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Preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome

Updated on April 21, 2016


Signs of Preeclampsia

In addition to swelling, protein in the urine, and high blood pressure, symptoms of preeclampsia can include:

  • Rapid weight gain caused by a significant increase in bodily fluid
  • Abdominal pain
  • Severe headaches
  • A change in reflexes
  • Reduced output of urine or no urine
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive vomiting and nausea

per Wikipedia:

Pre-eclampsia (US: preeclampsia) is a medical condition where hypertension arises in pregnancy (pregnancy-induced hypertension) in association with significant protein in the urine. Its cause remains unclear, although the principal cause appears to be a substance or substances from the placenta causing endothelial dysfunction in the maternal blood vessels.[1] While blood pressure elevation is the most visible sign of the disease, it involves generalized damage to the maternal endothelium and kidneys and liver, with the release of vasopressive factors only secondary to the original damage.Pre-eclampsia may develop at varying times within pregnancy and its progress differs among patients; most cases are diagnosed pre-term. It has no known cure apart from ending the pregnancy (induction of labor or abortion). It may also occur up to six weeks post-partum. It is the most common, dangerous complication of pregnancy and it may affect both the mother and the fetus.[1]

Preeclampsia and HELLP - could it happen to you?

When you are pregnant, it is just not practical (or beneficial) for your doctor to tell you every single complication that can occur during pregnancy. They stick to the major problems so you don't spend your nights on the Internet, convinced you have a plethora of problems and your child is going to have developmental delays because you had a half glass of wine with dinner. However, one condition I do think is common, that I wish my doctor had spent a little time explaining to me, is Pre-eclampsia. Because I had it. And if I had known what was happening to my body, I would have reacted very differently than I did.

Not only did I have preeclampsia, but I was also a victim of HELLP syndrome, which occurs in roughly 5% of women who get preeclampsia. Talk about luck.

My Story

For starters, I had, for the most part, a very average pregnancy. I wasn't happy about gaining 48 lbs (I didn't know at the time that part of the reason was due to my preeclampsia), but I was able to stay active and my baby boy was doing just fine in utero. I had never even heard of preeclampsia. I had heard the term toxemia, but only peripherally from one of my many pregnancy books I was pretending to keep up on. At 36.5 weeks pregnant, I woke up at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday morning (4/26/03), feeling like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I thought, this is either the worst heartburn ever, or the baby is pushing with both feet against my lungs, heart and chest cavity. I tried yoga, walking, stretching, TUMS (a pregnant lady's best friend), drinking water, breathing deeply, laying in different positions on the floor...everything. But when nothing I tried relieved the pressure, I started to worry.

After about an hour of this (in hindsight, I never should have waited an hour, but what did I know?), I finally woke my slumbering husband, who'd grown accustomed to sleeping through my fitful nights. He insisted I call the doctor, so I did.

I told the doctor on call (I want to make it perfectly clear this was not my OB) what I was experiencing and she said, "Well, pregnant women experience a lot of things." To her credit, she did say she couldn't diagnose me over the phone, but her first comment, to me, belittled the severity of my situation. I started to think it was normal, and that maybe I was overreacting. My husband and I decided to wait another 30 minutes and if it didn't go away, we'd go to the hospital. Well, the feeling passed, so we just went about our day normally. And the next day, and 2 more days after that.

It wasn't until 6 a.m. Tuesday morning (4/29/03) that it happened again, this time, I had a small seizure in bed - my arm sort of did this weird shaking-seizing thing. This time, we went straight to the ER. And wouldn't you know it? After waiting 30 minutes just for triage, they took one look at my 8.5 month belly and sent me over to the maternity ward. By foot, I might add. I got over to maternity and they at least gave me a wheelchair. BUT - they were appalled that I was not triaged and walked me back over there to get a diagnosis. Meanwhile, I am SO uncomfortable. Feel like I can harldly breathe, pressure on my chest is so great.

They take my blood pressure and it is 190/120! My normal BPR is 110 over 70, by the way. Right after they took my blood pressure, I threw up (another sign of the sickness). Then, the ER doc came in and said, "Mrs. Fliess, you're having your baby today."

My doctor assessed me and found I was also suffering from HELLP syndrome. My platelet count was at 75 million/L, which is class II severity. Three platelet transfusions could not raise the number. Only after the baby was delivered did this number start to rise. One of the doctors' biggest fears was that I would bleed to death from the c-section because my blood was not clotting. (My OB told me later that he essentially started a platelet transfusion on the operating table, cut me open, grabbed my baby out and sewed me up as quickly as possible.)

I wasn't even close to being able to deliver naturally, so they decided on an emergency c-section. At 10:10 a.m. I had an emergency c-section. But because of all of my complications, my poor husband couldn't be in the room, and I had to be completely knocked out. It totally sucked.

I spent a night in the ICU, seeing my baby boy about 5 hours after surgery - and I remember being so groggy. The photos of me with tubes in my nose, 2 IVs and a beautiful 6 lb boy in my arms are etched in my memory forever.

I am thankful to be alive. I am thankful that my son came into the world as healthy as can be. I think if I had known all about pre-eclampsia before my emergency, I would have been a lot more scared, but it also may not have escalated to HELLP syndrome - I'd have been checked out at the first sign of trouble.

I went on to have a 2nd healthy boy after a perfect pregnancy. I hope my story helps someone, even if it is just to get the word out.

What is HELLP Syndrome?

per Wikipedia

HELLP syndrome is a life-threatening obstetric complication considered by many to be a variant of pre-eclampsia. Both conditions occur during the latter stages of pregnancy or sometimes after childbirth.

HELLP is an abbreviation of the main findings:

Hemolytic anemia

Elevated Liver enzymes and

Low Platelet count

It is very rare, but can be fatal. Its incidence is reported as 0.2-0.6% of all pregnancies. Of women with (pre)eclampsia, 4-12% also develop signs of a "superimposed" HELLP syndrome. Mortality is 7-35% and perinatal mortality of the child may be up to 40%. HELLP usually begins during the third trimester, and usually in Caucasian women over the age of 25. (Padden, 1999.) Rarely, cases have been reported as early as 23 weeks gestation.

Just some of the Signs and symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • blurred vision
  • nausea, vomiting
  • pain in abdomen
  • seizure

Often, a patient who develops HELLP syndrome has already been followed up for pregnancy-induced hypertension (gestational hypertension), or is suspected to develop pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure and proteinuria). Up to 8% of all cases present after delivery.

There is gradual but marked onset of headaches (30%), blurred vision, malaise (90%), nausea/vomiting (30%), "band pain" around the upper abdomen (65%) and tingling in the extremities. Oedema may occur but its absence does not exclude HELLP syndrome. Arterial hypertension is a diagnostic requirement, but may be mild. Rupture of the liver capsule and a resultant hematoma may occur. If the patient gets a seizure or coma, the condition has progressed into full-blown eclampsia.

Patients who present symptoms of HELLP can be misdiagnosed in the early stages, increasing the risk of liver failure and morbidity (Padden, 1999). rarely post caesarean patient may present in shock condition mimicking either pulmonary embolism or reactionary haemorrhage.


The platelet count has been found to be moderately predictive of severity: under 50 million/L is class I (severe), between 50 and 100 is class II (moderately severe) and >100 is class III (mild). This system is termed the Mississippi classification (Martin et al 1990).


The only effective treatment is delivery of the baby. Several medications have been investigated for the treatment of HELLP syndrome, but evidence is conflicting as to whether magnesium sulfate decreases the risk of seizures and progress to eclampsia. The DIC is treated with fresh frozen plasma to replenish the coagulation proteins, and the anemia may require blood transfusion. In mild cases, corticosteroids and antihypertensives (labetalol, hydralazine, nifedipine) may be sufficient. Intravenous fluids are generally required.


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      Surprised@7months 2 years ago

      Im 34, just found out around 28-32wks preg. Haven't ever had normal periods and have had horrible luck with every bc ive tried. I have no period to go by and have been on bc so big shock when i went to Er and this was the cause of my discomfort, due to no period they can't accurately date my gestation but are guessing by babys measurements and going with either few wks in either direction, so I could be less far or more far they wont know til I go into labor.... I haven't put on hardly any weight, which just continues to go up and down, but I have persistant cough, and end up occassionally coughing up blood in my clear sputum, I also have had severe vomiting multiple times daily for months, also ending up with blood being thrown up too, And I have had the most severe "heartburn/indigestion of my life for months now and under my breasts horrible pain and pressure right on top of my ribs, and I can't eat cuz everything sits in the top of my throat and ends up being thrown up, I can actually feel something move during the pain all the way down and back. Then their is my right leg that when i lay down after walking, it burns and tingles all the way down thru my foot, I dont have any edema or high bp that im aware of, but only had bp checked at Er and then my first Ob appt. I've also had right shoulder blade pain, and it runs down my right arm, and have had spotty vision, where I honestly felt like i was going blind, dizziness, definately odd abdominal and uterine area pain, and I constantly bloat into rock hard beachball belly and its really painful, now today as im reading this I have been having severe upper back pain and right sided shoulder and arm pain, along with a mild kinda numbing headache, and my neck at base feels like i was walloped acrossed it by a bat. Any ideas if this sounds like any of them? Btw this is my 2nd preg, first one perfect no pain, no sickness, only 2days past duedate and happy, beautiful, healthy 7lb baby girl, no complications of any kind

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      jimbincitte 2 years ago

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      Johnk172 3 years ago

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      Futamarka 4 years ago

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      Wow 5 years ago

      I am so worried because my mom had preclemsia with one of my brothers and she always told me to watch out for signs but I didn't think anything of it. I am 34 weeks now and have had gallstones and kidney stones but nothing else and now I haven't been able to sleep for 3 days due too severe heartburn I think it's all day not just at night and my upper back hurts so bad

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      Liz 5 years ago

      Thanks, for posting...i have been having,these symptoms for a couple of days!

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      Christina 5 years ago

      Hi everyone,

      Did any of the babies born early show signs of developmental delays. My son is 33 months old and I feel his speech is not where it should be. Did not know if anyone out there has experienced this in the preemie baby. If you have, does the speech get better? My son as appointment with EI specialist. Anybody with info about how their preemie baby has or is progressing after 24 months?

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      Paula 5 years ago

      Hi everyone,

      I've had pre clampsia twice now and I'm now pregnant with another little girl,I'm 28weeks.

      My first was born in 2007 and she weighed 3lb 13 oz she had stopped growing for 2 months and she was very lucky to be here today.she did have to go to h/d for some days then to l/d then back on the ward with me.i had eclampsia so I didn't get better from having my child like they say giving birth is the only way to cure the problems.i was put on tablets and after a while I got better.

      I had swollen feet and hands and they where very itchy the only way I got rid of the itchy feet was to remove skin with a foot sander.i had h/b protein in urine and put on lots of weight and swollen everywhere and felt dizzy.

      My second child she was born in 2010,I got pre clampsia again.everything was going so well unill I had a bleed and from that point I was in and out of hospital until I had her.this time round I didn't have the itchy hands and waters didn't break as they had to induce me when I turned 37weeks as with my first my waters did break but no with Sophie my second they broke my waters and I had her within 30 minutes and she was born 6lb 5oz.with Sophie I was more poorly even though with Shannon my first I did actually feel dreadful.perhaps it was my job as I was on my feet all day.where with sophie I worked in a call centre so sat down most of the time.

      Both my labours were very different.with Sophie I nearly had to have a c secction as they kept bringing the scan machine in as they thought her head was her bum so they tought she kept moving around then she wouldn't move for abit.

      I'm not well today I've had cramps and bubbling of my tummy I've ether to a tummy bug or eaten something that's not agreed with me and had the runs all I've just t to keep hydrated.

      My story seems nothing compared to what I've read on here.but to me was a lot of stress and worry.luckly I've had good midwives who were on top form with regarding information on pre now being very well looked after at the hospital as again going for extra scans to make sure my baby is growing well and recent scan confirms that shes going to be bigger than my first two.


