If you’ve ever been pregnant, there are a few words that you dread hearing from your OB or midwife. Preeclampsia is one of them. As I was cruising along with my first pregnancy, I thought for sure that nothing bad would happen to me {or my baby}. After all, I had excellent health insurance, I had great prenatal care, and I was doing everything I could to have a healthy pregnancy.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

At 35 weeks, I had to deliver my son via emergency c-section due to HELLP.

HELLP? What’s that?

I had never heard about it The baby books didn’t talk about HELLP. And, honestly, it was good thing I didn’t fully understand all that was going on until after I was home from the hospital. It was a lot to digest.

HELLP syndrome is a life-threatening obstetric complication usually considered to be a variant or complication of preeclampsia.  Both conditions usually occur during the later stages of pregnancy, or sometimes after childbirth. “HELLP” is an abbreviation of the three main features of the syndrome: Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes, and low platelet count.

The only solution to HELLP is delivery. Thankfully, Ethan only required a 10 day stay in the NICU and I was pretty much back to my normal self by that time as well. {You can read more about HELLP in Ethan’s birth story.}

About Preeclampsia

Typically, preeclampsia occurs after 20 weeks gestation (in the late 2nd or 3rd trimesters or middle to late pregnancy), though it can occur earlier. Proper prenatal care is essential to diagnose and manage preeclampsia. Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH) and toxemia are outdated terms for preeclampsia. Globally, preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death. The Preeclampsia Foundation www.preeclampsia.org the only non-profit in the US devoted to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, serving the 10 million women worldwide who develop preeclampsia each year.

The Promise Walk

May is officially Preeclampsia Awareness Month. The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia™ supports the mission of the Preeclampsia Foundation as they provide patient support and education, raise public awareness, catalyze research and improve health care practices for millions of mothers and their babies every year who are impacted by preeclampsia and related hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.

I will be at the Promise Walk at Challenge Grove Park in Cherry Hill, New Jersey on Saturday, May 11th, 2013 snapping away! We are walking on Mother’s Day Weekend to celebrate Mothers and Babies. If you aren’t local to the Philadelphia area you can find a walk closer to you at www.promisewalk.org.

We can’t do it alone!

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