SURVIVING PRE-ECLAMPSIA – A REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE

It’s the hope of every mum, after a beautiful marriage ceremony/relationship to be blessed with the fruit of the womb, which we mostly expect to be uneventful. But this is not always the case for every mum

The story of Ama was no exception. 12 weeks after she got she got the fruit of the womb, severe headaches surfaced which she attributed to stress or probably something else. She had enough rest, took some analgesics on some occasions, but it looked like this frontal headache was persistent even at rest.

It was time to seek further help. She consulted her midwife who alerted her it could be a sign of pre-eclampsia and that she needed to be assessed, properly diagnosed and put on appropriate treatment.

Sign and symptoms of preeclampsia

On her first visit BP exceeded 130/90 mmhg. When a urine dip stick test was done protein was trace. She complained of dizziness, fatigue and breathless. She even felt nauseated and vomitted on her way back home from the hospital. She was allowed to go home on medication.

After her initial diagnosis, her midwife told her about the typical signs and symptoms of pre- eclampsia, which includes severe headache, swollen hands and feet, epigastric pains, high blood pressure , protein in urine and dizziness.

She started to read and empower her self with so much information especially online and also following blogs that related to maternal health. She also joined a support group for mums and midwives.

It wasn’t an easy journey. She also made sure she took her medications as prescribed. She will report to the hospital or call her midwife or gynaecologist immediately she felt unwell or had any of the signs mentioned above. She did not want to be a victim of pre – eclampsia.

signs of preeclampsia

On one occasion she was hospitalised until Blood pressure was well controlled and then she was discharged. Sincerely her midwife thought BP was too high and it had started too early within her first trimester, so was really wondering if this pregnancy will go to term or baby could survive. Typically it begins to show around 20to 24 weeks, so this was too early and unusual.

In certain cases when BP is too high, uncontrolled and a threat to mums life. Pregnancy could be terminated to save the life of the woman

Report persistent headache

The problem here is that if a mum has high BP.. It reduces blood supply to the baby leading to problems like small for date, asphyxia , still births etc. Uncontolled hypertension can lead to life threatening conditions in a mum. It is one of the leading causes of maternal deaths in Ghana.

Little by little, days passed, months passed and and mum together with her health care providers managed to keep BP under control. She also made sure she went for her appointment, eat nutritious meals and did some passive exercises at home.

On one faithful dawn, when pregnancy was just about 28 weeks, she woke up and realized that her headache was severe and persistent, she had epigastric pain and breathlessness was present. She knew something was definitely wrong. All she said was “Husby, kindly send me to the hospital immediately “ Husband did knowing that was an unusual request for from her wife.

Swollen hands and feet should be investigated

For about an hour she had to suffer all these till she was transported to the hospital. She had a good relationship with the health providers in the hospital.

BP was checked, it was High, 180/110 mmhg, protein was present in urine, all the symptoms showed that if baby was not delivered immediately, the live of the mother will be in danger.

An emergency caesarian section was requested which she agreed to since she has already read a lot about her condition and her midwife has also prepared her mind that, baby could be born earlier. In severe pre- eclampsia most mums are not allowed to go to term, since placenta may not be able to support the baby till 41 or 42 weeks. Depending on the situation, pregnancy can be terminated at anytime. If BP is well controlled pregnancy will be allowed to go to a maximum of 37 weeks if mum was diagnosed of pre-eclampsia.

Pre term birth is likely if symptoms are persistent

Baby was born pre-term, weight 1.2kg. 8 to 10 weeks earlier than expected. She was sent to the( neonatal intensive care unit) NICU where she was kept in the incubator for 6 weeks before finally being discharged. Baby was a real fighter. She survived. She is now 2 months old, doubled her weight and doing great.

Pre-eclampsia is real. It has become very common, but with careful management and care it can be controlled and complications prevented.

Glad I worked with her to achieve this. Today I carry the baby with pride!!!

Sure her Gynaecologist and the team that delivered her promptly will also be overwhelmed with pride. They did a great job!!!

Yes we survived pre-eclampsia. Both mum and baby survived.

Monitor your blood pressure

The cause of pre-eclampsia is unknown. It has risk factors, but can even occur in women who have no risk factor. We all need to be alert once we get pregnant.

Pre-eclampsia definition… Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most often the liver and kidneys. Preeclampsia usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women whose blood pressure had been normal.(Source-Google)Ama is sharing her story to empower other women going through the same problem to know that it is real, but can be controlled and good results achieved if both health workers and clients work together.

#Share Help us provide birth kits and health education to rural women. To donate kindly send your contributions to 0241575640. Women and children health Advocacy Group

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