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      Rehana 5 years ago

      Hi moms , i too had low platelets during my first pregnancy and it came down to 15 thousand, i had severe swelling in my whole body and i severely suffered with breathing difficulty from 29 weeks itself. Due to my decrease in baby movements , i sent to OP theatre for immediate c-section birth and i gave birth to a beautiful angel who made me forget my every struggle during my preg. Now im with my second with 32weeks and hope not for the same with my second. Pray for me.

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      Christina 5 years ago

      Jenine, I do not know how old your husband is, his physical condition or his medical history but a foot that swollen in not normal by all means. He should go to see a doctor even if he thinks he knows what may have happened or be the cause of his leg swelling. There are a number of conditions whose symptom is leg swelling. To name a few CHF, diabetes, lymph problems, neuropathy, liver or kidney problems, the muscle pump action used in legs is faulty and the list could go on. It may something simple but you don't know until you go see a doctor. The edema is usually measured by the edema scale. Usually once you press down on the skin you will see white and all returns normal within a couple of sec's. However, with more severe edema (pitting) the finger indentation last longer even several mininutes without going away. Another important factor is pedal pulse. This works just like the pulse in your wrist, you have to have this for blood flow. If you can't find it, well the blood may not be getting where it needs to go. Stress definitely doesn't help!

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      jenine Reynolds 5 years ago

      do you have to me a women/pregnant women to experience all of that? please repond quickly I'm freaking out my husbands foot is swollen 3x's his foot size and then i read on line put pressure with your finger and if it comes back something and if it stays something I'm so nervious I forgot wht it said but my finger marks don't move at least over a minute??????? And hes under a lot of pressure hates to go to doctors HELP SOMEONE give me an answer eveen if it is hosp.. I threaten him with an ambulance LOL Ty

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      Christina 5 years ago

      At the time I was 34 yrs old and it was my first and only pregnantcy. When I first learned I was pregnant I was over joyed. In my first trimester I experienced excuriating adominal pain. My friend had three children and felt this was abnormal. It was usually at night. I remember getting up around 3 am sitting on the toliet rocking back and forth say " If I'm gonna to miscarry just let it happen". I was in a lot of pain. By the time I was in my secondy trimester (15 weeks ) my hands and feet hurt/ extreme soreness to the touch. It seemed I had develop carpal tunnel in both hands. Everyone remembers me constantly, even at night, wearing ice packs around my hands and eventually my feet to get some relief from the pain and get some sleep. Until this point(25 wks) I gained only 12lbs. By the end of 2nd and beginning of 3rd trimester I just wanted someone to put my in a walk in freezer and leave me there!!! I was so hot and would put my feet in five gallon bucket filled with water and ice for relief.I also had really sharp very low abdominal pain that would stop me in my tracks. I only vomited a few times but had a low grade nausea throughout entire pregnancy. My back pain started early into the pregnancy. I started having back pain mid-low back was told I had a severe UTI.I would smell food and see moving spots that wasn't there. My blood pressure always ran low so no alarms were raised as slowly my BP raised. I told my doctore about my severe swelling and how I had to buy new shoes because my old one did fit. Also my swelling even with resting all night never went down, even a little bit. I have a difficult time breathing. It just felt like I was carrying a load. My MD recommended low sodium diet and drinking lots of water. Guess what, it didn't help. She also told me I was showing upon examination (5 1/2 mths) beginning to dialate (1). By 29 wks elevated BP non stress test started. By 30 wks my pee had very strong stout odor and rustic color. BP following getting up out of bed 155/101. Test showed high protein in urine. 24 hrs urine test confirmed. My regular MD was out of town.Luckly for that because the MD covering for her came in told my I had severe preclampsia and I would be having a baby that wk.BP entering 185/115. Never knew how high it really went by that the highest I saw. Another trick to keep BP down was to lay on my left side. It didn't kept BP normal but much better - like 140's/ high 80-90. I was started on steriod injections for baby lungs and upon arrival at neonatal hospital MAG Salfate was administered. THIS STUFF IS THE DEVIL. I had the room temp down as low as possible and this MAG made my eyes feel like hot coals were on them! I was hospitalized for a week. AN md there told me he'd release my only if I could come there 3 times a week non-stress test. As fate would have it, shortly after another MD came in check me over. I ask what time I would be discharged and although he never answered his face was saying your not. You know they practically drain you of blood with all the testing, so before the nurse took me out of my room ( be discharged) they came to do blood work. She ask why b/c I was dischared. They had an order in lab to do it. We did even make it to the elevator. Nurse got a call. I look at her and said it's for me ? She nodded yes. My labor was induced that evening (31 1/2 wks). Another nurse caring for me told me I was the talk of the floor. She said talk about devine intervention, the blood work that was taken just before I was to be discharged showed organ / enzymes were going south fast. If I had left that day me and my baby boy might both be dead! She said no one know who had ordered that blood work to be done. No one saw anyone bring it and it was not sighed. I want to really thank GOD ! I believe through him or working through someone he made sure I didn't leave that hospital. I was having really strong contractions but could not feel them. Maybe do to the intense swelling. When I got my epidural I remember sitting up feeling like I had lost all body function and did. After epidural they laid me back, my eyes closed, I could here them saying use your arms to pull yourself up. I just couldn't! Then they tried to find the baby's HB and within sec's still unable to communicate, I heard them say, " We don't have a HB". Within sec's I was raced down to have an emergency CS. Again they ask I help trasfer over to table. I couldn't, its like my body was so tired and just shut down. I could hear them but could let them now I could. Finally, the team said she's not responding moved me and I could hear a man saying, " Christina I'm putting this on your face you have to breath in". Whether I did or not I don't know but in my mind I was. I had a beautiful 3.6 lbs boy at 8:30 am. I did not come to until 11PM that evening. They had to move all the equipment I was hook up to down to NICU. I so appreciated it. I only got to see him briefly. I was still so ill. I was released 1 1/2wk after initially being admitted and my son was there only two wks @ 4lbs. Again, another blessing from God. He suffered no problems was breathing on his own after 1st few hrs. He is now 2 1/2 yrs and I have seen no developmental delays. For his first 8 mths he did have acid reflux. I had gained 40 lbs most water. I continued to have high BP for 2 mths and was put on a mild BP med to try and help. By the way the awful MAG Sulfate I was kept on it 1 1/2 days following my sons birth. The swelling stayed for 3 months, each month it would get alittle better. I found as the fluid left my BP got lower without taking med. The MD @ hospital said I would pee a lot when my body was getting rid of the excess water. He was wrong... I did not pee anymore than usually. What I did do I thought was strange and was woundering if anyone else has experienced this, two days after delivery I started having night sweats, in the AM my bed and me would be completely drench from sweating at night. I would have a puddle of water below trach region when waking at night. Though during the day I did not sweat but have this feeling of cool, tingling sensation. Felt like I have Biofreeze or muscle cream on my body, which I didn't. This was my experience and I knew I would not have another child after this. MD's also gave me counsel, not directly saying it but strongly suggested I not get pregnant again. They told me the probably of same condition was a factor in next pregnancy and since the don't know a lot about preclampsia, and why more and more women are keeping symptoms long after birth. God bless me with one and I know beyond a doubt he was holding my hand all the way through it!

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      Helen 5 years ago

      Hi Vibben,

      I had HELLP syndrome 14 years ago. My son was born 7 weeks premature, and we were not given any indication that he would have any problems later in life. Although he was tiny when he was born he really wasn't affected by his traumatic arrival, and i guess we were led into a false sense of security that everything would be fine. However it is only as the years have gone on that we have come to realise that he does has some learning problems that are probably due to his early birth. He finds it very difficult to concentrate for any length of time, has co-ordination problems, has fine motor skill issues, his handwriting in particular is not good. He was diagnosed with dispraxia a couple of years ago, but it took a long time to get a diagnosis as he is quite borderline, but certainly severe enough to affect his and our lives. I have found out that dispraxia is more common in premature boys. Your grandson may not be affected at all by his mum being affected by HELLP, but the only advise i can offer is to please be aware of his development once he starts school, as it took a long time for teachers and doctors to see that my son needed help, even though I thought for a long time that things weren't quite right. I had to struggle and fight for him to get any assistance, as it wasn't a physical disability that could be seen, and his problems were really not severe, but still deserved intervention from school and doctors, and I would say it is only in the past year that he has finally got the help he deserves.

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      Pod78 5 years ago

      Hi Vibben

      My daughter had a few stomach problems throughout her younger years but has now grown out of them. She is now also putting on weight as she has always been little, but she is a very active kid and very intellegent. I don't think the condition affects them it probably comes down more to how premmie they were born. Not sure about other peoples experiences.

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      Vibben 5 years ago

      My daughter gave birth to a boy about a year ago and she was very ill with HELLP.She was lucky to be able to be well up to week 37.My question is:Is there any developmental problems with these children down the road? I have been trying to find information but so far I have found very little information.

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      Pod78 5 years ago

      I just wanted to make a comment to Katie first to say I hope you are going okay and the symptoms have settled down. This also incorporates Mandy B, like Katie I to am in my second pregnancy (see my story), I did go and speak to a variety of specialists before I decided to do this again. I was told varying things from different drs from you should never have another child to you'll be fine we will just monitor you very closely this time as we know what we are looking for. As I was desperate to have another child (this is also with a different father) I decided to give it a go, I am now 20weeks pregnant and I haven't been overly well, I have had severe headaches for the past 7 weeks and they are making me have a lumbar puncture this week to check for fluid on my brain. They have also put me on Aspirin which thins the blood and should keep my blood pressure down throughout the whole pregnancy and also calcium which helps as well apparently. I still think it's completely worth it and the drs are being amazing at making sure they see me weekly to check my blood pressure. I just hope it settles or if not that I can get as far as possible to make bub viable. I say Mandy that you need to make the best possible decision for you not the drs, and just knowing that they know your history will help. Just make sure you get a good Dr to start with that understands what HELLP is. I wish you the best of luck and look forward to hearing how you Katie and Mandy go.

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      MandyB 5 years ago

      I too suffered with Preeclampsia, toxemia, and HELLP syndrome. I gained about 60+ lbs, had migraines, and the WORST heartburn I've ever experienced in my life. I was 30 weeks to the day when I got sick...and it happened all at once. The pain in my chest just felt like I had slept wrong and my sternum was sore because of it. I wasn't sleeping well at nights either. Once my mom and step-dad took me into the ER, my BP was was 220/114. I was admitted immediately. The pain in my chest had gotten worse. With every beat of my heart my body was convulsing. They had strapped a heart monitor on me to see if it was my heart. They drew blood, made me pee in a cup...finally found out it was toxemia, preeclampsia, and hellp syndrome. My son was born 10 weeks early and weighed 2 lbs 5.8 oz. He hit a few bumps in the road while being in the NICU ...but has since grown to be a tall handsome 6 year old. Can't even tell he was a Preemie! But....six years later..I still suffer with high blood pressure. And I've even had about 2 or 3 doctors since that have told me "there's no such thing as HELLP syndrome." Some nerve!!!!! I have yet to find a doctor that will sit with me for a consultation and just listen to my worries and concerns on having another child..I don't even know if I can! Or if all this will occur again! Didn't mean to make this into a "pity-fest"....but I can't tell you how much this means to me to find more women and families out there that have suffered lime I have. Helps reasure me that I'm not crazy and that HELLP syndrome is FOR REAL! I would so very much love to have another child. I'm still young! I'm only 27. I want to experience just ONE good normal (or at least healthy) pregnancy. I was single parent and alone with my son. I am now very mutely happily married and want to experience this "love" of having a family with him. But being told so many different things have me so confused, scared, and depressed: "HELLP isn't real"..."you will probably experience everything again if you have any more children "...."every pregnancy is different"...."maybe with a different father DNA this won't happen"..."you should lucky you're still alive and satisfied with the one healthy child you have." Any thoughts, opinions, words of encouragement, sources would be ever so appreciated.

