Premature Birth Puts Mothers at Risk, Too

Deborah Grandison She was 26 weeks pregnant with her second child and enjoying lunch with her colleagues on a typical workday. “I suddenly felt the baby fall,” she said. Since her first child was born two months early, Grandison knew she had to go to the hospital.

There the doctors told her she was in active labor and gave her a medicine to relax her uterine contractions. Instead of slowing his contractions, his heart rate tripled. “I thought I was going to die. Frankly. I felt like I was flying away, like I was going away,” Grandison recalled. Doctors put him in intensive care.

Eventually, Grandison’s doctors said she had an underlying heart problem that interacted with the medication they were giving her, and they accused her of hiding that piece of her health history, according to Grandison. “They said, ‘You should have known you had a heart murmur,'” Grandison said. But actually, he didn’t, although he had regular checkups.

Grandison was diagnosed. mitral valve disease She was in the hospital for over two months while doctors stabilized her heart and pregnancy. Grandison also learned that she has gestational diabetes. He was eventually sent home on complete bed rest. “I was scared to death that I was going to lose this baby,” Grandison said.

However, Grandison carried her son to full term at 39 weeks and was born healthy. As she grew and developed, Grandison’s health deteriorated. He experienced left arm pain, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations. “I felt like someone was punching me in the chest as I was walking up the stairs,” Grandison said. “I went to the ER several times thinking I was having a heart attack. I was told it was anxiety.” Grandison’s doctor prescribed medication for every symptom she was experiencing until she was on 13 separate medications, feeling sicker than ever before.

His blood sugar was finally tested at one of his many emergency room visits. Grandison learned that her blood sugar levels were 683. “Most people with these glucose levels don’t sit and talk,” Grandison said. “I didn’t know I had diabetesand I was at high risk of developing diabetes after I had diabetes. gestational diabetes. I was told my risks were amputation, blindness and kidney disease and 95% of women returned to normal after pregnancy.”

No one has been able to link the heart problems of Grandison’s second pregnancy to the mother. early birth It has been found to double a woman’s risk of developing even if her first baby is born prematurely or before 37 weeks. heart disease and is strongly associated with stroke and heart disease later in life. This risk is quadrupled if the baby is born earlier than 28 weeks. In addition, Gestational diabetes linked to future heart disease. Grandison was never told she had more than one risk factor.

Actually, her heart problem He was misdiagnosed in the intensive care unit. He spent 20 years after the birth of his son being treated for mitral valve disease. When he moved and changed doctors, the medical team eventually diagnosed the heart problem as an electrical problem and placed a doctor. Heart battery. Despite being nervous about getting a pacemaker, Grandison felt better afterwards than she had in decades.

Dr. Judette LouisThe link between preterm birth and heart disease, University of South Florida School of Medicine Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology well established in research.

“Women should be aware of this” [an unchangeable] risk factor,” said Louis. The reason behind preterm birth also influences this risk. Premature birth caused by high blood pressure or gestational diabetes increases the risk of future heart disease more than premature birth due to unknown causes or cervical problems.

What’s less clear, Louis said, is what the underlying causes are. Does premature birth damage the heart and blood system in mothers? Or does premature birth reveal or worsen a mother’s underlying heart condition? Researchers are looking for these answers, Louis said.

Women can arm themselves against diabetes and heart disease by reducing the risk factors they can control. “There are modifiable risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, such as smoking or a sedentary lifestyle. Quit smoking. To exercise. “Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and whole grains,” said Louis. “Preventing heart disease, preventing diabetes: that’s the goal.”

Louis advised women to be aware of heart disease symptoms. “Chest pain is typical, but there are atypical symptoms such as arm or back pain, irregular heartbeat, heartburn, or extreme tiredness,” said Louis. “Sometimes there are no symptoms, so regular checkups with your primary care doctor are important.”

Rather than fearing the risks, Louis said mothers of preterm babies should use this awareness to defend themselves and form healthy habits with the help of their primary care provider (HCP). If women know they are at high risk for preterm delivery, or have been told by their HCP, they should talk to their OB-GYN about ways to prevent preterm labor to avoid potential problems for her and her baby.

Grandison also advised women to defend themselves: “Find the right team: people who listen to you. Communication. Bring family members or friends to appointments for help.” Grandison said her outlook has strengthened on her journey back to heart health. “Having a pacemaker is not the end, it’s the beginning. Despite this madness, I choose to be cheerful.”

This resource was created with the support of Covis.

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