Becoming the Domesticated Diva

Finding my inner homemaker… one flub at a time!

Pregnancy oddities, part two..

on March 26, 2013

Part two of a mini series.  🙂

Soon after we found out about the two vessel umbilical cord, things took a turn for the crazy.  It soon became a joke with our doctor that I would become a checklist of things one could get while pregnant.    I’d actually been on a “pregnancy approved” blood pressure medicine for over a year when I became pregnant to control my slightly high blood pressure.  But around week 22, I began to notice my blood pressure wasn’t being controlled by my medicine.  I went from taking 1 pill every other day (basically when I remembered), to taking 2 a day and it still not working properly.  Work certainly wasn’t helping my stress level, and I began retaining water everywhere.  My face was swollen, my feet were swollen.. I was a mess.  My doctor told me I had to do a 24 hour urine test to test for preeclampsia.  Unfortunately for me.. I had to do that particular test 3 times.  The last time was the week before I had my son.  My doctor was a little late giving me my final results:  I had developed preeclampsia.

In the middle of my 3 urine tests, I had to take the test to measure my blood sugar.  Due to my age and family history of diabetes, there was a good chance I was going to develop gestational diabetes.  And, sure enough.. I did.  So, around week 26, I had to start taking my blood four times a day and watching my diet.  Again I started researching what this meant for me and my baby.  Here’s what I learned:

How does having preeclampsia effect me?

  • That depends on how soon it develops.  Most women develop a mild case close to their due date, but its fairly easy to control and doesn’t effect mother or baby much.
  • If it develops early, it can cause life threatening problems.  Blood vessels constrict and reduce blood flow to your brain, kidneys and liver.
  • Symptoms include:  vision problems, nausea, severe or persistent headache, swelling, and pain or tenderness in upper abdomen.  (I experienced swelling and had chest and back pains so severe it took my breath and proceeded to get worse despite tylenol, stretching and laying down)

How does having preeclampsia effect the baby?

  • Limited blood flow to the baby can effect growth, can cause too little amniotic fluid to be produced and placental abruption (where it separates from the uterine wall).

Is this common?  How did I put myself at risk?

  • This happens in about 5% of pregnancies.
  • Having hypertension prior to pregnancy increases risk (check!), having a relative that’s had it, having a mass body index of 30 or more, being younger than 20 or older than 40, having blood clotting disorders, carrying multiple children.  So, in my case.. I only had one of the risk factors.

How does one manage preeclampsia?

  • Depends on when its diagnosed and how severe.  If its mild, and you’re at 37 weeks or more, you’ll more than likely be induced.  If its before 37 weeks, you will more than likely be put on bed rest and monitored.  If its severe, and you’re at 34 weeks or more, you will more than likely be induced.  If its before 34 weeks, you’ll be given steroids (which is what happened to me) and monitored extremely closely.  If it becomes worse, or you start to develop HELLP syndrome, they will induce (which is why I had a c-section at 30 weeks).  **More about HELLP in the next part.**

For more info on preeclampsia, check out:

How does having gestational diabetes effect me?

  • For the most part, it doesn’t effect the mother.  It is just a matter of controlling the diet and exercising – sometimes medication is needed as well.

How does having gestational diabetes effect the baby?

  • If the blood sugar levels are too high, it can effect the baby by causing too much glucose in the baby’s blood.  When this happens, the pancreas has to work overtime and the baby can become overweight.  This can eventually cause the baby to be overweight as an adult.

Is this common?

  • It is one of the most common things that can happen during pregnancy – approximately 2-10% of pregnancies.

Will I continue to have it after the baby is born?  Does it mean I’ll develop it later in life?

  • For most women, it goes away immediately after giving birth.  However, about a third will continue to have elevated blood sugar levels.
  • And about a third to a half of women who develop gestational diabetes will develop regular diabetes later in life, especially if you have the following:  obesity, gestational diabetes developed early in pregnancy, or had to be on medication during pregnancy.

For more info on gestational diabetes, check out:

The final part coming soon!

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One response to “Pregnancy oddities, part two..

  1. Carolyn Smith says:

    i’m so impressed with all the information and references you are posting, i’m sure this will help many new mothers. hoping your second pregnancy is wonderful and you get to experience the wonder of it.

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