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      Katie 5 years ago

      I love reading all your stories. It makes me feel better that Im not alone in this. My Son was born at 36 weeks and is now a Healthy Lil 2 1/2 year old. When I was around 28 weeks I started swelling really bad, I had a regular check up with my work dr and my White Blood Count came back high. He suggested I take the paperwork to my OB. When I did this my OB said "Blood counts will go up and down when your pregnant, Im not worried about it" then when I showed him my swelling he said "some women swell more then others".. Leaving the hospital in tears while my husband was Steaming Mad, we knew something was wrong but went on our way home. Two days after my baby shower I had a Regular OB appt. My mom went with me (Thankfully) because she was going to get answers to what was wrong with me. My appt started at 2:30pm, after checking my blood pressure three times with three different machines they finally figured out something was wrong.. BP was like 190/120. The dr came in, said I had protein in my urine and they were sending me to the OB. At 3:21pm my son was born via Emergency C-Section at 5lbs 6oz.. He was having trouble breathing and they air lifted him to a bigger hosptial. After recovery I was still very sick, high blood pressure and the swelling never went down. Less then 24 hours after an Emergency C-Section and Blood Pressure Still very high, the dr released me with a small amount of Blood Pressure Meds. We drove to the NICU to see my son, stayed in a local Ronald McDonald house and then 2 days later I was readmitted thru the ER to the hospital where my son was staying. After 7 days of Mag and not being able to see my son, We were finailly released to come home. He was 4lbs 14oz when we came home but is over the charts now.! I am currently in my 26th week with another lil boy and I am starting to show the same signs. I def have a new dr and they are keeping a close eye on me. I go tomorrow with my new list of complaints (low back pain, pain in my lower left belly area, not feeling well, etc) Im nervous to hear what she says but also hopeing for the best.

      Again, thanks for your stories, it helps for each one of us to know we are not alone.! God Bless

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      Carla 5 years ago

      I just experienced this a month ago. I didn't find out until after the c-section when my body wasn't functioning correctly. I am pleased to say I have a beautiful, healthy little boy. I myself am okay I guess. I still feel pain and I can't get out of this depression. I send prayers to all. This is truly no way to start something so beautiful such as motherhood.

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      Sarah 5 years ago

      I had never heard of HELLP until yesterday. My friend who was 34 weeks pregnant was unresponsive and convulsing on Friday night when her husband called 911. She has lost her baby and is still trying to be stabilized in the hospital. I am her co-worker and I also have a child. I have heard everything about every second of her pregnancy. I knew she had just had a urine test at her exam and then asked to have another because her urine was orange, she had had two previous UTI with this pregnancy. She called the Dr. around 10:00 on Fri and they said she had some protein in urine and a small amount of blood. They said they would ask the Dr. and get back to her. I do not know what they told her when they "got back to her" but obviously it wasn't "go directly to ER." She had been complaining of trouble breathing and her BP was a high for her at her last exam. What should she do, is there any process she should go through to understand why they didn't catch it? At this point in time I don't think she was has even delivered her son.

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      Pod78 5 years ago

      Hi there

      I am amazed at how many people have experienced the same complications as I have never met anyone who has had these conditions before.

      I had Pre-eclampsia and HELLP in my first pregnancy 11 years ago, and I had no idea about either condition hence why I think it got so bad. I had a dream pregnancy until about 32 weeks when I started having headaches and not feeling great. It was Christmas day when I noticed I was so swollen and also had a couple of vomits in the morning. I just decided to take it easy until my neighbour who was a midwife said I think you need to go to hospital and get this checked out. When I arrived at the hospital they took my blood pressure and it was 205/110 they said you're not going anywhere and worst case scenario you will have your baby. The gave me the injections to strengthen bubs lungs, I had protein in my urine as well and as the week progressed I became sicker and sicker. I almost lost my vision and the headaches were unbearable. They decided that they had to take the baby out and when they checked I was already 4cm dialated, silly me asked if I could have my baby naturally and they agreed as long as I had an epidural (which didn't work). I went onto have my little girl naturally weighing 4lb 4oz but within 30mins of having her I developed agonising pain in my chest which felt like someone was jumping on it, and at the time I was on my own in the room and couldn't move to push the buzzer, eventually someone came in and the rest is a blur as I went unconcious as my liver failed. I was in ICU for 3 days and had my family come up and say goodbye to me as they thought I was going to die, luckily I didn't and stayed in hospital for 2 weeks until my blood pressure came good again. My little girl is not so little anymore and is 11 now and is fine. The hospital I was at used my case as a case study as they had not witnessed such a severe case (I guess this was a while ago).

      I however am 13 weeks pregnant (it took a lot of thinking to decide to do this). I had Drs telling me I should never have anymore children and others saying there is a risk but we will monitor you, scary!!! Anyway in the last 2 days I have had full on headaches and my blood pressure has been up a bit, my Dr did blood tests today but it's worrying me and especially this early on, so fingers crossed here all will go well.

      Good luck to Wesleys mum on your journey ahead too.

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      Wesley's Mom 5 years ago

      Hi, I just wanted to share my story. I was 34 weeks pregnant with my son Wesley in November 2008. I woke up with severe right side pain that I thought was a foot in my ribs (he was a BIG boy). I went to the hospital and was admitted. After many blood tests they determined I had HELLP and needed to deliver. But since I was less than 35 weeks I had to go to a bigger centre. I was transferred on a Sunday to a bigger Centre, where they were supposed to help me. Instead they tried to induce me and my body was having NONE of it. They tried to break my water when I wasn't even 1 cm dilated. After the doc pulled out that knitting needle they use to break your water and saw the 8 inche blood clot he freaked out and send me to an even bigger centre where I was immediately admitted to the ICU with a platelet count of 13 000 and a BP of 210/160 (should have been stroking at that point). they pumped me full of platelets and knocked me out to deliver my son. He was born at 12:19 am on November 11, 2008 and weighed 7 pounds (I told you he was a big boy!!!). I stayed in the ICU for 48 hours and stayed in the postpartum ward for another 4 days after that. I was left with high BP (still have it) and am on medication.

      I am currently 11 weeks pregnant with our number 2. It too LOTS of soul searching to try this again. I am praying for the best as I would like this to be my last pregnancy. It's so stressful normally that this is just a little insane.

      thanks for listening to my story!

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      Kae 5 years ago

      hi its been 4mos now since the day i gave birth and been diagnosed with pre eclampsia and HELLP. its supposed to be my first baby at 22 weeks.i am 26.i gained a lot during the last weeks of my 2nd trimester and i know it wasn't ok anymore, i felt so unwell but i didn't give any full attention coz i thought it was just so normal on was 09/27/11 that i was rush to the hospital due to sever headache and pretty surprised with my BP of 180/120..i was given magnesium sulfate here and there, it sucked.til my OB found out my baby was already out of fluid.i was then again tranferred to the other tertiary hospital due to lack of etc.. etc..But the ob who admit me failed to diagnose me with hellp right away.i started losing platelets, heartburn, convulsions with was 4days after,that they found out ive already developed hellp and believe or not, 15 mil only left on my dying body, i felt really weak that time ,i cant even move alone because of blurred vission..its only then they decided to have me cs without any hope anymore. i thank GOd i survived but i lose my baby :( she was 1.2 lbs. she was alive at 24 hrs but unfotunately i wasn't able to see or to just even kiss her..she died 10/03/11, first day of his dad on his was a tragic to me, i was in denial for so long and up to now while i am constructing this comment, i am teary eyed..theres a lot of if's floating in my mind but i know its late..and theres no way to get back my baby's life. i am still recovering from it, and still trying to find out if i can still get pregnant and prevent what happened to me on my first pregnancy.

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      Cole 5 years ago

      I just had my second baby and developed HELLP post delivery. Looking back I wish the doctor had discussed the possibility with me. I had severe hypertension and non-stop vomiting with my first pregnancy which I'm told (by maternity nurse) made me a higher risk for this pregnancy. I had some mild symptoms of HELLP before delivery but just shrugged them off as a normal part of pregnancy. This pregnancy was my second c-section and I delivered a healthy baby boy at 36 weeks, after delivery all was good until 3 days later when the doctor was discharging me. My blood pressure was 200/105 after one more day of monitoring I was sent home on blood pressure medication and home monitoring program where I check everything several times daily and I have a nurse that comes in 3 times a week. The scary part about all this is even though I know I have HELLP I don't feel sick, and a lot of the women I have talked to who have said they never felt sick until it was too late. I think more women need to be aware of the complications that can occur so they can be better protected.

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      Ashley 5 years ago

      I delivered a 3lb 1.4 oz baby boy almost a year ago with the same story as you except I went to my ob after my first emergency room visit and they told me i had heartburn, my ob said I said i has raised blood pressure but it was fine, that night i was back in the er

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      Mandy 5 years ago

      I urge you please do get it checked out ASAP. I got this over new year and had c section for my little girl. I was 24wks but she had stopped growing at 20 due to pre-e and hellp, I had symptoms but it was put down to just normal pregnancy stuff.y baby clung to life for 13 days but she was just too small for the doctors to save her. I knew nothing about this disease, it's crippling knowing that when you cuddle your baby for the first time it's also the last. I would not wish this feeling of pain on anyone. Get it checked, insist on a urine test and bp test at your hospital. Luvs to all x

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      BLars 5 years ago

      Ory--Go to the doctor and make the test your blood and BP!!! Those were my symptoms too, and I had developed HELLP syndrome at 22 weeks. Keep bugging them; I was admitted to the hospital and released with what the thought was a bad virus. I kept having the same excruciating middle stomach pain, shortness of breath, headache, severe vomiting, etc. when I went back, I had developed Class I (most severe) HELLP and I almost died. My son was stillborn 3 days later, but I am so grateful I didn't join him in heaven--I was close. Trust your instincts/body and don't be afraid to bug your doctor! Hopefully it's nothing, but better safe than sorry!

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      Ory 5 years ago

      hey i was wondering if hellp syndrome symptoms are also pain in the middle of the chest , i feel like i cant breathe a little ive been sitting in a chair for about 4 hours now cuz i feel breathless when i lay down and also i randomly started throwing up tonight around 1130 pm. ive had a horrible migrane for a week now im seeing a nuerologist friday but now i dk if i should wait or just go to ER cuz i may have this?

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      Sheena 6 years ago

      I have been feeling bad headaches lately and got dizzy and nauseous as of last night! Do you think I could have this? I am 34 weeks pregnant with my 3rd baby she is still moving around like normal but there are times when I feel like I can't get comfortable or breath but it gets better after an hour or two! I am scared now to think maybe I am just sitting here doing nothing when this could be the case! I was looking up horrible headaches, dizziness, and being nauseous out of the blue at 34 weeks and found this! It is scary to think about and I fill so bad about all your problems:(

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      Meagan 6 years ago

      i was diagnosed with preeclampsia and hellp syndrome during labour (I wasn't monitored for it during pregnancy because my blood pressure was always normal or low). I got bad heartburn (well at least thats what i thought it was. reading this makes me not so sure) from about 26 weeks onwards.

      Fortunately i was still able to have my vaginal birth even though if things took much longer it would have been a c-section since my little girl was showing signs of distress.

      I had post partum haemmorraging and ended up in theatre under a general to get fixed up and had blood transfusions and platelets.

      At one stage I had about 4 IV's with fluids and magnesium sulfate etc.

      Unfortunately now because of the huge blood loss (I lost nearly 3 litres of blood) i'm struggling with breastfeeding because of low milk supply. My little girl is 5 weeks old today.

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      Paul 6 years ago

      Are ther any know mental problems after women who have had HELP/pre-eclampsia?

