Pre-eclampsia in first pregnancy

I totally agree with all that information about pre-eclampsia possibility should be shared with mother to be during the antinatal appointments especially when you are in the third trimester, have some symptoms and you ask few times about that whatever way it is.

I had a very traumatic experience as I have lost my beautiful daughter in 38 week. Having some symptoms during 36 week appointment: proteins in urine, swelling, baby moves changed a bit and growth was tailing off and I was told by a doctor that all is fine and can wait for birth. What assessment is that??? I am strongly convinced that in this moment I should get some information about pre-eclampsia and symptoms which I should be aware of even if my BP was still fine (it rocketed in 38 week). On other ocassion like low lying placenta or bleeding during pregnancy I got a leaflet and had a discussion about that. Why I wasn`t presented with a leaflet or any information about pre-eclampsia if it is such a deadly condition???

I strongly believe that information about pre-eclampsia should be given every mother entering 3rd trimester. The antinatal appointments are those moments when a patient should learn about that.

Patients are not able to ask directly about that if this condition is unknown to them. In the moments they asking for example:"Why you asking me if I am swallen" or "What about proteins in my urine" they should get information about this dangerous condition and not be said: "All is fine" or "I would start to worry if you came in your husband shoes". If you want to joke to make relaxed environment do it but don`t forget about giving such an important information about pre-eclampsia.

Mothers to be are not trained in the pregnancy field that's why they are asked to attend their antinatal appointments to be led through pregnancy.


If I was harsh I apologise but I know that something have to change as a lot of deaths and pain could be avoided.

6 Replies

  • I totally agree! I had every symptom in the book and had no clue that something was wrong. So many weird things go on with your body during pregnancy that it's easy to overlook even serious symptoms. Even while exhibiting extreme symptoms, my doc sent me home without even mentioning pre-e @ 28 weeks. Luckily right before I left, I tried and was able to leave the smallest urine sample so they realized how sick I was & called me at home to go straight to labor & delivery. I got very lucky. Even books like 'what to expect...' Don't mention it until way later in pregnancy. I also wish the docs mentioned it earlier.

  • I'm so sorry for your loss and no your comment was not harsh in my opinion.

    I also was not told that I had pre-eclampsia even when I was on bed rest in hospital and it was a huge shock to me when I was told I had to have a c-section instead if giving birth naturally because I had PE

    A few weeks later I looked up my condition on google and felt upset at how close I was to dying or losing my baby and I guess that's why my doctor didn't want to tell me or give me information about it as he probably didn't want to frighten me.

  • Dear Marmag, I'm so very sorry to hear of your experience and the loss of your beautiful daughter. Please accept the sincere condolences of everyone here at APEC, some of whom have had the experience of losing their baby due to pre eclampsia. If you feel the need to talk or want some support please do contact or phone our helpline on 0208 427 4217.

    It is an ongoing conundrum, the level of information to give to women. Someone contacted us the other day to say that she was shocked by our website and felt that we should not be telling women that pre eclampsia can be fatal. It is a balance.

    We do produce leaflets for women to be given to them in the ante natal clinic, it is entitled 'why blood pressure and urine are checked in pregnancy' and explains all about pre eclampsia, what to look out for etc. In days gone by hospitals used to purchase these leaflets (we 'sell' them at less than cost price but don't have the budget to provide them free of charge) however budget cuts have hit and very few hospitals now purchase them or provide them to women. I am always looking for funding to enable us to provide these free of charge but we are not there yet.

    It is, as I say, an ongoing issue here but I am hopeful that one day every pregnant woman will receive a leaflet specifically about pre eclampsia. We do also run study days for midwives - as part of that day a woman who has been affected by pre eclampsia gives a presentation on her experience. It is always the most effective session, and gives midwives the opportunity to reflect on their own practise - it is hoped that this reflection and awareness is then taken back to the work place and midwives are more aware of the issues. I agree that sometimes women are 'fobbed off' with platitudes.

    Thanks all of you for your replies to Marmag.

    What do you think about the level of information to give to women?

    Very best wishes, Ann Marie

  • Hi Ann.

    During my 33 week routine antenatal appointment this year i discovered I had preeclampsia and was quickly refered to the delivery suite.

    2 days later after trying to reduce my blood pressure, increase my sodium levels after it dropped my baby was delivered by emergency C-section.

    It was a surprise to me and like most women who are posting on this website they would not have known much about PE until they were told.

    I don't believe there's enough information out there and women should know of the risks involved.

    I had swollen ankles from 28 weeks- I rang my antenatal department and was told that it was normal to have swollen ankles.

    At 30 weeks I was struggling to walk and went to see my GP- he checked my ankles and never took my blood pressure and told me to ask my midwife on how the swelling could be relieved- in his own words, "they might have some old wives tales".

    I found during my pregnancy, doctors and pharmacists were reluctant to give/prescribe to pregnant women anything else apart from paracetamol. The reason being is not enough research has gone into pregnancy and how to deal with symptoms or illnesses during pregnancy.

    I found GPs devolved their responsibilities to midwives.

    I believe that the delivery of my baby could have been delayed if both the antenatal dept and my GP took my blood pressure as preeclampsia would have been detected early and monitored closely.

    There should be leaflets on preeclampsia at GP

    Surgeries as well as at pharmacies so if a pregnant woman goes in even complaining about a cold/headache or worse swollen ankles- their blood pressure should be taken as a precaution.

    I therefore do think you should continue to do your good work and don't sugar coat the effect of preeclampsia. It can lead to death- fortunately both my daughter and I survived but reading through some of the other threads it's not always the case.

  • Hello Marmag

    I am also very sorry that you lost your beautiful daughter at 38 weeks. I was one of the lucky ones, almost 25 years ago, when my daughter was born at 31 weeks following an eclampic fit. Despite having protein in my urine at an anti-natal appointment 6 days previously and phoning a doctor twice in 24 hours the night before and on the morning of my fit, pre-eclampsia was not mentioned and I was unaware of how ill I was. Luckily my daughter survived. I joined Action on Pre-eclampsia (APEC) at its onset all those years ago and still pay a yearly subscription to support their fantastic work. I know quite a lot about pre-eclamsia now due to APEC's publications. I would suggest you take on board Ann Marie's advice and get in touch with them. Best wishes for the future. Imelda.

  • Thank you all of you for replies and your support.

    Ann Marie, I think that women should get some information about this condition, especially in a moment when some sympthoms are visible, not just sent home.

    If those women who didn`t loose their babies complain that this is to scary to read about pre-eclampsia they would change their attitude if it happened to them and if they knew that it was something what could have been done to save their baby.

    The invastigation on my case was escalated recently as they found that something went wrong in my care.

    I am still to contact you Ann Marie but sometimes you need some courage if everything doesn`t make sense anymore.

    I am interested in this study days for midwifes.

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