Experiences of pregnancy after pre-eclampsia

Hello. I had pre-eclampsia in my first pregnancy, and ended up having my daughter at 27 weeks. Thankfully she is absolutely fine, and is now nearly 2 and a half. We are talking about TTC again, and I've had an appointment to discuss this with the obstetrician. He said we should go ahead and he's confident that with careful monitoring I could get further next time, but I'm still very scared! I just wondered what experiences others have had in a second pregnancy.

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  • You don't say exactly why your daughter was born at 27 weeks? I had my son at 31 weeks due to a placental abrubtion due to pre-eclampsia. Like you we also went to see a specialist before trying for a second child and we were lucky to get to see Prof Redman at Oxford. He said that there is a much lower incidence of pre-eclampsia the second time around provided you have a second child within 5 years of the first and haven't changed partner. He monitored me very closely - looking at the blood vessels in the womb lining by ultrasound very early on as they believed that could tell you whether you were likely to develop pre-eclampsia. If you are anywhere near Oxford at all the Silver Star clinic is fantastic. We were lucky and we suffered no repeat of the pre-eclampsia (and nor did my mother with my brother when she had had a bad time of it with me) and had a healthy daughter at full term. Obviously it can happen the second time too but I think the stats bear out that it is less likely. My advice would just be to go for it and to make sure you are under a consultant who has a very good knowledge of pre-eclampsia and have regular check ups. If you can - also get your own blood pressure monitor for home and if you can some uristix (the ones you wee on to show protein) - don't get obsessed by these things but then if you start to feel odd - and I think generally the mother does know when things aren't right - then you can do a quick check at home before taking medical action. Good luck with everything. PS we had a 3 year gap because it was a long time before I could face it again!

  • Thanks for your reply. The reason my daughter was delivered at 27 weeks was that my organs were starting to shut down, and the scan that morning showed that my daughter wasn't doing so well either, so that was the point they decided that it would be safer for both of us if she was born then. They'd originally wanted to try to get me to 30 weeks, and I was getting daily scans, blood tests, BP checks and urine tests so that they could keep her in as long as possible but deliver her before it became dangerous for either of us. My husband was told after she was born that I had been one hour from organ failure.

    The consultant we spoke to the other week is really experienced in the field, which is good. He did some kind of blood test that should say whether I'm predisposed to pre-eclampsia, and if I am, I'd be put on some kind of extra medication but I haven't had the results of that yet. He said it shouldn't affect whether or not we start to try now, it just lets them know what meds I'd need. He also said I should start baby aspirin from the day I find out I'm pregnant.

    Unfortunately we are nowhere near Oxford - I had my daughter in the Royal in Edinburgh but we were lucky to get a cot space there - it was just a case of sending us anywhere in the country that had a place in NICU, because the hospital I was supposed to have her at don't taken babies at less than 32 weeks in their SCBU. We're an hour away from the 3 nearest hospitals, Edinburgh being one of them. Their neonatal unit is amazing so I'm glad we got in there.

    I'm really glad everything worked out well for you 2nd time round xxx

  • I lost my baby girl in May at 24 weeks due to severe pre-eclampsia.

    We are now trying again and have had the go ahead from the consultant. They have asked me to take 75mg of aspirin a day from the moment I have a positive pregnancy test and are going to monitor me through monthly growth scans.

    If I develop pre-eclampsia again they will try and get me to 28 weeks.

  • I'm so sorry you lost your baby girl :( That's a major fear of mine when trying again. Good luck next time round, keeping everything crossed for you xxx

  • Im so sorry about the loss of your baby girl. I had severe preeclampsia as well and I lost my baby in May at 26 weeks. He did however live for 17 days but it was very rough on my poor little baby. :(

  • Before my second pregnancy I went to hospital to chat to my consultant about going ahead with number 2. I was told it should be fine and 80 % chance it would not happen again. However I was unlucky and had it again, but this time and unusually worse. The good thing was I was monitored better and I recognised the subtle changes and symptoms very quickly when they happend. My first was born at 33 +1 and my second was 32 +6. Obviously my body did not ever want to progress beyond 33 weeks. However I am lucky and although my second weighed only 2lb 8oz, she is a fit and healthy 4 year old now. My advice is there is no knowing, just be mindful of symptoms and report immediately any changes. They will watch you much better this time around. Good luck