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      Stacy 6 years ago

      I was diagnosed with preclampsia and HELLP syndrome with my 3rd pregnancy. I remember it all starting when I was about 30weeks along. Such awful pain in my chest. Thought I was having very bad heart burn. My pregnancy up until then was pretty good, I had a couple trips to the hospital for Kidney infection but other than that it was good. I would wake up in the middle of the night in such pain I couldn't sleep, I would walk and cry lay in a warm bathtub to try and ease the pain. My OB also thought I just had a case of bad heartburn and had prescribed me antacids. They did not help and one night the pain was so bad at 33 weeks I had to go to the ER. Once their I was screaming in pain so bad, they took blood and diagnosed me with Preclampsia and HELLPS syndrome. An emergency C-Section was our only choice. The doctors and nurses were running around with whispers to my family that if it wasn't done quickly the baby and I were going to die. My beautiful baby girl was born by c section shortly after wheighing in at just 2 lbs 13oz. She was so tiny but a fighter. I remained in the hospital for 2 1/2 weeks and she was discharged from the NICU a little over a month later. She is happy healthy and so smart now 5 years later. I hope and pray that more mothers to be learn about this syndrome early and they do not have to go through this extremely scary events. I thank God every day my daughter and I are here. Good luck to all.

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      Leah  6 years ago

      My mother died of HELLP syndrome or preeclampsia after giving birth to me. Am i at risk of getting this condition when i become pregnant?

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      StephanieMalone 6 years ago

      sorry to hear about the horrible time you had. I had never heard about preeclampsia or eclampsia before until I had it. I am 18 years old and my little boy is 10 months old now. Im so thankful to be here today. My doctor had no clue I had this until I was at the hospital. I was in labor pushing for a few hours when I knew something was wrong. Right before they were taking me back for a csection because I couldn't push him out..I started seizing. I had three seizures right on the table. I was rushed for an emergency csection. The doctors and nurses really thought I Wasn't going to make it. I was in Icu for 1 week and a half because my pottasuim was so low. I didn't get to see my baby until 3 days after I had him. I was so sad. I thought this would be the best and memorable time of my life...and it turned out to be a distaster. Im so blessed to be here today and have my beautiful little boy with me.

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      Elena 6 years ago

      I had HELLP syndrome with my second pregnancy. Everything was OK except for swollen legs but my BP was normal. I also had problems with swollen legs during my first pregnancy so I didn't worry. My doctor told me that everything was OK but on 32 weeks she told me that I had a slim fetus. I had to complete a serious project at the office (I am the lawyer) and worked hard. However, I felt that my baby wasn't that active as my first daughter. I was lucky to visit a doctor who helped me with my first baby. She works at the best Russian Prenatal Center in Moscow; when I visited her she just took a look at me and told me that I should stay in the hospital. My BP was 140 and I felt OK, but DR told that I had very slim baby, swollen legs and she didn't like it at all. It was on Friday and on Monday-Tuesday we would have closing so I suggested that I come to the hospital on Wednesday. How lucky I was that she simply asked: Do you want your baby alive? I stayed at the hospital, and on Monday early in the morning felt terible pain in my right shoulder- right arm. I told nurses about it and they suggested that I had some kind of osteokhondrosys. My DR also didn't suspect anything that bad. I was under monitors twice that day and my DR didn't like my Cardiotocography results. So she asked me to make this test again. Suddenly I felt weak, it was hard to breath and monitor showed that baby heartbeat was falling down. Luckily the nurse was with me in the room and my DR was in the coridor outside. The nurse called her and she rushed into, looked at me and shouted: Urgent C-section. In 6 minutes my sweet baby-daughter was out of me and she could breath herself. Later I was told that the uterine scar after first c-section broke and that it counted for seconds not for minutes to make this c-section. I felt OK and in 5 days planned to return home. On the fifth day (Friday evening) I felt some slight pain under my right ribs and asked for an oncall doctor (I was still in the hospital). I went through U/S and was told to stay in bed. Actually I felt OK, however my right arm still hurt. On Monday when my DR returned to the hospital I went through MRT, another U/S with five doctors in the ward, then I was asked to stay in bed, and hepatologists from another hospital were invited for consultation. It happened that I had a liver hematoma, was moved to another hospital, stayed in IC for 3 terrible days but actually didn't feel that bad. I was lucky to stay alive and my younger daughter is a wonderful 7 months old beauty. Thanks to my saviour Dr and she says thanks to God as she never had such experience in 30 years of her practice. I went through several liver U/S later and in 6 months my hematoma disappeared. Doctors hepatologists said it was a miracle. They told me that they discovered only one case similar to mine in Germany but the woman went through three liver transplantations.

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      Hilary 6 years ago

      1.Eat walnuts (prevents blood clots)

      2. Use coconut oil (lowers blood pressure) Try with pancakes - tastes amazing!!!!

      3. Avoid sugar, sweeteners, caffeine, and chemically-processed foods, except Stevia (because those things tax the liver and kidneys)

      4. Drink plenty of clean water (keeps toxins from building up in liver)

      5. Take calcium, magnesium, and potassium (reduces blood pressure) Highly recommended: dates. They are naturally very high in potassium and taste like candy.

      6. Drink pomegranate juice (lowers blood pressure)

      7. Use organic sea salt (regulates blood pressure) Tastes really good and can used liberally, whereas table salt should be used minimally.

      8. In general, for many health reasons eat plenty of whole grains (steel-cut oats or regular oats okay too, brown rice, quinoa, millet, teff)), small white fish and salmon, nuts, flax oil, and lean poultry is pretty good too. (helps to prevent clotting and keeps blood pressure low)

      9. Avoid fried foods and red meat, and did I mention sugar?

      10. Use garlic (prevent blood clots).

      11. Take magnesium (regulates/lowers blood pressure).

      12. Eat kale (regulates blood pressure)

      13. Stay away from excess fructose, found in sodas, anything with high fructose corn syrup, apples, pears, mangos, to some extent onions, and some brands of agave.

      14. Take probiotics (regulates blood pressure)

      15. Get plenty of vitamin D (women low in vit. D are found to be at significantly greater risk for developing preeclampsia) & vitamin C (greens, turnips, rutabagas, broccoli, oranges, figs).

      16. Get plenty of selenium (selenium deficiency was found as a primary culprit of nutrition causes of preeclampsia)…found in brazil nuts, organ meats, tuna.

      17. Find out if you are gluten sensitive (as an estimated 70-80% of the population is...) and avoid gluten to "turn off" the autoimmune gene. My doctor (author of "The Gluten Effect") thinks that eating gluten while I was gluten-sensitive was enough to trigger my HELLP syndrome gene.

      Good luck everyone!

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      Hilary 6 years ago

      I had HELLP syndrome with my first pregnancy. Actually didn't feel the brunt of it until a few hours after delivering my daughter. I was 40 weeks. Two days before I did feel a pain in my chest, and was sure I was having a very untimely gall bladder attack, since I had felt that same pain before. The kind where you can't rest your back or your chest against anything. The doctor's told me to wait to wait until the my induction the next morning (they wanted to induce due to baby's slowing growth weight...though she was fine). I remained in labor for 2 full days before my daughter's heart rate was reacting negatively to my contractions and I had to have an emergency C section. All this time I refused to eat anything because the pain in my chest was so severe, I knew it would make the pain worse and I would just throw it right back up. A few hours after a painful C-section (they had to lay me on my back which caused the WORST chest pain imaginable...I cried until the moment I could sit up again!) I started to feel really crappy all over, what you might call "malaise." I remember saying "my whole body hurts right that normal?" Then I started to look jaundice, then they checked my platelet count and liver enzymes and it appeared as if my liver and kidneys failed all at once. Tons of people rushed into my room as I fell into a daze. I remember my doctor saying "Hilary, don't fall asleep right now. I need you to stay awake for me." I knew that wasn't good, but I was in such a fog that I wasn't really alarmed. Then little old me (normally 110 pounds and gained 24 during my pregnancy) gained a whopping 50 pounds over the next 48 hours. Hadn't gotten any stretch marks until then! Here's the crazy thing, that pain in my chest, which is a tell-tale sign of HELLP, actually may have been my gall bladder. They checked it due to my insistence. That chest pain was so familiar I really wanted them to make sure it wasn't the gall bladder. It turns out my gall bladder actually was inflamed and needed to be removed. They didn't want to do it just then because I had just had major surgery, so we did it 5 months later when I was fully recovered.

      I am 5 weeks pregnant with my second child. I've been reading a lot about nutrition and have come up with a list of 15 things that can help prevent the "trigger" that turns on the HELLP syndrome gene. I really believe I'm going to be okay this time.

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      Monica 7 years ago

      I am a first time Mom (32 yrs.) and have a very happy, healthy 8 month old boy. I have always been in great shape and low blood pressure 100/60. That is why I was so surprised to be a victim of preeclampsia/HELLP syndrome. Yet, I was fortunate in that my severe preeclampsia did not manifest itself until the 36th week. I was sent to the hospital a couple of times for monitoring, but then they would release me because my blood pressure would come down. Just before my 38th week I got the most excruciating headache and then my eye-sight went blurry. I felt sick to my stomach and lied on the sofa for hours with this horrible pain. Eventually the headache went away and my eyesight returned to normal. In hindsight I should have gone to the hospital. The next day I woke up with intense abdominal pain and couldn't breathe. This lasted for one hour - I thought it was contractions - and then my water broke. The headache returned - it felt like a baseball bat hitting my head - and not being able to breathe - which apparently was because my liver was expanding - we called my doctor and she sent me to the hospital. When I arrived I was dilated to a 5 and vomiting. They took my blood pressure and it was over 200 so my doctor performed and emergency c-section and I delivered a beautiful 5 lb. 10 oz. boy. That is when my preeclampsia turned to HELLP. My platelets dropped to 6 and it seemed a blood transfusion was inevitable. But thankfully my platelet count slowly crept up over the next several days. My doctor had seen a case like mine once before and the woman's liver ruptured and she spent 6 months in the hospital recovering. So when my doctor saw my vitals prior to delivery she knew it was an emergency. She later told me that she was surprised I didn't have a stroke before I got to the hospital because my blood pressure was so high. In hindsight I had pain in my upper abdomen during majority of the 3rd trimester and severe swelling but because there was no protein my liver - until the 36th week - and my blood was fine - until the 36th week (I only gained 24lbs.) there was no reason to believe anything was wrong. I was sent back a second time for a gestational diabetes test because glucose level too high first time - are they somehow related? But again in hindsight I think there were other warning signs early on in the 3rd trimester. I so hope to have a 2nd, but I am terrified. I only hope that next time around I would heed warning signs and deliver before I nearly die.

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      Kayla 7 years ago

      Hello everyone, I am glad (yet saddened) that so many other women have also had to go through this. I got pregnant when I was 19 years old and most of my pregnancy was fine (expect that my baby was a bit small and I wasn't gaining enough weight, even though I was certainly eating for 2) and at 30 weeks I woke up one morning with a horrible pain in my upper right side and thought I was having really bad heartburn because I had had pizza the night before and slept it off for 2 hours. When I woke up I began throwing up (which I had not done my entire pregnancy). Afterwards I called the hosptial and they had me come in to get checked out. When I arrived they found out that I was in preterm labor (dialated 1cm) and that I had to get some blood tests done. I was sent to a hospital with a NICU and I waited there until 5 days later when I got really sick again and my side starting hurting really bad. The doctors finally took my blood again and my platlets were lower than they have ever seen before (16). I delivered my baby at 31 weeks and he was 2lb 6oz and he was in the hospital for 7 months and had 5 surgerys while he was there.

