Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Baby Update # 3 {November}

Went into the appt. hoping I was around 3 CM, but was still 1 CM dilated. Dr. C "stripped my membranes" today...painful, but not too bad.

"Stripping the membranes is where a health care provider will separate your bag of water from the cervix, it is not intended to break your water, however, it may. It may also cause infection, and may be painful for some.

The reason that we tell people that we are stripping their membranes is to "get things going" in regards to labor. This little technique is usually done during a vaginal exam at the end of pregnancy, with or without the knowledge or consent of the woman.

Stripping the membranes, we are told, is supposed to stimulate production of prostiglandins in the cervix and bring on contractions. I have heard doctors tell my clients after stripping their membranes they will have the baby in two days. While this may appear to work for some, at term it's all a guessing game. There is no scientific work to date that can back up the routine procedure of stripping membranes. "

My blood pressure was on the high side, to the point where the Dr. was alarmed and asked that I be monitored closely at my NST that followed my appt. with him. And, my 3 lb. weight gain also threw up some red flags. He checked my legs and they were swollen..so I am retaining fluid. Combined I am being monitored for "Preeclampsia" and today was actually my last day of work as I am ordered on bed rest (or couch...laying on my left side) and have to also watch my salt in take. (My urine checked out ok, with no protein).

I am to go back into the office on Friday before my NST. Depending on how things go, I may be induced on Friday.

What Is Preeclampsia?
Also referred to as toxemia, preeclampsia is a condition that pregnant women can get. It is marked by high blood pressure accompanied with a high level of protein in the urine. Women with preeclampsia will often also have swelling in the feet, legs and hands.
Preeclampsia, when present, usually appears during the second half of pregnancy, generally in the latter part of the second or in the third trimesters, although it can occur earlier.

What Is Eclampsia?
Eclampsia is the final and most severe phase of preeclampsia and occurs when preeclampsia is left untreated. In addition to the previously mentioned symptoms, women with eclampsia often have seizures. Eclampsia can cause coma and even death of the mother and baby and can occur before, during or after childbirth.

What Causes Preeclampsia and Eclampsia?
The exact causes of preeclampsia and eclampsia are not known, although some researchers suspect poor nutrition, high body fat or insufficient blood flow to the uterus as possible causes.

Who Is at Risk for Preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is most often seen in first-time pregnancies and in pregnant teens and women over 40. Other risk factors include:
A history of high blood pressure prior to pregnancy.
Previous history of preeclampsia.
A history of preeclampsia in mother or sisters.
Obesity prior to pregnancy.
Carrying more than one baby.
History of diabetes, kidney disease, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

How Can I Tell if I Have Preeclampsia?
In addition to swelling, protein in the urine, and high blood pressure, symptoms of preeclampsia can include:
Rapid weight gain caused by a significant increase in bodily fluid
3 lbs in one week
Abdominal pain yes
Severe headaches
A change in reflexes
Reduced output of urine or no urine
some what
Excessive vomiting and nausea

Does Swelling During Pregnancy Mean I Have Preeclampsia?
Some swelling is normal during pregnancy. However, if the swelling doesn't go away with rest and is accompanied by some of the above symptoms, be sure to see your doctor right away.

How Can Preeclampsia Affect My Baby?
Preeclampsia can prevent the placenta from receiving enough blood, which can cause your baby to be born very small. It is also one of the leading causes of
premature births and the difficulties that can accompany them, including learning disabilities, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and hearing and vision problems.

How Is Preeclampsia and Eclampsia Treated?
The only real cure for preeclampsia and eclampsia is the birth of the baby.
Mild preeclampsia (blood pressure greater than 140/90 that occurs after 20 weeks of gestation in a woman who did not have hypertension before; and/or having a small amount of protein in the urine can be managed with careful hospital or in-home observation along with activity restriction.
If the baby is pre-term, the condition can be managed until your baby can be safely delivered. Your health care provider may prescribe bed rest, hospitalization or medication to prolong the pregnancy and increase your unborn baby's chances of survival. If your baby is close to term, labor may be induced.
The treatment for more severe preeclampsia (having vision problems, lung problems, abdominal pain, fetal distress, or other signs and symptoms) may require more emergent treatment - delivery of the baby - irrespective of the baby's age.

Other treatments:
Magnesium can be injected into the veins to prevent eclampsia-related seizures.
Hydralazine or another antihypertensive drug to manage severe elevations of blood pressure.
Monitoring fluid intake.

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