Preeclampsia awareness during pregnancy saves lives - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Preeclampsia awareness during pregnancy saves lives

"They were so little, which is scary for a new mom. One was three pounds five ounces; the other was three pounds six ounces." (Photo source: Selena Rogers) "They were so little, which is scary for a new mom. One was three pounds five ounces; the other was three pounds six ounces." (Photo source: Selena Rogers)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month.  It's a life-threatening condition that can lead to serious health problems for a mom and her fetus. It's estimated that Preeclampsia occurs in about four percent of pregnancies in the U.S.

Gulfport mom Selena Rogers says her own awareness about the condition may have helped save her life and the lives of her young girls. It was 14 years ago, but she remembers it like it was yesterday. 

"They were so little, which is scary for a new mom. One was three pounds five ounces; the other was three pounds six ounces."

Rogers says the day her twin girls, Klausen and Karlisle, were born, she was facing potential organ failure due to Preeclampsia, and doctors induced labor.

"My liver and kidneys were shutting down. The doctors knew I was in danger, and at 32 weeks the babies were big enough to make it safe for them to take them."

For Selena and the girls, the outcome was positive.  But Gulfport OB-GYN Dr. Michael McKay says it would have likely been a different story had doctors not been watching her pregnancy closely. 

"Even for patients who are seen regularly for pre-natal care, it can happen suddenly." 

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system.  

McKay says, "We look for swelling, not only in the extremities but elsewhere, too. We look for rapid weight gain, elevated blood pressure, headaches and pain in the abdomen."

Because Preeclampsia can lead to serious, even fatal complications, McKay says once you have it, closely monitoring the pregnancy is critical. 

"Preeclampsia comes in all kinds of flavors. You can actually have it very mildly and we'll watch that very closely and let the baby continue to develop. And in the more severe cases, when it threatens the mom's health, we have to deliver them early."

Researchers don't know the exact cause of preeclampsia, but being aware of the risks and symptoms saves lives.

Selena's tiny miracles are now 14 years old, and she hopes sharing her story will help other pregnant women who may face Preeclampsia.

"If you have concerns talk to your doctor.  Get your questions answered and get the help you need. And don't wait until it's too late."

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