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High Risk for Pre Eclampsia

This section is for discussions with other women who have probably been through the same signs/symptoms that you may be experiencing. Please note, we cannot offer medical advice and encourage members to discuss their concerns with their doctors. New members, come on in and introduce yourself!

High Risk for Pre Eclampsia

Postby luv2laugh » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:36 am

by luv2laugh (2 Posts), Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:36 am

Hello Community!

I was referred here from someone on another pregnancy board who had preeclampsia her first pregnancy. I just had a wonderful 20 week (almost 21 week) anatomy scan visit and found out hubby and I are having a baby girl. Unfortunately, we also found out that I was high risk for preeclampsia due to an elevated Inhibin Level in my screening. He said the cut off for normal range was 2.0 and I was 2.2. He wasn't too concerned, but said we were now high risk for poor fetal growth and preeclampsia. He said most likely we'd have a normal labor, but to look for certain signs such as poor vision, migraines, headache, etc.

I trust my doctor, but also wanted to get informed. This website is just wonderful! Is there anything I can do to minimize risk? I already take low dose aspirin because I had a miscarriage before this pregnancy and wanted to minimize risk of a second, in case I had a clotting disorder. Doc said it couldn't hurt. I plan to monitor my weight a bit better. Should I be asking my OB about protein levels in my urine? Or should I ask to get them done more frequently (we get them done at 1 month intervals). Also, would you invest in a blood pressure machine?

For background purposes. My blood pressure at my last appt. with my regular OB was 110/60, so good/low, my BMI is healthy and I don't have family history, but this is my first pregnancy. I got a little worried reading about preeclampsia and will try not to stress. I tend to be the type of person who feels more relaxed when prepared, so am just trying to find the info I need to and then can move on to other fun baby prep tasks. Question: If I catch these signs earlier can they do things to help prevent me or the baby from getting sick/sicker?

Also, earlier in pregnancy I had a couple signs listed on the website. My guess would be that these are unrelated and typically happen once the pre-eclamspia is worse, but I'm not certain. I had one instance of "racing pulse, mental confusion, heightened sense of anxiety, shortness of breath, sense of impending doom." I did call my doctor, but was already feeling better by that time. I attributed it to a bad night's sleep and trying to work too long without a snack/food. Also, my eyelids swelled up a bit early in pregnancy for one night. I attributed it to an allergy to a cream. My pregnant body is allergic to some things (like my wedding rings) that it's not allergic to when I'm not pregnant. :)

I know this was a novel. Please point me to similar posts if you've answered this before. I thank you with responses/info you may have.
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Re: High Risk for Pre Eclampsia

Postby angieb » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:09 am

by angieb (1192 Posts), Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:09 am

Welcome, I'm glad you made it over here and decided to join/post. I already talked to you on the other forum but will chime in here, hopefully others will too.

Question: If I catch these signs earlier can they do things to help prevent me or the baby from getting sick/sicker?


Unfortunately, the only treatment/"cure" for preeclampsia is delivery. There is not a lot else they can do, there are a few things some doctors will try but nothing that is surefire proven to help.

When the baby is at risk for being premature or severely premature, most doctors will try to buy as much time as possible while taking into consideration the health and risks to the mother. They may try things like bedrest with careful monitoring, to give as much time to the baby as possible, but none of that is really proven to help stop or slow down preeclampsia as a disease, although it can help some women with their blood pressure to maybe buy more time, but they have to weigh that carefully with the risks to the mom. They can give you steroid shots to help develop the baby's lungs more quickly, but those shots are most effective when given as close to delivery as possible, but they need 24-48 hours to kick in, so timing them can be tricky. They want to give them when it's bad enough they think you will likely need to deliver soon, but not when it's so bad that you need to deliver immediately. This disease is very unpredictable and some women can limp along with a preeclampsia diagnosis for several months, while others get it so quickly and severely they have to deliver immediately.

