If you read Lila's birth story you know that after birth I was diagnosed with postpartum preeclampsia. I felt like I was pretty well educated about possible complications during and after pregnancy. I enjoy reading research (I blame graduate school) and being prepared. Yet, with all of my reading I had never heard of postpartum preeclampsia. Yes, it is very rare. It only affects approximately 600 women a year. But it is a very serious postpartum complication that causes seizures, stroke (possible brain damage) and even death. I am so blessed that I was advised to stay in the hospital for 48 hours after birth due to being strep B positive. If I had stayed only the 24 hours who know what would have happened to me. So, I feel a need to spread awareness and educate women about postpartum preeclampsia and the symptoms.
Many women who are sent home from the hospital before the onset of their postpartum preeclampsia get home, feel unwell, but attribute it to just birthing a child. They are unaware of their condition and can do damage to their organs and if they go untreated for long enough can have a stroke and die. That probably would have been me, because I felt totally fine! I was happy, alert, chatty and walking around. Then they took my blood pressure and it was 180/100. I would have never known.
The symptoms of postpartum preeclampsia are...
For me, I only had high blood pressure.
I just want other women out there to know what to look out for. If you are feeling weird postpartum go to a Walmart or Walgreens and check your blood pressure. I had to buy a little home blood pressure cuff since I have to take mine daily right now.
If you have high blood pressure in the hospital be your own advocate! My family and I did research and knew that high blood pressure postpartum was serious and we needed tests and labs to make sure I didn't have other rare conditions. We also pushed for specialist opinions. Pushing for all of these things is the only reason I received the care I needed quicker (magnesium sulfate IV and urinalysis) and wasn't in the hospital for longer.
I hope no one that reads this ever has postpartum preeclampsia, but if you do I hope that this helps you be more aware and educated about the condition.
For more information about postpartum preeclampsia this article is great.