Project Placenta A little-studied organ gets its scientific due
This Could Revolutionize Prenatal Care
Last year, after the birth of my son, I spent ten days in the hospital under siege. My blood pressure had skyrocketed and wouldn’t come down, putting me in imminent danger of having a stroke. A catheter, not my newborn, was planted in my arms, pumping me with magnesium sulfate to protect my brain from high blood pressure–induced seizures. When the doctors finally sent me home, they urged me to stay vigilant. You’re not out of the woods yet they said. I was to swallow more blood pressure pills than an octogenarian, watch for warning signs like headaches or dizziness, and take my pressures twice a day. If I crossed the threshold of 150/90, I’d call Labor and Delivery. Anything much higher and I’d head to the emergency room (which I did).
At home, where my newborn dozed serenely, I was an anxious wreck, spiraling at even the slightest headache, convinced it was a stroke. I imagined my blood was a raging river bursting my vessels. Was this it? Would I be leaving my kids without a mother? My placenta tried to kill me and then it made me crazy.
I had pre-eclampsia, a syndrome that affects about eight percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. each year and is a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death. The origins of pre-eclampsia aren’t fully understood but can be traced to the placenta’s formation, when the small spiral arteries in the uterine lining transform into highly dilated vessels. Any errors in this process, designed to increase blood flow to the placenta and fetus, can cause serious problems. Sometimes the spiral arteries transform incorrectly, becoming too narrow or blocked and depriving the placenta of blood. When the placenta responds by releasing harmful substances into the mother’s bloodstream, pre-eclampsia can set in, spiking her blood pressure and potentially impairing her kidney and liver function……
Read the Full Article at: Reuters
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Jaelin Stickels, CNM, WHNP
Owner, SHEis.com & Holistic Heritage, Spring, TX