  • At 34 weeks I developed pre eclampsia which then became full blown eclampsia. Fortunately I was in hospital being monitored when I fitted and my daughter was delivered by emergency Caesarian. She is now 13. We struggled for a long time about whether to have another child. Eventually we went to see a specialist - Professor de Swiet in London. He was recommended to us by APEC for pre conception counselling. We discussed my history and he ran some tests. The conclusion was that he could see no underlying reasons for my eclampsia and felt that if I was monitored very carefully and took low dose aspirin, we should not hesitate in trying again. This took some time! Once I became pregnant, we carefully selected a hospital and consultant who had a good deal of experience with problem pregnancies. My local midwifery team were excellent - they remembered me from 7 years previously and were as keen as I was to keep very regular checks. I took low dose aspirin, tested my urine at home and had regular hospital scans and appointments. I was due to have a Caesarian at 39 weeks. In the week before delivery I developed protein in my urine and my blood pressure became raised. I was immediately admitted to hospital for monitoring, and fortunately everything stabilised. I returned home for the weekend, then returned on the Monday for my planned section. All went well and my son has just celebrated his 6 th birthday. I must say that I did not particularly enjoy my pregnancy, but I would not have had it any other way. I felt very well after my son was delivered and was surprised that I could feel like that. After my daughter was born, along with the trauma, were the visits to the Special Care Baby Unit, trying in vain to breast feed with no baby, trying to get my blood pressure stabilised, and generally feeling absolutely exhausted. I had none of that second time around.

    Obviously this is just my story. Everyone is different. I think it's so important to start with your eyes wide open, take lots of advice from professionals ( not perhaps from well meaning friends / family). Good luck.

  • I had eclampisa at 34 weeks and an emergency c-section. I was told after I was 2 hours away from organ failiure...it was all so scary and shocking. I dreamt last night that I was pregnant again, it was a very dark dream with a rope being attached to my whole womb, I was induced in a cubicle and left alone...needless to say I woke up with some serIous doubts/fears about conceiving again. I think the psycho-spiritual effects of eclampsia should be more attended to, counselling should be routiinely offered to women who have often had near death experiences and then had to become fully functioning mothers overnight, often when also still physically unwell with high BP, blurred vision, shock etc. This would help them prepare for future pregnancies with less fear or knowing how to handle any anxieties. Its a massive challenge and a testiment to the strength of women that surmount and get on with it. I admire the courage of anyone going for a second pregnancy after PE/E and think that positive thinking and careful monitoring and the empowered home checks will be the key. Wishing all those going for their second baby's good health and blessings x

  • I had pre-eclampsia at 38+4 and then developed sepsis so had to have emergency section. I don't understand why so little is done to prevent mothers having to go through similar situations to what I did or even worse, losing their child. I wasn't offered any counselling and looking back can see what a devastating effect it had on me both physically and mentally. I am now 6 weeks pregnant with my second child after having my daughter in 2007. At least this time I have more knowledge and will know what to ask for and which symptoms to be aware of. Keeping everything crossed that this could be a healthy pregnancy and natural delivery without me feeling half dead. Wishing all mums and soon to be mums an enjoyable and healthy pregnancy and birth. Blessed be.

  • I completely agree. It is such a massive experience and you are expected to just get on with it. I really wish I had some type of help as maybe I would be stronger mentallly in this pregnancy.

  • I remember feeling as scared as you during my second pregnancy. With my daughter I was hospitalised at 33 weeks, after 3 nights on labour ward over a week with severe high blood pressure and high protein, poorly kidneys. After a failed induction, my daughter was born after just over 34 weeks gestation at 4 lbs 3 by c-section. She had no breathing problems, no jaundice and breast fed straight away. She was pronounced fit to go home 4 days later but had to stay in with me, I was still so poorly I didn't get to leave until 2 weeks after she was born! My blood pressure stayed high for a while (developed white coat syndrome in reality, it was always fine at home) and I stayed on meds for 10 months, though with hindsight due to the white coat syndrome I think this was unnecessary.

    I was TERRIFIED when I got pregnant again 15 months later and had been told I'd almost definitely get it again at least mildly as I'd had it fairly early onset at 33 weeks - though symptoms started around 28 weeks and my mother had it with me (but then not with my brother). In fact I didn't get a trace of protein and no raised blood pressure (well not at home, went up a bit in hospital). My son was born a week late and more than double his sister's birth weight at 9lbs! Ironically he was a far more sickly baby, constantly having bugs. His sister didn't even so much as have a proper cold until she was over one year old! The hospital were great and I had monthly scans after 20 weeks to check on fluids and baby size and fortnightly appointments, weekly after 30 weeks.

    Hope that helps reassure you, no guarantee you won't get it again. But it seems to be uncommon to get it a second time and you'd have to be very unlucky. I found once I was pregnant I just totally relaxed 'what will be, will be' and worried about normal pregnancy things and ended up having my dream pregnancy. Fingers crossed it'll be the same for you.

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