Table of contents:
HELLP syndrome is a disorder of the liver and blood that can occur during pregnancy. Usually, this syndrome occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy. If not treated properly, this syndrome can have a fatal impact on pregnant women and their unborn babies
HELLP syndrome stands for hemolysis (H), which is damage to red blood cells, elevated liver enzymes (EL), which is an increase in the production of liver enzymes due to disturbances in liver cells, and low platelets (LP), which is the number of platelets or platelets that are below the normal limit, thus interfering with the blood clotting process.
Factors Causing HELLP Syndrome
Until now, the factors that cause HELLP syndrome are not known for certain. However, there are certain factors that can increase the risk of developing this syndrome.
One of the most common factors is preeclampsia. This condition is characterized by high blood pressure and usually occurs during the last trimester of pregnancy. However, in some cases, preeclampsia can also be experienced in early pregnancy or even after delivery.
Of course, not all pregnant women with preeclampsia will experience HELLP syndrome. There are several other risk factors that can also increase the likelihood of this syndrome occurring, including:
- Over 35 years old
- Suffer from diabetes or kidney disease
- Has high blood pressure
- Has a history of preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy
- Has given birth more than 2 times
In addition, pregnant women are also at a higher risk of developing HELLP syndrome if they have experienced this in a previous pregnancy. One study showed that the risk of recurrence in hypertensive disorders, preeclampsia, and HELLP syndrome in subsequent pregnancies was approximately 18%.
HELLP Syndrome Symptoms
The symptoms of HELLP syndrome vary from person to person and are not very specific, so it is sometimes difficult to diagnose. Symptoms that can arise include feeling tired, severe headache, heartburn or upper right abdomen, nausea, and vomiting during pregnancy.
Some of the other symptoms of HELLP syndrome include swelling (especially of the face), sudden and excessive weight gain, spontaneous and non-stop bleeding, seizures, impaired vision, and pain when breathing.These symptoms can also be part of another pregnancy problem.
If you experience symptoms of HELLP syndrome, it is important to immediately consult a doctor for proper examination and treatment.
HELLP Syndrome Treatment
Generally, the doctor will perform a physical examination, urine test to see protein leakage, and blood test to evaluate liver function and the number of red blood cells and platelets. In addition, an abdominal MRI may be necessary to see the condition of the liver more clearly.
If the lab results indicate the presence of HELLP syndrome, most likely the baby must be delivered early to prevent serious complications that can endanger the condition of both mother and baby.
However, if your HELLP syndrome symptoms are mild or if your gestational age is less than 34 weeks, the medical steps that your doctor may take before deciding to give birth prematurely include:
- Bed rest and hospital treatment, so that your he alth and that of your fetus can be monitored properly
- Performing blood transfusions, to treat anemia and low platelets
- Giving corticosteroids, to accelerate the maturation of the baby's lungs
- Giving magnesium sulfate, to prevent eclampsia or seizures
- The administration of blood pressure-lowering drugs.
- Monitoring and evaluation of possible fetal distress
During treatment, the doctor will monitor your red blood cell, platelet, and liver enzyme levels, as well as the baby's condition. The doctor will also recommend several tests to evaluate the baby's movements, the baby's heart rate, and uterine contractions, as well as the blood flow to the uterus.
Actually, the best way you can prevent HELLP syndrome is to take care of yourself before and during pregnancy. In addition, pay attention to the early symptoms of this syndrome so that you can get an early examination and treatment.
Also, consult your doctor regularly during your pregnancy and let your doctor know if you have a high-risk pregnancy or have a history of pregnancy complications such as HELLP syndrome and preeclampsia in previous pregnancies.