With all the side effects that accompany pregnancy, many mothers-to-be tend to blame stereotypical symptoms, like lower back pain, sudden weight gain and leg swelling, on the hot weather or one too many jalapeno burgers.
Yet, depending on their severity, these warning signs can signal preeclampsia, a condition in which the expectant mother’s blood pressure rises to dangerous levels, potentially leading to a variety of other life-threatening conditions. The disorder often comes out of the blue, and the only cure is to deliver the child, often weeks before his or her scheduled due date.
Jennifer Killion (pictured) of Overland, for instance, was just 19 weeks into her first pregnancy when her blood pressure raced to 220/110, and her kidneys and liver began diving into organ failure.
“My family was told to prepare for the worst, as my doctors did not know if I would survive,” she explained by email.