HELLP Syndrome?
HELLP Syndrome occurs in 4 percent to 12 percent of the women who have preeclampsia. It is one of the most severe forms of preeclampsia. HELLP stands for: hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and lowered platelets. HELLP Syndrome most often affects the liver, causing stomach and right shoulder pain. HELLP Syndrome is most dangerous because it can occur before you exhibit the classic symptoms of preeclampsia. It is often mistaken for the flu or gallbladder problems. It is most important that you listen to your body: if you don't feel right, check with your health professional.
HELLP is the medical term for one of the most serious complications of pre-eclampsia, in which there is a combined liver and blood clotting disorder.
H stands for Haemolysis (rupture of the red blood cells);
EL stands for Elevated Liver enzymes in the blood (reflecting liver damage);
LP stands for Low blood levels of Platelets (specialised cells which are vital for normal clotting)
How does preeclampsia affect the baby?
Preeclampsia is responsible for 15% of premature births in the US each year. It is the leading known cause of preterm birth. According to the March of Dimes, in 2001, 476,250 infants were born prematurely…over half from unknown causes. Preeclampsia represents 30% of the known causes of prematurely--or approximately 70,000 premature births.
For more information on Pre-Eclampsia, please visit the official Pre-Eclampsia website at the link below (please make sure to read the personnel stories sections):
This disease nearly took my life and the life of our daughter. Please read my personnel story at the link below:
1. This disease is too often not known about or discussed during pregnancy but is more common than people know.
2. This disease can be deadly to both mother and baby and needs to be researched more to find the causes of how severe it can really be.
3. All women should be aware of the signs and risk of this deadly disease during pregnancy.