Pre-eclamsia (APEC) + Miscarriage (MA) + Postnatal Illness (APNI) + Breast Feeding (ABM) + Active Birth (ABC)
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Are there any long-term effects for me?
No. Once the pregnancy ends, in a few days at most, the syndrome of pre-eclampsia will also come to an end. Pre-eclampsia may affect various organs in the body but virtually all these effects are reversible. The affected organs functions return to normal within days of delivery. In very rare cases, there could be neurological abnormalities that persist beyond this stage. If pre-eclampsia has led to brain haemorrhage (stroke), the damage may be lasting. This is very rare.
Is there any way of preventing pre-eclampsia from recurring?
There is no known effective way of doing this. You can only go on statistics, which indicate that your chances of having a recurrence are less than even for the majority of women.
Why wasn't I warned about pre-eclampsia before I got it?
It will almost certainly be because it could not be predicted in your case. There are many potential complications in pregnancy and pre-eclampsia is one of them. Since it affects only about 5 per cent of pregnant women, it means it is really of little or no interest to the remaining 95% or nineteen out of every twenty.
It is difficult to know who will be affected because the majority of women who get it will have no single identifiable risk factor.. It is therefore unreasonable to "warn" every single pregnant woman about pre-eclampsia. This will amount to scare-mongering. Those with the known risk factors - such as pre-existing hypertension; certain kidney diseases and SLE - will almost certainly be counseled about pre-eclampsia. Information about pre-eclampsia is also available in the form of leaflets in virtually all antenatal clinics.
Why don't doctors know more about pre-eclampsia?
Doctors know a great deal about pre-eclampsia, but probably not the crucial facts as far as the patient- is concerned. Over the years, there has been a great deal of research about this condition. Two main things remain elusive: what actually causes it and how to cure the condition during pregnancy.
Where can I get expert advice about my next pregnancy?
If you suffered from pre-eclampsia in your last pregnancy, your obstetrician in hospital will in most cases give you a postnatal appointment to discuss your future plans and what that may entail. This will normally be arranged for six to eight weeks after delivery. Part of the advice will be to ensure that you are booked in early in your next pregnancy, so as to get the baseline measurements of your blood- pressure and other things. That will also serve as an opportunity to go through the information that you have, to ensure that you are properly informed.
How can I persuade my doctor to offer me special care in my next pregnancy?
You don't need to. The reason why the postnatal session with your obstetrician is essential is to get all the necessary information about what the future holds. This will ensure that all those unfounded fears are banished.
Appropriate care, which will chiefly consist of early booking and proper and appropriate regular surveillance, are all that is needed. This will ensure that if and when you do get a recurrence, the necessary action can be taken promptly. Remember, it is still an "if". As for the "when", it is also worthwhile knowing that pre-eclampsia, for the majority, is a disease of the second half of pregnancy.