HELLP is No Good for Mamas on Bedrest

September 10th, 2010

HELLP stands for Hemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes and Low Platelets and contrary to how the acronym sounds, it is very harmful and potentially deadly to mamas on bedrest. HELLP is considered a variant of pre-eclampsia and tends to occur with the more serious cases, but in up to 10% of all cases of pre-eclampsia. In some cases, HELLP occurs after pre-eclampsia has been present for sometime. In other cases, it is the first indication that pre-eclampsia even exits. No matter how it presents, it is a serious complication of pregnancy and if not treated immediately, usually by immediate delivery of the baby, can cause death in both mama and baby.The exact cause of HELLP is unknown.

So what should women be on the look out for? Women who may be developing HELLP syndrome may experience some of the following symptoms or no symptoms at all. (Remember, high blood pressure is often called “the silent killer”. So it can be in the case of HELLP Syndrome)

  • Headache-Due to increased blood pressure
  • Nausea and vomiting that continues to get worse– Due to liver malfunction and increasing blood toxicity. The liver is the major detoxification center of the body. When it malfunctions, toxins build up causing illness.
  • Upper abdominal pain-Due to liver malfunction and enlargement
  • Vision problems-Due to increased blood pressure

If you experience any of the above symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately.  Learn more about HELLP Syndrome at The Pre-Eclampsia Foundation’s website.

But don’t take it from me. My good friend Joanie Reisfeld, Executive Director of Better Bedrest had HELLP syndrome when she had her son nearly 21 years ago. Listen to her story and how it inspired her to help other women on bed rest.
Have you had a personal experience with HELLP Syndrome? Tell us your story in our comment section.

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