(NAPSI)—Danyelle’s first pregnancy was going extremely well, and she couldn’t wait for the arrival of her baby girl. At her 28-week checkup, her doctor knew that something wasn’t right. Danyelle’s feet and face were incredibly swollen. When Danyelle returned the next day for more tests, her blood pressure had skyrocketed. Within 24 hours, Danyelle found herself in the hospital at risk of delivering her baby prematurely.
Danyelle was diagnosed with preeclampsia, a life-threatening medical condition that occurs during pregnancy. It is a disease of the placenta that impacts both mother and baby and is a leading cause of death in pregnant women. Preeclampsia occurs in less than 10 percent of pregnancies, typically during the second and third trimesters. When preeclampsia occurs before 34 weeks of pregnancy, it’s known as early onset preeclampsia.
Symptoms include high blood pressure, swelling of hands, feet and face, nausea, contractions, sleeplessness, stomach pain, visual disturbances and more.
“One day I was fine,” said Danyelle, “and the next day, my entire life turned upside down.”
If left untreated, preeclampsia can become eclampsia, a life-threatening condition to both the mother and baby. The only way to stop preeclampsia from becoming eclampsia is to deliver the baby. This means that mothers with early onset preeclampsia might have to deliver before their baby is fully developed.
The current treatment standard for early onset preeclampsia is “expectant management,” in which doctors monitor mom and baby closely to try to allow the baby more time to develop in the womb, allowing for fewer post-delivery complications.
“At the hospital I was hooked up to every monitor imaginable,” shared Danyelle. “My doctors wanted to see how long I could safely stay pregnant to allow Emilia to grow.”
Less than 24 hours later, Emilia started showing signs of distress. Danyelle gave birth at 29 weeks. Weighing only 1 pound, 11 ounces, Emilia was whisked to the NICU. Thirteen days later, she passed away.
Mothers who have suffered from this devastating disease aim to raise awareness throughout the month of May, National Preeclampsia Awareness Month, and year-round.
“My husband and I made a vow to Emilia that we wouldn’t keep quiet about what happened,” Danyelle said. “Preeclampsia isn’t something that everyone knows about. We are committed to changing that by raising awareness and sharing our story.”