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      Nic Clayton 7 years ago

      Hello guys, I also had developed HELLP syndrome with my first baby when i was 19 years old. I had a practically perfect pregnancy and at 37 weeks they decided to induce me due to sudden high blood pressure. I had the prostaglandin gel and within minutes i felt labour pains...After 3 hours in the delivery suite i gave birth to my 5lb 10.5oz baby girl...after delivery i started to feel stressed with immense chest pain and tightness around the lungs liver and kidneys-the docs were unsure but saw my blood pressure raise to 202/180-i almost had a stroke...the emergency surgeons came running in surrounded by 5 other nurses..i remember feeling sligtly dizzy and weak and although i could hear and was aware of what was happening, i found it difficult to communicate...the doctors explained to my husband that i had HELLP syndrome and my blood pressure needed to come down before they moved me to ICU...after 4 hours of reducing my BP they moved me to icu where i stayed for 2 nights, i saw my daughter briefly on a few occasions over those couple of nights..i was then moved back to the maternity ward where i stayed for a further 4 nights for observation...afterwards it was explained that id developed HELLP because my immune system was trying to fight away my baby as it saw my daughter as a 'foreign body' and this had caused my bp to rise so high...the docs say i can have more children as long as they are with my current partner and not with anyone else as next time i may not be so lucky..but i dont intend on havin anymore with anyone else!

      after being out of hospital for 3 weeks, christmas 2005 we had discovered that our daughter had heart disease and needed immediate surgery she had total anomalous pulmonary venous drainage, she made a full recovery within a very very short unexpected time and it is apparent that there was no link to the HELLP syndrome and my daughters heart condition.

      im just releived that there are other mums out there that can share their experiences and we can make others aware of the dangers of hellp..xx

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      caitlynk 7 years ago

      I had severe pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome with my son. It developed in my 35th week of pregnancy and I gave birth at 35 wks and 5 days.

      I had woken up in the middle of the night with severe pain in between my ribs. It felt like indigestion/heart burn. I took a TUMS and it went away. A few days later, I developed severe right shoulder and arm pain that nagged me the entire day. I chalked it up to cleaning too much the day before. My sister wanted to check my blood pressure because she was concerned with my symptoms, but I brushed her off. The pain in between my ribs developed again and TUMS took it away. Luckily, I had a routine OB appointment that week and discovered that my BP was up and I had protein in my urine. I had gained 10 lbs (compared to two weeks prior when I had an appointment and everything was going perfectly). I was put on temporary bedrest and then was admitted to the hospital after my bloodwork showed signs of HELLP. I had to be life-flighted to a hospital roughly 1 hour away from home that had a better NICU. The doctors I had were fantastic and on the ball. I was induced and in labor for 25 hours, then pushed for 1 hour, then finally had a c-section. It was an exhausting experience. My son was born (5lbs 3oz) with complications (groggy from the magnesium I was on, trouble breathing), but he spent a day in the NICU and thankfully did well. My bloodwork became much worse after birth, but everything started to improve after a few days and we all went home. My husband and I look forward to trying for a second child, but I am still nervous about it. Many people have reassured me that chances of getting it again are quite possibly slim, but it's always something I'll be looking out for if I get pregnant again. It's nice to see that I'm not the only one with this experience.

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      sam 7 years ago

      I also had sever preeclampsia and hellp syndome. Been having terrible pain under ribs and upper back for weeks told by midwife i had trapped wind!! One night couldn't take the pain any more went to a&e my son was born 5 days later at 30weeks gestation weighing only 1lb 14oz. He stayed in nicu for 9weeks. But is now a healthy happy 14 month old. i am now pregnant on my 2nd and hope to god it doesn't happen again. Good look out ther to all ladys with this condition and hope maybe for a cure ato become available. X

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      sam 7 years ago

      I also had sever preeclampsia and hellp syndome. Been having terrible pain under ribs and upper back for weeks told by midwife i had trapped wind!! One night couldn't take the pain any more went to a&e my son was born 5 days later at 30weeks gestation weighing only 1lb 14oz. He stayed in nicu for 9weeks. But is now a healthy happy 14 month old. i am now pregnant on my 2nd and hope to god it doesn't happen again. Good look out ther to all ladys with this condition and hope maybe for a cure ato become available. X

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      steph reilly 7 years ago

      hey, I had the same thing too. i was rushed in2 hospital at half 8 at night with warm water dripping down my leg, but i was only 28weeks pregnant! they did my BP and it was 134/118 then i started to panic. They immediately sait it was a severe case of preeclampsia. I had loads of drugs to take and they said that i couldn't leave the hospital until the baby was delivered. I was in hospital 4 a total of 4weeks. Eventualy, the doctor came rushing it2 me and said that we have to deleiever now as i have go to the stage of Eclampsia and that if they didn't deleiver now i would bleed to death as my blood wasn't clotting!! talk about panic. My daught was born at 4:16pm and she weighed 3lb 3oz. i went as far as just 33weeks. she was in hospital 4 5weeks and is now 15months. i was discharged from hospital having to take 16 tablets a day 4 3weeks to keep my BP down. I feel that me and my daughter were just realy lucky.

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      Karen Dickson 7 years ago

      My niece is in the process of trying to survive Hellp and preclamsia right now. She is in ICU. Has been since last Wednesday. Was on a vent for two days. Two units of platelets and two units of blood. Brain swelling, CT shows fluid is about the same right now. Blood pressure up today intially was over 215. Switching her to a longer acting BP med, blood in her stool now from C-diff from prolonged antibiotic use. Started her on a 3% saline mix to try to draw the fluid from her brain and body(recommendation from Emory doctors) Have to watch the kidneys. She has recently come out of kidney failure and that solution filters and can harm the kidneys. The doctors are calling other doctors in bigger hospitals to see how they are treating brain injury patients. Seems like they fix one thing and something else falls apart. We could use no more days of news that she is unresponsive and her pupils are fixed and dialated. She has had four CT's now. Brain MRI yesterdy no results there yet. Please pray for her husband and family. If you have any advice or you live in Georgia, pleae email me. We would love to know a doctor who has seen this often. The baby is perfect he was 4.8lbs, is in the step up nursery now and taking three bottles. He just needs his mommy to make it. Thank you. Aunt Karen

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      hannah 7 years ago

      i am glad 2 have found this webpage. i was 18 wen i had my daurghter but suffered a lot. i had all the sytoms of hellp but no 1 picked up on it. at 35 weeks i was rushed into hospital with sickness bad pain in lower abdoman n top of my back and i couldn't breath. everythink is a bit of a blur really but my boyfriend went home i was in there a few days but then became worse i had 2 havemergany c section i dont remenber nufin after this i didn't even new i had her. i was put into an induced comer for 3weeks and was flown down londan royle free my parents got told 2 expect the worse, but after 3 weeks i was taken out of the comer and was gradually getting better. i was eventually taken back to my hospital,thats when i got to see my daurgetr for the first time i didn't no who she was at first and took me time to bond with her she was born weighing 6lb 2 and was fine. but now she is 13 months old n perfect i am soo gald 2 b here. because i am so young i would love more children but i really dont no what to do because i dont want to risk it i have my lil girl to think of now

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      Patrice  7 years ago

      Thanks so much Kylee for the info and support. I am meeting with my doctor in a couple of weeks for a check up and to talk about the future. I hope everything goes well for you this time!!!

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      Kylee John 7 years ago

      Hi Patrice, as i mentioned above im pregnant with my 2nd pregnancy, may i make a suggestion that you may have already thought of but there are HELLP specialists about that you can ask to be referred to by your gp. They will give you more information, mine told me that with the second pregnancy if you give birth within 3 years of the first child being born then it lowers your chance of HELLP occuring again. Also there is a blood test you can have to make sure you havnt got a blood disorder where your blood clots too easy, i had the test and they found i did have this which was what prob brought on the HELLP so early with me (23 weeks) i am now having daily injections and asprin to thin my blood. I am under a very good consultant in this pregnancy and have check ups every 2 weeks. He has also mentioned delivery me at 34 weeks (if i get that far) to avoid HELLP occuring later. Is aim however is to get me to 28 weeks. I know its scary and i was in the same boat as you but i really wanted my lil girl to have a brother or sister. Its a scary decision to make to have more children when you have been through so much in your first pregnancy but if you havnt already please go and see things about it as they can give you advice on how to avoid HELLP in the future altho obvs they cant guarntee it.

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      Patrice 7 years ago

      I am so glad I found this page. I had HELLP too with my first pregnancy and I was 35 years old. It came on at 37 weeks...I was so tired, seeing stars when I closed my eyes, just didn't feel right, but I chalked it up to just being at the end. I had an appt with my dr, just a normal check up, and they took my BP and it was sky high. I told her about seeing stars and she sent me right over to the delivery ward, to run some test. I should mention my appt that day was with the Midwife, not my OB. They ran some tests and determined I had HELLP and it all got very serious and scary. They told me I had to have the baby right away. Of course, I was ill prepared because I was simply on my lunch break from work. It was all so scary, I was put on the mag imediately and it was like hell. My skin was burning, I was vomiting, I had to lay on my right side (to keep my bp stable) in a dark room with no lights, no tv, no vistors, no phones...nothing. Thankfully my husband was by my side the whole time. After 24 hours of the mag I was able to deliver (because I was already having contractions...that I had no clue I was having, I was able to deliver vaginally). As soon as my son came out, I was right back on the mag for another 24 hours, again back in hell. The whole experience was awful, I trooped through it and really had no idea what was going, but just stayed the course and did everything that I was told, hoping that it would all end. And it finally did and I have beautiful happy 14 month old little boy. I am scared to death to get pregnant again. Part of me thinks the reason I survived was because I was so clueless as to how bad things were and I just kept telling myself, everything is going to be fine, you just have to keep pushing through. It makes me sad to think my son with not have a brother or a sister, but I am so afraid that I would get HELLP again. My husband feels the same way, that we should just feel blessed to have our son and not risk it.

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      Kylee John 7 years ago

      i was diagnosed with HELLP at 23 weeks days later i gave birth to my twins girls by emergency c section. Erin weighed 1lb, sian weighed 10oz, they both fought for there lives in NICU, Sadly we lost Sian when she was two months old, she was just too little, Erin kept fighting and 11 months after she was born she came out of hosiptal!

      Shes 18 months now and doing well, we are now expecting baby number 3! im 21 weeks now and starting to get nervous! They are keeping a close eye on my this time though so im keeping my fingers crossed i get to at least 30 weeks!

      The Dr told me that if i wanted any more children then i should have them within 3 years of the first being born as this lowers the risk, also staying with the same partner lowers the risk again!

      Can't help thinking though if only the midwife had kept a better eye on me then my delivery could have been prolonged and we may still have Sian, i just thats something we will never know!

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      mona 7 years ago

      hello i am new to this sight and i am not so lucky i had my son at 25 wks and he died due to preeclampsia he was a jr, he was under a pound and 14 inches long i had him 5/30/10 and this is my second son that i have lost my first son i had 12/18/08 and he died on 1/1/09 his intestant had rotted from the inside to his but imageing loosing two kids with in a yrs time i have two girls that are alive 9 yrs and 7 yrs old

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      Karen Metz 7 years ago from Michigan

      I had preeclampsia in my 26th week! I had gone to the doctor the month before with elevated blood pressure. I wasn't told the warning signs or anything! I think the doctor was afraid to scare me? I would rather have been scared, because I went with this condition for 3 days. It is so scary to think that I went that long! I ended up having to have an emergency c-section and after 7 long months my baby died from complications. I think every pregnant women needs to know about this condition so that she can get help. Thanks for a good hub!

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      Samantha 7 years ago

      Yeah. I was misdiagnosed the first time I went in for mine. I mentioned where the main source of pain was and that my stomach tensed up, but that it wasn't labor pains. I went to the hospital via ambulance on a Wednesday, and the EMT's drew blood from me and posted it to my bed before loading me up. The hospital never ran it and only checked me for contractions and dilation. After they concluded that I wasn't in labor, they gave me a pain shot and sent me home. I went a whole day without any pain. Then in the wee-hours that Friday, I got the pain again. We went off to the hospital again, where they were proceeding to check me for signs of labor again. After my husband pretty much went off on them, they started to really check me. They checked me for gall bladder issues, and they did a dye test to see if I had a clot in my lungs. Finally, one of my nurses drew blood and sent it in and it came back that I had Preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome. I was sent to another hospital and had my 6 lb 2 oz daughter around 8:45 that night. And now, 2 years later, I'm expecting baby #2.

