by caryn (10131 Posts), Thu Mar 10, 2011 01:48 pm
Jackie, that is precisely why we are here - women find this forum after the trainwreck and want to know WTF just happened. Existing pregnancy books are pretty useless, and putting all the research into a coherent picture takes quite a lot of time.
The links in my .sig are a good place to start sorting the research into an explanatory worldview. Preeclampsia is a disease of the placenta, where initial implantation has gone wrong. Because placentas alter the maternal metabolism, any correlation between diet or sleep and outcomes is very likely *caused* by the broken placenta in the first place, and isn't something that can be changed by the mother to affect outcomes. In other words, weird sleep behaviors in pregnancy aren't causing preeclampsia; one symptom of preeclampsia is that the placenta triggers weird sleep behaviors in the mother. It also causes changes in appetite, changes in mood, an increase in anxiety (placentas upregulate maternal cortisol levels) and a bunch of other stuff.
Smoking does seem to lower risk of preeclampsia, but it also has other very serious pregnancy impacts and no one advises pregnant women to take up smoking. The link between smoking and risk has led researchers to find some related biological pathways, but they are a long way from a treatment based on those (or anything, really.) At the moment, the big research pushes for bench-to-bedside application are twofold: we want a test that predicts who will develop preeclampsia before symptoms appear (this is likely to be available very shortly in the US and is already available in Europe) and we want some therapy that will allow delivery to be delayed for 48 hours so that there is time to get the steroid shots on board and enhance lung maturation, which ought to generally shorten NICU time. For all preemies, we'd like a cure for NEC, too.
Proteinuria happens when the maternal vasculature, including the vessels in the kidneys, is damaged and all sorts of proteins fall through the holes in the vessels and out into the urine. Dietary protein intake isn't really related to this at all, except that after the placenta has caused the damage, eating more protein means that there are more proteins in your blood vessels to fall out. But your body is synthesizing proteins all of the time, and the proteinuria in preeclampsia is "non-specific", which means it isn't just dietary protein but also synthesized protein (and, in extremely bad cases, entire red blood cells) which are falling through the holes and into the urine.
I doubt there's any correlation with breast implants. There is a correlation with autoimmune disease, but as I understand things at the moment that's more because PE, or rather pregnancy and the bit where your body is dealing with a foreign organ, "unmasks" your tendency to autoimmune conditions. Chronic hypertension is probably a form of autoimmune condition.
Again, I am just so sorry. This disease sucks.