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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- HELLP stands for H emolysis, E levated L iver enzymes, and L ow P latelet count. HELLP syndrome (SIN-drohm) occurs in pregnancy, with preeclampsia (high blood pressure; weight gain) and eclampsia (high blood pressure; weight gain; convulsions). With HELLP syndrome, there may be bleeding and liver problems. These may seriously affect both the mother and her baby. This condition may occur before the end of pregnancy, or even after delivery.
- Caregivers do not exactly know what causes HELLP syndrome. Problems in the cells that line the blood vessels that triggers bleeding is thought to cause HELLP syndrome. Symptoms may include high blood pressure, pain in the stomach and below the right side of your rib, headache, and tiredness. Blood tests are needed to find bleeding and liver problems. Monitoring tests for you and your baby's health may be done, such as an ultrasound or fetal biophysical profile.
- Steroids and certain medicines to control blood pressure and prevent convulsions may be given. Delivery may be done when your pregnancy is more than 34 weeks, and if your health is at risk. HELLP syndrome is a serious condition that needs early treatment to prevent further harm to both mother and baby. Ask your caregiver about these tests and treatments.
Take your medicine as directed:
Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists.
Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.
Rest when you feel it is needed. Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.
Eat a healthy diet:
- Eat a variety of healthy foods including fruits, vegetables, breads, meat, fish, and dairy products. Eating healthy foods is good for your baby, and may help you feel better and have more energy.
- You may need to avoid eating salty foods, such as canned foods, and to avoid adding salt to your food. Try herbs and spices instead of salt.
Keep track of your baby's movements:
You need to keep track of how much your baby moves every day. This can be done in the morning, in the evening, or both. Wait one hour after eating and lie down for 30 minutes. Write down every movement that you feel from your baby. You may want to count for an extra 30 minutes if you are having trouble feeling movement. Call your caregiver if you notice that your baby is moving less.
Keep track of your blood pressure and weight:
- You may need to check and write down your blood pressure. Caregivers will teach you how to check your blood pressure, and tell you how often to do this. It is important to measure your blood pressure in the same arm and in the same position every time. Keep track of your blood pressure readings, along with the date and time you took them. Take this record with you to your prenatal visits.
- Weigh yourself daily before breakfast after you urinate. Call your caregiver if you have gained more weight than what your caregiver suggests in one day. Keep track of your daily weights and take the record with you to your prenatal visits.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You have a headache that does not go away.
- You have trouble thinking clearly.
- You have questions about HELLP syndrome, your medicine, and care.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- Your blood pressure is higher then what your caregiver has told you it should be.
- You passed out or had a seizure.
- You have a sudden blurring or loss of vision.
- You have chest pain and trouble breathing.
- You have very bad pain over your stomach or under your ribs.
- You are bleeding from your vagina, coughing up blood, or having nosebleeds.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.