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      Staci 7 years ago

      I am so touched by all the HELLP experiences I have read. For those who have lost their child, I am so deeply sorry. May God comfort you and bless you. I also had HELLP, some of the stories are nearly identical and some way worse. Hillary, our stories are a bit different, my son was born at almost 37 weeks. But our current situation is the same. My son is also 7. Here lately he has been telling us how much he wants a brother or sister. He says he is lonely. Wow, talk about heartbreaking! He loves to play with his cousins and friends but comes home very sad. I had a very scary experience with HELLP, I came very close to dying. My blood platelets dropped to low 20's and I had transfusions, and an emergency C-section and then 48 hours in ICU. My age concerns me too. I'll be 36 in June, but for the first time in 7 years, I am thinking of going to a specialist and just getting some more info. Let me know what you have decided.

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      Claire 7 years ago

      I am so sorry for everyone who has had to deal with this aweful complication. I am just finding this site now, and wish I had know about HELLP earlier. I was 31 yrs old, and 7 months pregnant with our first child in early December, and started to feel sick & vomitting. I went to the doctor and he said I had stomach flu...seemed reasonable. A week went by and I was still sick and had developed very bad headaches and shoulder pain. He said I'd probably thrown something out in my neck when I was vomitting...again sounded reasonable. After another week I was having pain in my upper abdomen so I went to another doctor, they said it sounded like gall-bladder pains...this was impossible as I had my gall-bladder removed 2 yrs earlier, so they decided it was acid and gave me acid blockers. I was sick for 3 weeks (with trips to my OB in there), where my BP was fine, and there was no protein in my urine. I also was having shortness of breath (I didn't know it but this was edema), and had a mini seizure in my leg. On Christmas Eve 2009 I had an ultrasound booked. Sadly there was no heartbeat that morning. Our beautiful daughter Livia Sophie was stillborn, or as I like to say, born sleeping, on Christmas Day. I feel so guilty that I didn't do more to convince the doctors that there was something really wrong, but when you tell them your symptoms and they tell you it's fine, you believe them. I was very sick in hospital with HELLP and almost died. The nurses said that if I hadn't had the ultrasound that day I'd have been dead within a couple of days. Livi was my guardian angel. I feel like she gave her life to save mine. I was on morphine, anti-seizure, anti-stroke and anti-coma drugs so her birth and my hospital stay is all a huge blur to me...unfortunately it is very real to my husband, I wish I could have saved him that pain. He;d just found out he'd lost his daughter and now they were telling him that he'd probably lose his wife too. That was just over 3 months ago now. I have tests scheduled to see what the chances are of this happening again. I'm so confused as we really want a child, but I'm also so scared it will happen again and I might not make it this time. I just want people to be aware that in rare occasions such as mine, HELLP can be present (in my case for 3 weeks) without any of the symptoms of Pre-eclampsia.

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      Hillary 7 years ago

      My daughter is 7 years old. I was diagnosed with HELLP at 26 weeks. Within 12 hours I was put to sleep and my daughter was taken via c-section. She weighed 1 lb 9 oz and was 13 inches long. I was only 23. My daughter was in the NICU for 3 months. The first 6 weeks she was on a ventilator. It was very tough as you all know. We took her home from the hospital after 3 months. One week later she choked on her vommit and stopped breathing. We called 911 and had an ambulance come. Luckily my husband is very calm under pressure (former military) and got her breathing just before the ambulance arrived. I just stared at her in shock as she was sitting on my lap. I couldn't believe that we had just got her home and this was happening.

      She ended up having very severe acid reflux and she vomited every time she ate. It was rought getting her to gain weight. When she was 12 months old she weighed just 12 lbs.

      Like I said, she's 7 now and she's perfectly fine. She doesn't have any lasting effects from her prematurity. She is the smartest, most beautiful 1st grader ever!

      My husband and I have never really had serious conversations about having another child. The topic came up over the weekend when my daughter left a note for the Easter Bunny asking him if he knew Santa because if he did she wanted him to tell Santa that she wanted a baby brother or sister. Since my daugther doesn't know that we are the Ester Bunny she doesn't know that we read the letter. When Iasked her what it said she told me that she asked him for a bike.

      She often cries after family gatherings because she has to come home by herself and doesn't have anyone to play with. My husband and I started talking about it tonight. Obvioulsy it's a very emotional thing for us to talk about. Part of me just wanted to go for it and put things in God's hands but I too worry about asking for more than one miracle.

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      May 7 years ago

      I had HELLP too. I was 26 at the time. I delivered at 32 weeks. I had a beautiful baby girl. she weighed 3lb 12oz. She was my 3rd child. I was life flighted to scared heart from holly family in spokane wa. I had an emergency c-section. That was really scary. I went to the hospital with pain in upper ab.(my liver was shutting down). I had several platelet transfusions and was in CICU for 3 days. The dr gave me a less than 50% to live. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks. I know how scary it is to have hellp.

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      Kellie 7 years ago

      Hello everyone. I am a newbie to this sight and am just looking for answers, advice or just support. I have two boys ages 12 and 9. My first pregnancy was perfect and my son was born right on his due date. My 9 year old was born at 36 weeks weighing 5lbs, 3oz. I developed severe pre-eclampsia without HELLP syndrome into my 3rd trimester and my symptoms continued for about 2 years post pregnancy. I received a clean bill of health around May of 2004. Unexpectedly, I am pregnant again (8 weeks)! I am almost 34 and as exciting as this should be for any couple, my husband and myself are terrified that I will develop pre-eclampsia again and this worries us tremendously. I am also 20lbs heavier than what I was 6 years ago making me about 50lbs overweight. I have an appt. with the high risk clinic next week and just had an appt. with my nephrologist who treated me back in 2006. He has told me that there is a less than 10% chance my kidneys will be damaged with this pregnancy and I have a 15-30% chance of developing PE again. I thought this was a good chance right as it is better than 50% or higher! My husband still didn't like the numbers. My husband and I just went through a rough past 2 years when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour and had to have surgery to remove it (successful)and went through 5 weeks of radiation. I would love to carry on with this husband, isn't sure as he is very scared he might lose me. It does worry me as well as I don't want something to happen to me where he loses the love of his life and my boys lose their mother. I mean everything to them and he tells me this all the time (even before we found out we were pregnant). I feel in my heart that I have to give this baby a chance but I also feel if I continue and something drastic happens, I will be guilt stricken. No matter what I choose to do, it will be hard for us. I have battled my emotions for 3 weeks now and just wish someone would tell me what to do but of course I know that this decision is ours. If I wasn't sick in my last pregnancy, this wouldn't even be a question on what we were going to do. I really scared my husband 9 years ago and to this day, he periodically recalls the moment when discussion of pregnancy comes up around family and friends. Any advice or support would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.

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      Emma 8 years ago

      Hi I was 33+5 when I was went for a routine check with my midwife. I hadn't been feeling well for a few days, pain in the upper right side of my abdomen, swollen feet, ankles, wrists, arms and even face, throwing up, blurred vision, flashing white lights etc etc. The midwife checked me over I had ++++ protein in my urine and a previous liver function test showed that my bloods were all over the place & I needed seeing to urgently. I was told not to move from the chair I was sat in, even though I just wanted to move because I was in a lot of pain, while she called for an ambulance of which I had 2 wait for nearly 2 hours (I could have walked quicker.) Nothing was explained to me & I was getting really worried. I had been fine up until the few days before. This was the tuesday and I was in hospital up until thursday (when I delivered) because I had severe pre-eclampsia & HELLP syndrome, I was in high dependency unit (HDU) from the thursday till the saturday because I was close to dying, I was on drips for almost everything & ended up having 2 have 2ltrs of blood because I had lost a lot of blood after delivery. I stayed in hospital for a further week & 1/2. It took my bloods atleast 5 days to get back to normal & my swelling to even begin to go down. I am one of the lucky ones because my daughter weighed 5'11 at exactly 35 weeks when she was delivered, I had a normal birth, she only had jaundice & is now a healthy 21 month old. I am lucky to be alive & me & my partner have decided to have another, I am 32 weeks pregnat with my 2nd now & have flown through this pregnancy, I have begun to get headaches & the pain but it's not always pre-eclampsia & HELLP although I am going to get checked out asap.

      Does this often occur again?

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      Fatima 8 years ago

      Hi I am 31 yrs old.My 1st son is 5yrs old and my daughter is 1 and a half years old and i am pregnant with my third boy. I am due in the mid of Jan 2010.I have had Preeclamsia and hellp syndrome with my 1st boy. That was really the worst pain i ever experienced. I had a smooth second pregnancy. I am now about 32 weeks and last week we have noticed protein in my urine.My blood pressure is fine till today.Any further tips or precautionary advice???

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      medic 8 years ago

      Unfortuneately I am reading about this too late. My daughter delivered a still bornat 32 weeks that should have been diagnosed due to her numerous visits to ER with excruciating upper right abd pain and vomiting and elevated BP but did not happen. Outcomes of these stories are not always positive but am happy for the ladies who ended up diagnosed and have healthy babies. Alycia is correct is that not all stories have a happy ending and all of you pregnant girls need to be researching as much as possible when you know something may not be right. Mom's have a sense that something is wrong, it is getting someone to believe them that may be the challenge. Be persistent if you think things are not quite right

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      Alycia 8 years ago


      i know where you are coming from, I was diagnosed with hellp syndrome at about 24 1/2 weeks, and my son Warren fought for his life for 18 days, and i still feel this tremendous weight of him dying and me surviving. it is the worst feeling in the world having to bury a child...and then keep wondering what you did wrong.

      i went to the hospital with severe pain in my upper abdomen, after a lot of convincing from my husband.they sent me to another hospital because my blood tests were not good. when i got to that hospital the pain started to subside, but they sent me to a bigger hospital where they had a nicu just in case they had to deliver, and i did, 3 days later when the pain returned. this time, it was a lot worse and i felt like i was dying. they gave me morphine, which did nothing, the pain only got worse. what floored me was how unintelligent some residents can be, as one offered me estra strength tylenol, which, as i expected since the morphine didn't work, did nothing. when my blood tests came back, they told me the only way for either of us to have a chance of surviving was a section, and warren was born at 1 lb 2 oz. he fought real hard and when he started to go downhill fast (he developed hydrocephalus, lung disease, etc) we decided to stop treatment, which was the hardest thing i will ever have to do. even if we hadn't of let him go, he likely wouldn't have made it out of there and he would have just kept suffering. if he did make it out, he wouldn't have any sort of a life: constant surgeries, a lot of medication, and no contact with other children or people, if he wasn't a 'vegetable'. so that was why we said stop, we didn't want to be selfish and watch him suffer for the rest of his life because we couldn't say stop.

      i'm not trying to scare people with this story, but let you know that not all pregnancies have a happy ending, but other children that are born this early can just sore through the nicu with just a couple little infections and then grow up to be completely healthy.

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      AroundtownSue 8 years ago from Mountain View


      Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. The more we can make others aware, the better.

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      Amanda 8 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your story.

      I also developed HELLP with my first pregnancy. I was actually in labor 4 days after my due date. We went to the hospital and my labor slowed. They decided to run a blood test because my temp was slightly elevated - 99.something. I was told I could walk around outside for a while, and to be back in bed by 11 am. My husband stayed in the room and my mom and sisters walked outside with me. I was feeling fine. No pain, headaches, dizziness, etc. Nothing. My BP was normal at 110/65 At 10:30 my husband called my cell phone and said they wanted me back in bed immediately.

