Preeclampsia and Eclampsia - The Inside Scoop

I had several complications with my first pregnancy. I remember being at the county fair and passing out when I was five months pregnant. Talk about a scary time. I was threatening preterm labor and I was diagnosed with Preeclampsia (which led to Eclampsia, but we will get into that later). Looking back on things now I still count my blessings. I knew absolutely nothing about what being pregnant meant or how to really take care of myself.

I mean I would eat some of the most unhealthy stuff. All I was craving was hot and spicy foods. Eating hot wings and A1 steak sauce for the majority of your pregnancy is NOT healthy. I don't care what you say. But I did simply because it was what I was craving. I didn't have the knowledge to know that what I ate and how much of what I ate would affect both me and my baby. On December 24th 2003 I was 37 weeks pregnant and on bed rest. I woke up and saw that I had lost my mucous plug, I was also having contractions. They were about 10 to 15 minutes apart. I went to the hospital and they decided they would keep me. Seven hours later there was my little peanut. My blood pressure was some what elevated but not bad enough for them to keep me. One week later on New Year's Eve, I was dealing with a headache that had been going on for two days. No matter what I did it would not go away.

My mother stopped by to bring some food since I hadn't eaten all day. A new mom may miss a meal very easily. I ate and the headache intensified. I was literally in tears. I tried to call my daughter's father who was at work at the time but his shift was so busy that he could not talk so I left a message and that's when it happened. I saw this spinning dot or what looked to be a spinning dot. I was holding my daughter and I remember trying to sit her down and my body started to convulse. In that moment I was so scared and out I went. When I came to I was so weak and confused I had no idea where I was. I looked up and some how before I went into the seizure I was able to prop her up in the corner of the couch.

There this tiny innocent baby was looking at me along with our dog. I knew I needed to get help but I had no strength to do so. I opened the door and crawled to my neighbors house who called the ambulance for me. She tried to go check on my daughter but my dog would not let her get near my baby. I appreciate her for being so protective but this wasn't the time for that. I was able to get my dog to calm down and it seemed that all at once, my daughter's father and the ambulance arrived. I made it to the hospital and I remember them taking my blood pressure and hearing them say "stroke level". Apparently my blood pressure was insanely high.

My mother and cousin had made it to the hospital as well. They were able to help take my mind off of what was going on and then suddenly there was that dot Again. Off I went into another seizure. When I came to that time I was in a dark room and my tongue was killing me! I had bit down on it so hard as a result of my seizure. I remember my mom telling me that she was terrified because blood was shooting out of my mouth. I stayed in the hospital and was on a strict no salt diet. That's when I decided to make a huge change in my diet and how I treated myself when it came to my health. So what was going on?

The Preeclampsia led to Eclampsia. Preeclampsia is a complication that happens during pregnancy that causes high blood pressure and other issues. This can show up around your fifth month of pregnancy and you don't have to have a history of high blood pressure for this to happen. Things to look out for with preeclampsia include severe headaches, changes in your vision, abdominal pain under your ribs on the right side, and shortness of breath. Swelling in your hands and feet can be a sign as well. However this can also be a normal part of pregnancy so it's important to pay attention to your body and keep you provider informed with any changes that may be going on.

There is no concrete cause for preeclampsia. It's believed to be linked to the new blood vessels that develop during pregnancy and them not functioning properly. The risk factors for preeclampsia are, of course a history of preeclampsia, chronic hypertension, if this is your first pregnancy, and if you are African American. Obesity and age can play a risk as well. If you are diagnosed, complications such as preterm labor, organ damage such as your kidneys, heart, and even stroke can occur. Also Eclampsia can occur which happened in my case. Eclampsia is preeclampsia with seizures, in which I was given seizure medication to take for some time afterwards. Prevention of preeclampsia can be simple. Reduce your salt intake and change your current activities. It's so important to take care of yourself and your baby during pregnancy. Looking back at it I feel as though if I would have taken the warnings more seriously I could have reduced my complications. However I am grateful that my daughter was not affected, even though I went through what I went through she was safe. I was able to make it through that and I'm still here to raise her and her sisters. I'm also here to help others.

Until next time love yourself and your babies!

Tiffany Underwood

Certified Pregnancy Health Coach

hypertension in pregnancy. (2013)


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