Will I be in the hospital if I get diagnosed with preeclampsia?
There are a lot of things that can be scary about the possibility of a preeclampsia diagnosis. The most immediate ones are all health related, but the possibility of being admitted to the hospital for as long as several weeks, right up until birth, can be a pretty big deal, too. So is a preeclampsia diagnosis a ticket into the hospital for a long stay? It depends.
Which women with preeclampsia are admitted to the hospital right away?
One of the big factors of whether or not women with preeclampsia are admitted to the hospital right away is hospital policy – for many hospitals, the diagnosis is all it takes, and women are admitted right away. In some hospitals, though, women with more serious preeclampsia (higher blood pressure, higher levels of protein in their urine) are admitted right away, but women with more moderate preeclampsia are advised to rest at home instead.
Other factors that affect whether or not women with preeclampsia are admitted to the hospital for the rest of their pregnancies include how close they live to the hospital, and whether their home situations are considered low-stress enough. Some women are able to rest better in the comfort of their own homes, but others, especially women who have young children at home, or have a hard time relaxing, are better able to keep from adding stress to their bodies under enforced rest at the hospital.
Strict bed rest isn’t a common prescription anymore, but women with preeclampsia are recommended to let go of many or most household tasks, get plenty of rest, and keep stress low. For some women, home is the perfect place to be able to do that, while for others, being admitted to the hospital is the best way to help them slow down a little.
Why are many women with preeclampsia admitted to the hospital on diagnosis?
Women who are admitted to the hospital after a preeclampsia diagnosis can be monitored by a medical staff much more often than women who are resting at home and making regular prenatal appointments. This is important, because one of the trickiest parts of treating preeclampsia is balancing the baby’s need to gestate for as long as possible with the mother’s growing difficulty carrying the baby. Many pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia end up coming to an end through labor induction, and round-the-clock monitoring at the hospital can be helpful in figuring out when the right time to induce is.
Another reason why women are often admitted after a diagnosis is that preeclampsia can change and worsen quickly, and women who don’t live right near the hospital may have trouble getting there as fast as they need to.
High blood pressure during pregnancy is no guarantee that preeclampsia is coming, but it can be a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider about what their policies are around preeclampsia diagnoses. No matter what the policy is, though, in the end, your medical care will end up being centered around the specific concerns of your unique life and physical health.
Want to help other women with preeclampsia? The Preeclampsia Registry provides approved researchers with access to “de-identified” health information – information that does not contain participant names or contact information. This helps researchers to find patterns among preeclampsia survivors that can lead to findings and further studies. Researchers may also pose new questions to a large and willing audience, a strategy that usually takes much longer without a registry.
The Preeclampsia Registry also gives its participants the option of learning about other research studies for which they may qualify, and provides them with the means of connecting with these researchers.
Most importantly, patient registries unite the patient voice with clinical research. Patients have questions, theories, and interests that are often different from investigators conducting formal research. By engaging patients in the research process, as we can through patient registries, the chances for discovery and improvement are an even greater possibility.
For more information about patient registries, visit http://www.nih.gov/health/clinicaltrials/registries.htm
To learn more about The Preeclampsia Registry, go to www.preeclampsiaregistry.org
- “Preeclampsia.” MountSinai. Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, 2017. Web.
- Shivani Patel. “Preeclampsia can strike suddenly during pregnancy.” UTSWMedicine. UT Southwestern Medical Center, Sep 29 2015. Web.