      When I got back to the room they told me that my platelets were 41,000 and I could easily bleed out with any minor cut. They asked me about all the other symptoms and I had none of them. I had wanted a natural drug-free birth, but they told me the baby had to get out. So, they started pitocin. I was told if I went for a c-section, it would be to save the baby, because I would not make it through the surgery. I was also not allowed to have an epidural, because they needed to know if I was experiencing any abnormal pains. It's a good think I planned for a natural birth.

      My daughter was born after I had been on the pitocin for over 12 hours. I was so out of it at the time, but my husband says he remembers blood splashing to the ground. I held my daughter and tried to nurse, but shortly after that I passed out. I can remember hearing people telling me to talk to them, but I couldn't open my eyes and I couldn't talk. I'm not sure how long that lasted. I obviously woke up though.

      I passed out the first few times I tried to get up. I ended up having two transfusions, because my RBCs and platelets did not go up like they expected them to. I was released about 4 days after the birth, but only if I promised not to carry my daughter at all. I had to have someone with me 24/7 for about 6 weeks. I don't think I carried my daughter until she was 5-6 weeks old.

      I bruised so badly where the blood pressure cough was. My whole upper arm was black. I tested positive for ANA, but further tests came back negative.

      I have a strong fear of getting pregnant again, but I will ultimately trust in God's infinite wisdom.

      I had an unusual presentation of HELLP, but it is so good to read other women's journeys.

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      AroundtownSue 8 years ago from Mountain View

      Dear Jenn and AnneryPino,

      I'm glad you are both still here! Thanks for sharing your stories. Jenn - I too was in great health, 30 years old and had always had low BP - it definitely snuck up on my doc. Hopefully one day there will some proven preventative medicine for this condition.

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      AnneryPino33141 8 years ago


      Thanks so much for telling your story, I had preeclampsia with both my pregnancies, I was never told about HELLP though but they did perform emergency c section both times and both my boys spent time in the NICU my first one was born under 4 lbs and my second was born at a health weight but almost stillborn, I decided not to have any kids after these two scares, just the thought of not being around for my boys is just to scary for me. Thanks so much for posting your story, its good to see someone posting useful information about something so important. Thanks again and all the best to you and your beautiful family.

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      Jenn 8 years ago

      Dear Aroundtown Sue,

      Thank you for sharing your personal story about Preeclampsia with H.E.L.L.P. Syndrome. I too experienced this acute condition at 36 weeks with my second baby. My understanding of this condition is that it is pre-conditioned to occur in either young women (ages 20-25). It usually presents in women who are carrying their first child, and those who have poor nutrition. I was the exception to these rules however - 34 years old, second child, and no preexisting medical conditions. My previous BP was always 117 over 70.

      I ended up traveling to the hospital from work one evening, and delivered my child 3 hours later via emergency c-section. I was on Magnesium for 3 days, and left the hospital 6 days later. This was an extremely critical and scary ordeal for all of us, especially my husband.

      For those of you who have information regarding H.E.L.L.P. syndrome and the risks associated with it occuring in future pregnancies, please let me know.

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      AroundtownSue 8 years ago from Mountain View


      I'm so sorry to hear your son is in NICU still. It's astonishing, but not completely unbelievable, that you had PE and HELLP again in your second pregnancy. I hope your son has a full recovery and you can all lead a happy life after this.

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      Deirdre 8 years ago

      I am so glad I found this website. A lot of the stories I've read are similar to mine. My son was born at 26 weeks in January and I was diagnosed with pregnancy induced hypertension preeclampsia with HELLP syndrome, although not initially.

      I started having a horrible pain in my upper adbdomen late Sunday night on January 11th. I called my doctor's after hours service early Monday morning, like 3 am and was told by an on call doctor who was not my OB to get some Zantac or Prilosec because I was experiencing heartburn. I did just that and the medicine did not work, but the pain went away throughout the course of the day. Before the pain subsided, I called the office and spoke to my OB who told me an abdominal muscle was stretching because of my pregnancy and nothing could be done except deal with it. That night (Monday) I went to bed only to jump up after an hour with the same pain, only worse. I couldn't breathe and it hurt to move. I went to the sofa so I would not wake my fiancé, but hours later I couldn't take it. I woke my fiance' up and told him we were going to the ER. He told me I should call my OB to let him know were going to the hospital. Another on call doctor returned my phone call and advised me NOT to go to the hospital because my symptoms sounded like I was having a gallbladder attack. She suggested I take more Prilosec and she would let my OB know that I'd called AGAIN and he would call me back with the number to a gastroenterologist. Well guess what....I did not get better and my OB did not call. I showed up at the office with my fiancé expecting not to be seen by my OB, but simply just to get the number to the gastroenterologist. The receptionist had the gall to tell me I should have called first because my OB was in surgery at the hospital and the one doctor in the office was about to leave. I told her seeing a doctor was not my intention. A nurse overheard the exchange and asked me what I had been experiencing. She sent me to the restroom to give a urine sample and told me she would have the OB in the office see me. I gave the sample and had my BP taken then was sent into an exam room. The OB came back and told me I had protein in my urine, my BP was through the roof and I was to go straight to the ER-don't go home to pack any bags, just go to the ER. My OB had been notified that I was on my way and worse case screnario, I'd deliver my baby that day.

      We get checked in and put into a room and in comes my OB looking as though he'd seen a ghost. He commended me for being persistent because things were worse than anyone thought; not only did I have PIH preeclampsia, but I also had HELLP syndrome. Everything from that point forward is kind of a blur because things progressed pretty quickly from there. I was told my son was fine, but I was definitley not. Luckily, I did not have to be unconscious through the whole c section and my fiancé was allowed in the room. I remember being asked if I wanted Valium after my son was born and whisked away and I said yes. I didn't want to deal with the thoughts of my son dying. I woke up from medicine induced sleep to learn that my son was fine at 1 lbs, 14 ozs. My OB came to see me again and told me how fortunate I was to be alive and that it was great that I just showed up at his office. He said no one, including him really worried too much about my phone calls because preeclampsia is not known to develop in pregnancy as early as it did in mine and HELLP syndrome at that point in gestation was unheard of. All of my nurses made sure I knew just how deathly ill I was although I felt fine aside from my c section incision. I was short of breath and my face had blown up like a blowfish after delivery, but I felt ok.

      My son is still in the hospital. He's healthy, but is suffering from reflux and is slowly learning to feed from a bottle. He was on a ventilator for what seems like forever, then he was on a CPAP machine before finally being put on a high flow nasal cannula. He's breathing on his own now and we have been blessed to survive this terrible situation. I'm still on Procardia for my high BP and I've been told that I will get preeclampsia again if I decide to have more children. Hopefully if it does happen, it will be much later in my pregnancy because I fully intend to have at least one more child. My OB now knows that I need to be closely monitored and that my complaints need to be taken very seriously.

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      Jennifer 8 years ago

      I am happy to have stumbled across this thread. My daughter is now 3 months old and I had HELLP syndrome. This is my first child and my husband is really against me having a second one due to the syndrome. I had an excellent pregnancy...I pretty much felt like I wasn't even pregnant the entire time. At 37 weeks, I had a horrible pain right under my chest. I practically couldn't stand straight without feeling the constant pressure. I just figured that I was near the end and this feeling was normal. One night I decided I would call my dr. the next day if I was still feeling it. Well, at 5 AM the next day I was bleeding similar to having my period. Of course, I was petrified. We rushed to the hospital...long story short...I had HELLP. They rushed to do an emergency c section. My dr. did tell me that I almost died. I am so thankful that everything worked out. I would love to have more kids, but of course, it's a tough decision. As I said, my husband is against it and he always wanted a few children. I told him that we have to learn more about it before making a final decision. It makes me happy to hear that people have gone on to have a second. What was it like? It breaks my heart to think that I might not have more children. Thanks for reading.

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      sucyq 8 years ago

      I developed HELLP with both of my pregnancies. I gave birth to my first son at 25 weeks. I went misdiagnosed for five days. It took me to get to the point of being close to dying before my OB referred me to my perinatologist. After contemplating and accepting what we thought was an acceptable risk, we had a second baby. My second son was born at 28 weeks. This time I was very in tune to my body. When the same symptoms hit me (severe heartburn, nausea, and back pain), I knew exactly what it was. I called my doctor within the hour and was at the hospital. However, I really thought he was going to put me on bed rest. Instead, my son was delivered three hours later. My son is still in the NICU after 13 weeks with no end clearly in sight. Now I'm living with the immense guilt of watching my son fighting for his life to save mine-- again.

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      AroundtownSue 8 years ago from Mountain View

      Nicole, Thanks for sharing your story! I went on to have a perfect 2nd pregnancy. All I can say is that at least they know now to monitor you, should you decide to become pregnant again. Best of luck. Sue

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      Nicole 8 years ago

      Hi Everybody - First pregnancy and I too was diagnosed with Hellp Syndrome. I started noticing symptoms of Pre-eclampsia around the 25th week (rashes on my hands and face, four pound weight gain in one week, severe severe swelling of feet, hands and face, headaches and dizziness everyday!!) I TOLD MY doctor who simply dismissed it as typcial pregnancy symptoms. At 30 weeks I flew to my hometown for my baby shower feeling miserable and not being able to walk since my feet were so swollen. Two days after my shower I woke up to massive abdmonial pains and dizziness. I called my obygyn and the nurse practioner told me to go to the ER. She saved my life. Within one hour of arriving to the ER my beautiful daughter was born via emergency c-section. I had never heard of HELLP syndrome - but post partum suffered from major bruising from the low platelets and high pb - highest was 185/121! I can only thank god that I delivered in my hometown with my family around and one of the most reputable NICU's in the country. My daughter was born weighing 2.6 lbs. She was breathing unassisted by the second day. The doctor's have given her a clean bill of health with all systems. I am very lucky I found the right people at the right time. As you can all imagine - I AM VERY AFRAID EVEN THINKING ABOUT A SECOND PREGNANCY. Thanks for letting me share my story.

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      jenn 8 years ago

      I had a wonderful heathly delevery with my first daughter my second pregancy with my son I had severice preclampsia with hellp. I had no sighns of preclampsia till i had severe stomach pain and back pain the dr. told me it was just mucle pain and sent me home. i went back 4 days later and they finally drew my blood and rused me 2 hours away to a different hospital, my blood plates were at 50,000 they went up when i was on bed rest to 140,00 that night before they were about to realse me my blood playtes dropped from 140,00 down to 40,000 right before they had me go into a emergeancy c section they dropped down to 20,000. i am just thankful i am here and my son is doing good i had him at 30 weeks he was 3 lbs 1.5 ozs. with everyone and there preemiee babies are they having anymore problems? my son has extra fulid and has mild Cerbal Palasy just wondering if anyone else babies are going threw it also. and do you know since i had preeclampsia and hellp in my secound will it happen in my thrid?

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      yvonne G30 9 years ago

      Im glad to know that I am not alone. I had preeclampsia and HELLP with my 3rd child. It was scary. I had heard about Toximia but never had I heard about PREE/HELLP. My pregnancy went fine I had never had any complacations or at least any that I thought were so bad..I did have heartburn and headaches and some swelling but nothing out of the ordinary. I went in to deliver I felt ok..until they told me my BP was high..then I started to worry. The doc. said I might be having a C-section, however,lucky me I did not have daughter was fine weighing 6lbs.12 oz...I was kinda druged up with this med. they call MAg. so everything is kinda foggy but I do remember the nurses scared themselves saying that my baby or I could have die. and it was very baby got to go home but I had to stay for a seems like ever since then my BP seems to creep up alil once in a while...Ive seen doc. and they say its nothing to worry about..Me and my husband talk about having another child but we r both scared..I love kids and we always said we were going to have a big family..but then I think we r already bleesed with the 3 girls we have..its something that Ive been thinking about a lot thats why I wanted to research..any Advice...

