Trying to Dodge Preeclampsia
If you read my Birth story then you know that I had an emergency induction with the birth of my first son Thor due to preeclampsia. (read here: Birth Story) I'm so thankful that this happened just a couple days before I was scheduled to be induced at 38 weeks, but now my biggest concern is that it will happen again!!!
Preeclampsia is most common in the third trimester, but can occur anytime after 20 weeks. I'm told that it is diagnosed by having high blood pressure and protein in your urine.
Who Gets It????
- 15-20% of Type 1 Diabetics
- 2-7% of the general population
Because of this increased risk, my blood pressure was checked every Monday and Thursday during the third trimester watching for even the slightest rise in blood pressure. Right before 38 weeks they saw just that and tested my urine for protein. Obviously, it came back positive, they said that it can be normal to have a little protein in your urine, so that's why they do so many baseline tests so that when something changes they catch it immediately. The only way to get rid of preeclampsia is by delivering the baby. This is super scary if you aren't far enough along.
If preeclampsia isn't caught early it turns into eclampsia and the mom can have seizures. This is the leading cause of maternal deaths in developed countries. Next is Hellp syndrome, which causes a ton of measures to be taken like a blood transfusion for low platelet count and ultimately delivery of baby depending on how far along the baby is.
I felt extremely lucky to be in such good hands. I could tell that my medical team was protecting me and my son, but I actually didn't realize quite how bad it could have gotten if it wasn't diagnosed as quickly as it was until I made a friend that was also Type 1 and didn't get as lucky as I did. She ended up getting HELLP syndrome and I remember looking it up and realizing that I was very fortunate to have had such good care. My friend didn't live close enough to Seattle so she was seeing a local doctor that wasn't as experience in diagnosing preeclampsia, even when she had all of the symptoms. My friend and her son had a tough road to recovery, but they are both doing great now.
Other than me being terrified that I'm going to get it again, I have started taking low dose Aspirin. In recent studies it has show an average of 30-50% reduction. Okay, so I'm going to tell you exactly what my doctor said to me and you can tell me what you think.
He said that they are currently recommending 80mg of Aspirin starting at 12 weeks to those with high risk of preeclampsia and the results are a 30% reduction. Then he continued to say that even more recent studies are showing that if you take 100-120mg of aspirin the results have actually been up to 50%... But, that he cannot currently reccommend me to take the higher dosage because the recommendations lag by about a year or so. Hmmmmmm so I walked out and have been taking one 80mg tablet and biting a third of one. So that means I'm taking a total of about 100-110 depending on how accurate me bite is!! Is it just me or did he tell me this information so I could make my own decision? I feel like he was recommending the higher dosage, but wasn't allowed to tell me. Anywhoo I appreciated the information and I would absolutely love to decrease my chances by 50%, so thank you doctor for giving me the most up to date information and allowing me to make the decision. He said that he suspects the dosage recommendation will be increased in the next 6 months or so.
The good news is that since I developed preeclampsia late in my pregnancy I am not at an increased risk of getting it again. So basically my chances are still the 15-20% but since I'm taking the Aspirin everyday my chances are 30-50% less... So i guess that puts me at about 8-13% of getting it again. I'm praying and envisioning a boring 38 week induction where the baby just falls out. (cause that's what they say about #2)
Thanks for reading and please let me know if there are any topics you would like me to write about. :) Hurry cause once this baby is born I will be pretty busy!