The HELLP syndrome is a terrible illness that you can contract during your pregnancy, often in combination with high blood pressure. HELLP syndrome can have unpleasant consequences for the mother and for the baby. Read more about the syndrome here and how you can get in touch with fellow sufferers.
Forms of high blood pressure
Many women, about 1 in 10, develop high blood pressure during pregnancy. This is especially true for women who are pregnant for the first time. Because it is fairly common, your blood pressure is always monitored by the midwife.
There is high blood pressure if your blood pressure repeatedly exceeds 140 mmHg and / or a negative pressure of 90-95 mmHg. A slightly elevated blood pressure is not bad. If you have a higher blood pressure and no protein in your urine (this is being examined by your doctor) then there is Pre-existent hypertension or pregnancy hypertension (when the high blood pressure arose during your pregnancy).
If you have high blood pressure and protein in your urine then there is pregnancy poisoning or also pre-eclampsia. A mild form of pregnancy poisoning occurs in 1 out of 20 pregnant women. In 1 in 200 women there is a severe form of pre-eclampsia or pregnancy poisoning that may result in HELLP syndrome. Then there is also eclampsia which means that you have high blood pressure and get convulsions or seizures. This occurs in 1 in 4,000 women.
What is HELLP Syndrome?
The HELLP syndrome occurs in 5 out of 1000 women. It can occur in combination with pre-eclampsia, but can also develop separately. It may even happen that you have HELLP without having your blood pressure increased. The letters of the HELLP Syndrome stand for an English translation of the words:
- Blood degradation
- Liver function disorders
- Degradation of platelets
So there is talk of blood breakdown, which means that the blood cells die off. In addition, the liver is no longer functioning properly and a clotting disorder can develop because the platelets are broken down. All this together is life-threatening for the mother and for the baby.
HELLP syndrome effects baby
The HELLP syndrome has major consequences for your baby and for yourself. Pregnant women with HELLP are very ill. Although the exact cause of HELLP syndrome and pre-eclampsia is not known, doctors suspect that the placenta plays an important role. Often the placenta develops insufficiently and that has major consequences for your baby.
For example, there is too little transport of oxygen and nutrients to your baby and your baby will develop a growth retardation. The life of the mother is also at risk. Because your baby can not do without oxygen and nutrients, the chances are that your baby will be reached early. This is to save the life of the baby and that of the mother. Since the placenta is the possible cause, it must be removed. Often terminating pregnancy is the only method that helps.
If you are still early in the pregnancy, it is possible that your child will still be taken. You may be introduced, but women with HELLP syndrome and / or pre-eclampsia usually receive caesarean section. This means that your child will not survive if it is still too small. Are you more than 24 weeks pregnant then the doctor will do everything to save the life of your child. You can usually not continue the pregnancy because otherwise you yourself are in danger.
Consequences for child after birth
The chance that your baby will manage despite HELLP syndrome is also present, only he or she would have been born prematurely. With the right care, your child can survive and just grow up. The exact consequences of the disease for your growing child is not clear. The only thing that is known is that girls born of a HELLP / PE pregnancy are more likely to develop HELLP / PE themselves during their own pregnancy. In addition, it is important to keep an eye on the blood pressure of your child. This is not necessary every week, but every so often. Also inform your doctor.
Symptoms HELLP syndrome and preeclampsia
Women who suffer from HELLP syndrome / preeclampsia suffer from the following symptoms:
- Protein in your urine.
- Hold moisture, especially in your lower legs, face and hands. So watch out for swellings!
- Pain or a tight feeling in your stomach. This feels like you have too tight a tie around your belly. The pain can radiate to your back.
- Surrender and nausea.
- Headache and / or a pressure on your head where it seems that there is a tight band around your head.
- Blurred vision, seeing stars or flashing lightly.
- Tingling in the fingers.
- Increased tension at the liver.
- You feel seriously ill.
HELLP syndrome hereditary
It is not entirely clear why one mother does not get high blood pressure during pregnancy and the other mother does. Nevertheless, there are a few factors that may increase the risk of HELLP syndrome or preeclampsia. It is not clear whether it is hereditary. However, you have a higher risk of HELLP syndrome / high blood pressure if your mother or sister had a severe high blood pressure during pregnancy. The chance that your blood pressure will be too high is 5 times bigger!
Other factors that may play a role:
- Heart and vascular disease
- Kidney diseases
- Certain autoimmune diseases
- High blood pressure for pregnancy
- Pregnant with a multiple birth
- The mother is older than 40
- Stress and bad (unhealthy) food
Treatment HELLP syndrome and high blood pressure
If your blood pressure is too high, the first advice will be rest and healthy eating. Healthy eating is little saturated fat, salt and sugar.If you suffer from the symptoms mentioned, your blood pressure is 160 mmHg or higher, there is protein in your urine or your baby has growth retardation, you will be admitted to the hospital. You will be closely monitored during hospitalization. Your blood pressure will be measured several times and your blood and urine will often be examined.
If HELLP syndrome is diagnosed and the mother or baby are at serious risk, then there is no other option than to terminate the pregnancy.
, blockquote> When your baby is viable, it will receive special care. If your baby is still too small, he or she can not be saved anymore.
Heavy recovery after HELLP
To go through the HELLP syndrome is extremely intense both physically and emotionally. You have been super sick so your body needs a long recovery period. In addition, it is emotionally intense because you have to fight for your life and also for the life of your child.
Maybe your child did not make it because you were not pregnant for very long. Then you have to process a considerable loss. Or maybe your child has saved it, but you worry a lot because your baby was born prematurely. Maybe your baby should be in the incubator for a long time. To make matters worse, you or your partner may develop a post traumatic stress syndrome. Good aftercare is extremely important.
HELLP syndrome foundation
Good aftercare for parents after experiencing HELLP syndrome is extremely important. The HELLP Foundation can arrange this aftercare for you. You can also come into contact with fellow sufferers through the foundation, which can help to give everything you have experienced a place. You can find more information on the website of the HELLP Foundation.
HELLP syndrome experiences
Sharing your experience with others who have experienced the same can be very helpful in giving the disease and its consequences a place. On the website HELLP experiences you can read the experiences of others. You can also come into contact with fellow sufferers via that website or with the HELLP Foundation.