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      Emma Wallis 9 years ago

      I had hellp and preeclampsia with my first child.

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      AroundtownSue 9 years ago from Mountain View

      Bailey, Thank you so much for sharing your story. It does seem amazing to me that so many women can suffer from this and neither they (we) or the doctors seem to know very much about it. I'm so relieved to hear that you and your baby survived. While my situation was dire, my son was at least in his 36th week. They just kept saying, he'll be fine - we're worried about you. And at that point, I was so sick, I didn't even care - just wanted him to be okay.

      Dear Lucky to be Alive, I am so sorry for your loss. My one hope is that more women and doctors become aware and educated about these things so they can see the signs early and get the best care possible. I did go on to have a second child, and had zero problems. For what that's worth.

      Hi Tracy,

      Sorry it's taken me so long to respond. For me, they said that as soon as the baby was born, my BP and platelet count should start to get back to normal. It took me about 3 days to get my platelets back up and my BP went back to normal almost immediatley.It is suprising and disheatening to hear you were on meds for 9 months! Just shows how each case is different and how many unknowns are left with this condition. I wish you the best of luck with your decision to have another one. No one would fault you for hesitating or saying NO way. We actually had an oops, and I was a bit scared, but ended up not having anything more than heartburn. It was amazing - I only gained 25 lbs, as compared to my 55 with Pre-Ec/Hellp. It was fun having a normal pregnancy. Good luck.

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      Tracy 9 years ago

      I was 28 weeks when I developed pre-eclampsia and admitted to hospital. Within 2 days the pre-eclampsia developed into HELLP syndrome and I was knocking at deaths door. They started me on a drip to prevent brain hemorrhaging and fits. My BP was thru the roof and they couldn't get much blood from me to see if I would clot or not. After 11 times of poking me they got 2ml of blood. The last thing I said to my husband when they took me to theater was look after our daughter as I did not think I would come out alive. I was knocked out for the ceasar and only woken the next day to see my daughter that was born at 28 weeks weighing only 1kg. Nothing prepares you for when you see your beautiful baby all proded with tubes coming out of both nostrals, in her tummy and in her leg. I held my daughter for the first time 11 days after she was born and finally off the ventilator. She was in NICU for 2 months and came home a month and two weeks before her due date. We had a rollercoaster of events with a premmie baby but I look at her now at 18 months weighing 9kg's and can't believe the road we walked. I did have complications after having her and was on BP tablets for 9 months before it rectified itself. I am now considering if I should have another baby but also worried that this will happen again? Any suggestions?

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      lucky to be alive 9 years ago

      I am  just out of the hospital after loosing my baby boy at 24 weeks because of Hellp syndrome. Initially i had thought i was going through bad digestion since i had diarrhoea and vomitting with severe epigstric pain. When i had severe chest pain and not able to breath at night i called OB on call, she said it is heart burn and told me to take milanta and tums. It just helped me that night. Next night i ended up sitting whole night because lying down made me breathless. We went to urgent care in the morning, they checked my BP and protein in the urine , both were high. They thought i was having some gall bladder issues and did a sonogram of the entire abdomen. Everything was alright. I was sent home with Pepsin , another acid reflux medication. Same night i had another attack of epigastric pain which almost resembled heart attack pain. I did take pepsin and it helped me. By morning my pain was almost gone and i was relieved. I sudenly got a call from  doctor saying i need to get admitted to hospital immediately as i was spiilling 5 gms of protein in my urine (Which is 15 times more than than than normal). They said i might have to delive the baby and sent me to a hospital which had a well equipped neonatal care unit. Unfortunately my baby boy was 3 weeks behind in growth. and doctors said he won't survive even if they tried. They ended up terminating my pregnancy at 24 weeks. It was very disappointing and terrible to go through this. Today i am happy to be alive to take care of my 5 year old boy. I pray to god to give everyone strength to go through this mystery disorder during pregnancy.  Now we are afraid to even think about another pregnancy. I really don't want to go through this again. 

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      Bailey Michele 9 years ago from KANSAS

      Ten years ago, I was 25 when I became pregnant with my first child. I had to take fertility drugs to get pregnant after having been on depoprovera for two years. When I finally became pregnant we were thrilled. But by about 4 weeks into my pregnancy, I had morning sickness something awful..because it lasted all day! I literally lost about 15 pounds my first trimester. I thought I had a great doctor. We lived in a very rural community and the fact that my Dr did sonograms at every appt was great.

      Everything seemed to be going better. I had begun to gain weight into my 2nd trimester, though he advised that I watch my salt intake, as I was gaining a little fast and showing a little swelling. On a Monday, at my 27 week appt, my BP was slightly elevated. On that Friday evening, I started not feeling very good.

      I felt like I just couldn't breath. My chest felt really tight and I was just ansy and uncomfortable. I just sort of paced around for a while waiting for my husband to get home from work. When he got there, the feeling was getting more alarming to me, so we drove to the hospital. Once we had arrived there, the tightness was beginning to become painful in my lower chest. My bloodpressure was pretty high, so the doctor on call (not by doctor) was paiged to come in. (I remind you that this was in a rural community, there was only one doctor on call for the entire hospital, and he had to be called in). So after waiting about half an hour for him to arrive, my pain is worse, the tightness is worse, my bloodpressure is higher. He believes I'm having a gallbladder attack. Advises the nurse to give me tagament and to make an appt on Monday to have a sonogram of my gallbladder. He then goes home!! So the nurse gives me the medicine, which I immediately proceed to throw up. The pain is getting pretty bad by now and I'm just pacing and agitated. So the doctor is called and he has the nurse admit me. (No, he doesn't return to the hospital until the next morning, just in case you were wondering) I am given an IV, and treated with demoral throughout the night to control the pain and medicine for my blood pressure which just kept increasing despite the medicine. By morning, my kidneys had begun to shut down, as I was peeing blood. The sonogram they sent me for was negative for gallbladder issues. They drew blood following that, which came back positive for protein in my urine, and a blood platelet count of about 77,000. At this point (nearly noon and the first time I have seen the doctor since the previous night) he comes into the room and tells me that he has no idea what is wrong, but another doctor he talked with says I need to be immediately taken to the major hospital which is about 4 hours drive away. He tells me the baby was not going to live and they weren't sure if I would make it either. Oh, and did we want to go by ambulance, or have Eaglemed send the helicopter?? Truly, are you really asking me this question???? I chose the helicopter. By that evening, I was being taken into surgery, where I was put to sleep, given platelets, my level had dropped to about 40,000. and my daughter was delivered at 8:10 pm weighing a whopping 1 pound 8 ounces. She was delivered at 27 1/2 weeks. Today, she is 10 years old!

      It is scary to have such a life threatening illness out there that doctors are completely unaware of. Looking back now, after having information about HELLP syndrome (I've spent hours reading about it on internet websites) I had a lot of symptoms of this that could have possibly allowed me to prolong my delivery had it been caught. I never chose to have any more children. The earlier HELLP onsets in the pregnancy, the greater the risk of subsequent pregnancies. I was greatful to have survived and to have a child that survived. I spent 2 months in an NICU watching her grow. I brought her home weighing 4 lbs 12 oz. about 2 weeks before my actual due date. She has been healthy ever since.

      I believe in miracles because I was given one, but figured once in my lifetime was enough to ask for.

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      AroundtownSue 9 years ago from Mountain View

      It is amazing how common it is and how few people know about it. I too had and continue to have a very low BP, so my doctors were not alarmed that it was pretty high for me (not alarmingly high enough i guess) during my pregnancy. Glad you are OK.

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      tjmum 9 years ago from Isle of Wight

      I too went undiagnosed, until I was 41 weeks! Basically I have low blood pressure anyway, so although I had a lot of fluid retention and my BP was creeping up the midwife din't really take much notice. I also suffered headaches but then I wasn't really sleeping because I felt so bad. It was only when I started showing protein in my urine that they began to get worried. I was then taken to hospital and told I would be induced. The worst thing was that I was hoping for a home birth and I had complications with having my waters broken.

      It is all to easy for Dr's and Midwives to blame health problems on just being pregnant, but this could have been very serious to me and my baby. It was not even really seriously considered until I was overdue and my health really beginning to suffer (I had so much fluid all over I couldn't be touched without it hurting). Just because your blood pressure is not sky high does not mean there isn't something seriously wrong. If you have to make a fuss, make a fuss! Luckily I came through and have a wonderful son (who has his own problems). I will also say that although it is more common in first time pregnancies, this was my second pregnancy (and I was never allowed to put my feet up with a toddler at home as well!). Great hub and a problem that really needs to highlighted.

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      AroundtownSue 9 years ago from Mountain View

      Wow, Abby, your story is unbelievable. Thanks so much for sharing it. I had never heard of HELLP, and had only heard of 'toxemia' (preeclampsia) peripherally. Thank God for great doctors and that you and your daughter survived and are healthy now.

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      Abby 9 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your story. I was literally on my death bed with hellp syndrome. I was 19, 26 wks pregnant, and I had gained a whopping 120 pounds and I was only 130 to begin with. Me and my daughter almost died. Some doctor had a lot of energy and determination that day the nurses told me he would not give up on her he kept working even after someone told him "it's not gonna happen" now she is the cutest most energetic 3 yr old you've ever seen... I continued to get worse after labor. I went into a coma, my mom had our pastor come in and pray over me. They didn't know that I would make it, but luckily I pulled through. I feel like God made miracles happen that day. It's important that women realize this is out there. It's rare but it does happen and when you realize the symptoms you can catch it in time.

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      Mindy 9 years ago

      Pregnancy is different for every woman, but if diagnosed with preeclampsia it can be miserable, even fatal. Experiencing symptoms like high blood pressure, swelling (particularly in the hands and feet), sudden weight gain, headaches, sudden onset of nausea or vomiting after the first trimester, changes in vision, or stomach and/or right shoulder pain, could mean preeclampsia. But it’s often diagnosed too late, with the only “cure” being delivery. Women are often put on bed-rest for the remainder of their pregnancy and may deliver prematurely. However, there is a new test that can prevent complications from preeclampsia and help your pregnancy to full term: the MIST test. This is a non-invasive test given between the 16 and 20 weeks of pregnancy and can determine whether or not you will develop preeclampsia and will then be able to take proper precautions. Give yourself peace of mind and ask your doctor today for the MIST test. Visit for more information.

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      AroundtownSue 9 years ago from Mountain View

      Alicia, Thanks for sharing your story as well. It was scary and in my small way (hubpages) I'm hoping to spread the word to other pregnant women, or women trying for a baby.

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      Alicia Bourdon 9 years ago

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I had the same thing happening to me with my second baby. I felt the same as you did and i wish the doctors had more information ahead of time. I delivered the baby at 34 weeks and i stayed in the hospital for 6 days I would love to have a 3rd baby but i will need to go for consultation before taking a decision. I always ask to myself, what if it happens again? could I die? I have two beautiful girls and i want to be there for them. I wish they could prevent this Syndrome.


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      AroundtownSue 9 years ago from Mountain View

      Wow - post delivery. That's scary. This whole thing is much more common than I ever thought. Glad you're okay!

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      Dianne 9 years ago

      I had preeclampsia with my first and HELLP post delivery with my second. After a month of bedrest and hospital trips (due to high bps), I thought I was home free. Little did I know what awaited me! The swollen liver is not a fun feeling! Just be careful - I have been told to stop having children.

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      AroundtownSue 10 years ago from Mountain View

      Hi Monique! Not to worry you, but please keep in mind that you can still suffer from preecclampsia during subsequent pregnancies. I think the percentage is 25%. So, if you're thinking of having more :)... remind your OB about your first pregnancy.

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      Monique 10 years ago

      thanks for posting, Sue! This happened to me too. :) I thought I was having heart burn for a week, when in reality my liver was about to burst! I delivered at 36 weeks to a healthy boy.