Conceiving Closer Together = Decreased Chance of Recurrance?

Have you suffered from HELLP syndrome or had a pregnancy complicated by an underlying disorder? Discuss your concerns here

Conceiving Closer Together = Decreased Chance of Recurrance?

Postby mnickerson » Mon May 06, 2013 12:41 am

Hi ladies,

I developed HELLP with my daughter when I was 36/6 and delivered her at 37/1. I've read that the later in your pregnancy that HELLP presents, the better your chances are of not having it in future pregnancies. However, I've also read that the worse your class is, the higher your chances are of having it again. I was Class 1 with platelets down to 45,000, so if both of those thoughts are true, then I have time on my side but not severity.

I was just at my annual check-up, and my doctor mentioned that having babies closer together actually decreases your risk for having HELLP again. I have a friend who had PE with her first child, was pregnant again three months later, and did not develop it the second time around. My question is - for those of you who have had more children after having had HELLP with the first, how soon after did you conceive again and did you or did you not develop HELLP?

My husband and I are seriously considering trying again, but I am terrified =(.
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Re: Conceiving Closer Together = Decreased Chance of Recurra

Postby tree » Tue May 07, 2013 09:22 pm

You can find some information on HELLP-specific recurrence from one of the experts here:
http://www.preeclampsia.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3387
I would ignore the bit about anti-oxidant supplementation since more recent research has suggested that it is not helpful. There are also more recent studies on the "two-year window" that do show a reduction in the chances of developing pre-E. Pregnancy causes a remodeling of the spiral arteries of the uterus, and some of the "remodeling" persists for a few years after pregnancy. These remodeled arteries can facilitate better implantation of the placenta, which can reduce the odds of PE.
We haven't tried again. You should get some responses from women who have decided to have another child. We have posters with second pregnancies that went perfectly, some that still got a milder case of PE, and other who got really sick. Many women have had healthier/easier pregnancies after a HELLP pregnancy.
Daughter born April 2009 at 35 weeks due to Class 1 HELLP
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Re: Conceiving Closer Together = Decreased Chance of Recurra

Postby mnickerson » Sat May 11, 2013 11:35 am

Thank you for that - despite all the reading I've done on HELLP since having it, I've never heard of some of those things mentioned! Do you happen to know if the two-year window starts at delivery? If I were to get pregnant within the next few months, they would be just about two years apart. I'd prefer that the window just be from birth to conception, of course =). Then we'd be at about 16 months (if we get pregnant quickly).

Overall, it does sound that the second is less likely to go as bad and knowing that you are at risk is probably the most helpful component. If I'd had any idea that the nausea and pain I felt when HELLP presented was something serious and not just pregnancy discomfort, I'd have been in the hospital 18 hours sooner. If I were to feel that again with round two, I'd be there immediately!
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Re: Conceiving Closer Together = Decreased Chance of Recurra

Postby tree » Sat May 18, 2013 02:56 pm

mnickerson wrote: If I'd had any idea that the nausea and pain I felt when HELLP presented was something serious and not just pregnancy discomfort, I'd have been in the hospital 18 hours sooner. If I were to feel that again with round two, I'd be there immediately!


I am right there with you on that point!
I don't know when the two year window starts. I don't think it can possibly be very rigid. It is more of a rough guideline since our bodies will recover/repair from pregnancy at their own pace. I do think it is important to really focus on the ideas that 1) subsequent pregnancies are more likely to go better and 2) you know your risk is higher, so you will be watching more closely. Those two things get a lot of women through. Your doctor should be able to give you a much better idea of your own personal risk too.
Daughter born April 2009 at 35 weeks due to Class 1 HELLP
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Re: Conceiving Closer Together = Decreased Chance of Recurra

Postby JackandJayne » Tue Jul 30, 2013 09:39 pm

I just wanted to share that my now 5 and 6 year old are 11 months apart. My daughter was my first and was diagnosed with preeclampsia by my 7th month.

A couple months later I became pregnant with our son, developed SEVERE preeclampsia by my 7th month and hellp syndrome was diagnosed a couple days later when I went in for preterm labor. I was told having a baby again any time soon was not a good idea and obviously I agreed. Given the gradient of how my preeclampsia and hellp seemed to progress on my second pregnancy, I'm not sure i put much faith in avoiding these complications by spacing pregnancies close together. But then I have absolutely NONE of the risk factors of being 'likely' to develop preeclampsia, so I'm not sure we even know anything yet about it or hellp in regards to avoiding it or what causes it.
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