That said, I think it's a good thing you are on low dose aspirin as long as your doctor is okay with it. For many of us who did have severe preeclampsia, we were put on low dose aspirin to *hopefully* prevent it in subsequent pregnancies, often by MFM specialists. I wish I had been on it in my first pregnancy or even had been started on it after they told me I was at risk for preeclampsia.

As far as your symptoms, I hate telling people not to worry about things because I am not a doctor and preeclampsia is tricky in that it takes things that can be normal in some women/pregnancies (ie. swelling), and makes it not normal. But if both things happened before you were 20 weeks, I would not worry too much about them at this point, especially if they haven't been ongoing symptoms. When my face was swollen from preeclampsia, it was my entire face, my fingers, my feet. Since the swelling was only your eyelids, in early pregnancy, and went away, that sounds okay. And the other thing is something I would watch out for but if it hasn't happened since, and everything else is still normal, I would try not to worry about it too much. I would still watch your hands and face carefully for swelling, it can be tricky and sneak up on you. It sounds like you have read the symptoms but the most common things to watch out for are swelling, visual disturbances, severe headaches, severe upper right quadrant pain (like below your rib cage but can go through to your back/shoulder blade/bra strap), high blood pressure,etc.

Just out of curiosity, do you know what bloodwork it was that triggered them to tell you that you are at high risk for preeclampsia? I can probably point you to some discussions about that or someone else might be able to if you happen to know or want to find out. (In my case, it was for my quad screen blood draw at 17ish weeks, my AFP-alfafetalprotein levels were very elevated which can be a red flag for spina bifida but I've also seen some people who have had bloodwork red flag them for Down Syndrome when that wasn't an issue.)
Me (29) DH (30)
#1-Olivia Caetlyn-9-28-09-9-28-09, 23+2 wks, emergency classic c-section, class I HELLP, IUGR
#2- Lucas Oliver (rainbow baby)- April 2011, 36+2 wks, HELLP and pre-e free! (lovenox and LDA pregnancy)
#3-Matthew, late October 2012...mostly normal, 37 wks, (lovenox and LDA again)
My blog: http://www.butterflies-and-rainbows.blogspot.com/
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Re: High Risk for Pre Eclampsia

Postby luv2laugh » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:29 am

by luv2laugh (2 Posts), Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:29 am

This is such a good resource - thank you for referring me Angie and thank you for your helpful responses! I'm sure you've helped many women just from responding in the different forums and sharing your experience.

My red flag was also with the quad screen, but it was the Inhibin. I'm assuming Inhibin A and it was just slightly higher than normal @ 2.2 Thank you for the response on my potentially related, yet early and brief symptoms from early in the pregnancy. From what I've read, I feel that although I'm in the high risk category, I don't see any major concerns. I just want to make sure I'm getting the screenings I need before symptoms pop up (even silent symptoms like blood pressure or proteins in urine), so that if they do, they can be "managed" best possible and if there are some red flags, I know to inform my doctor.

Do you think checking blood pressure at home is worth it? Thank you again for your time, information and insight!!
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Re: High Risk for Pre Eclampsia

Postby sam10 » Fri Apr 26, 2013 02:56 pm

by sam10 (1437 Posts), Fri Apr 26, 2013 02:56 pm

Hello and welcome :-)

I just wanted to add that if you think taking your BP at home would make you feel better, then go for it. Being proactive is always good. The good thing is that you can then inform your doctor if your BP is off. However, it can be a curse, as some of us can get obsessed with it (not good). My husband had to lock away the BP monitor, so I would not constantly take my BP. ;)

Congratulations on your baby girl!
~Julija (40)
MC 3/2009 and 3/2011
Henry (1/1/2010-1/7/2010) - forever loved and missed; severe PE with Hellp; partial placental abruption, classical c-section at 25.6 weeks
Matilda (Nov. 2012, born at 35.4 weeks) - severe PE


Our pain has been put into words, placed into empty cradles, to remember that all our babies lived, that they mattered and always will. - Field of Cradles http://www.fieldofcradles.org/
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