The newest Duggar Family member, Josie Brooklyn, was born Thursday evening. The 1 lb. 6 oz. 25-week premature infant was born by emergency C-section. Michelle Duggar had been hospitalized at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences a few day earlier due to gallbladder pain, but during the hospitalization, it was noted that she had an elevated blood pressure, and a potentially dangerous condition called preeclampsia. According to Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist Paul Wendal, this is what prompted the emergency delivery: “The obstetrical and neonatal teams reached the collaborative decision [Thursday] that Mrs. Duggar needed an emergency C-section to ensure the blood pressure problem would not be detrimental to her or the baby.” Michelle is doing well post-operatively, and little Josie is apparently in stable condition in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Preeclampsia is a medical condition which occurs in approximately 5-8% of pregnancies. It consists of high blood pressure and protein in the urine in a woman, typically after the 20th week of pregnancy. It is unknown what causes preeclampsia. Although many women may be asymptomatic during the early stages of preeclampsia, when symptoms do occur they include:
* Swelling of the hands and face/eyes (edema) – Note: swelling of the legs and feet is common in pregnancy.
* Weight gain of more than 2 lbs/week or sudden weigh gain over 1-2 days
* Headaches that are dull or throbbing and will not go away
* Abdominal pain, mostly felt on the right side, underneath the ribs. Pain may also be felt in the right shoulder, and can be confused with heartburn, gallbladder pain (see above), a stomach virus, or the baby kicking.
* Decreased urine amount or frequency
* Nausea and vomiting (a worrisome sign)
* Vision changes – temporary loss of vision, sensations of flashing lights, auras, light sensitivity, spots, and blurry vision
If left untreated preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia, which consists of:
* Severe agitation or
Left untreated, eclamptic seizures can result in coma, brain damage, and possible maternal or infant death.
Treatment of preeclampsia and/or eclampsia is always a careful balancing game between treating the mother and not harming the infant. Delivery of the infant is the only real cure for the disease, however if symptoms are relatively mild, doctors will try to lower mom’s blood pressure and give medications to prevent seizures, as well as give intravenous steroids to encourage lung maturity in the infant. The further along you can get an infant to maturity, the less likely there will be complications.
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