For my prenatal consultation on my 34th week, I was expecting the usual...regular baby heartbeat, good fetal growth, okay weight gain. I wasn't expecting my blood pressure to be 140/90. The doc's assistant checked it twice an hour or so, apart. Reaching the 140/90 threshold I heard my doctor's voice pitch go up a notch, and a tiny involuntary gulp from my own throat, as she explained to me with urgency the word "preeclampsia."
Preeclempsia, from what I gathered from her explanation and previous book reading, has to do with rising blood pressure due to pregnancy changes and the presence of protein in the urine. There have only been theories as to why some pregnant women develop this condition. The danger here is that it could lead to eclampsia, a more complicated case which involves the mother having seizures or convulsions, and in which the only resolution is a pre-terminated pregnancy. Meaning, the mother would have to be induced or would have to have an emergency c-section to prevent the baby from harm or death.
With just a few more weeks till my due date, I wasn't expecting this news at all. The doctor looked down at my feet.The edema could be another sign of possible preeclampsia, she said. Sure, my feet and ankles had obvious swelling, but I thought that was somewhat expected and normal for pregnant women. Crap.
She then gave me my new responsibilities:
1. Have a urinalysis to check protein content
2. Fetal movement monitoring: I have to feel for the baby's movements (any type of movement) 30 minutes to an hour after breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday. She has to move at least 10 times within an hour. If not, I'd have to call the doctor. (Reason: Before a fetus' heart stops because of the condition, the movements decrease first.)
3. Check my blood pressure three times a day, left arm, heart level
4. Bed rest making sure to lie on my left side most of the time (with bathroom and trips to the dining room rights) to help keep the blood pressure down
5. Low-sodium diet - no salty condiments: toyo, patis, bagoong, ketchup, etc.
6. Report to her at 8pm everyday via text.
So far, I've had my urinalysis but I'd have to hear the doctor's interpretations next week since I got the results after the her clinic hours. Our helper has been informed of my new diet and I've started gathering and eating tasteless recipes. I've checked the baby's fetal movements three times and I'm more than glad that she's still very active. My husband's been checking my bp and it's been normal, usually 120/80. He's also taught me how to check my blood pressure myself in case he can't because of his work schedule.
I don't know how long I'll be monitoring for possible preeclampsia and be tied to the bed, but I don't have to elaborate on how these little sacrifices are worth it. Hang in there baby, it's time for teamwork.