WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
HELLP stands for H emolysis, E levated L iver enzymes, and L ow P latelet count. It occurs in pregnancy with other conditions such as high blood pressure, weight gain, or convulsions. HELLP syndrome may also occur the first few days after delivery.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
HELLP syndrome, if left untreated, may lead to severe bleeding. This could be life-threatening to you and your baby. You are at an increased risk of preterm delivery, acute kidney failure, pulmonary edema, liver injury, or stroke.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
External fetal heart monitoring:
Caregivers may use this to monitor your baby's heartbeat, and the contractions of your uterus. A small metal disc (monitor) with gel on it is placed on your abdomen. A belt will be fastened around your waist to hold the monitor in place. The monitor may need to be moved as your baby moves inside you. It may also be put on and taken off, or left in place. The monitor is attached to a machine with a TV-type screen, or a printer. The screen or the paper print out shows a tracing of your uterus contracting, and the baby's heartbeat.
This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.
Intake and output:
Caregivers will keep track of the amount of liquid you are getting. They also may need to know how much you are urinating. Ask how much liquid you should drink each day. Ask caregivers if they need to measure or collect your urine.
- Anticonvulsant medicine: This is given to prevent or control seizures.
- Blood pressure medicine: This is given to lower your blood pressure. A controlled blood pressure helps protect your baby. It also helps protect your heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys.
- Steroids: This may be given to decrease inflammation. It may also help your baby's lungs if he is premature.
You may need one or more of the following:
- Blood tests: Your blood may be tested to find out if your platelet count is low. Platelets are the part of your blood that helps it clot. Your blood may also be tested for other blood disorders and liver problems.
- Urine tests: Your urine may be tested for infection or to find out if your kidneys are working normally.
- Chest x-ray: This is a picture of your lungs and heart. Your caregiver may use this to check for fluid in your lungs.
- Abdominal ultrasound: This test is done so caregivers can see the tissues and organs of your abdomen. Gel will be put on your abdomen and a small sensor will be moved across your abdomen. The sensor uses sound waves to send pictures of your abdomen to a TV-like screen.
- Fetal biophysical profile: A fetal biophysical profile is a test that combines the nonstress test and a special ultrasound of your unborn baby. The nonstress test measures changes in your baby's heartbeat during movement. The ultrasound will show your baby's movement, how his muscles are working, and the amount of fluid around him. It will also show if your baby's breathing muscles are working.
- Delivery: If you are more than 34 weeks pregnant and your health is at risk, you may need to deliver your baby. This will help prevent complications and harm to your baby.
- Blood transfusion: You may need a blood transfusion to help increase platelets. You may also need a transfusion if you lose a large amount of blood during delivery.
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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.