The causes of HELLP syndrome are unknown. The syndrome occurs in about 4 of every 1,000 pregnancies.
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. Most women who get HELLP have blood pressure problems before HELLP develops.
Risk factors for HELLP syndrome:
Age: over 25
Two or more previous deliveries
Serious problem with a previous pregnancy
Preeclampsia or HELLP in a previous pregnancy
Some women may have no symptoms at all.
Symptoms of HELLP syndrome:
Pain in your upper right abdomen
Black spots in your vision
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. You may need to be referred to a doctor who specializes in obstetrics.
Tests may include:
Complete blood count—a blood test that checks the number of red blood cells and platelets, two types of blood cells that are low in HELLP syndrome
Liver function tests—a blood test that looks at how well your liver is working
Your doctor may send you to a hospital that can provide special care for pregnant women.
Treatment options include the following:
The only cure for HELLP syndrome is delivery of your baby. If your case is not severe and you are 34 weeks pregnant or less, your doctor may recommend trying other treatments until you reach 34 weeks of pregnancy. These treatments include strict bed rest, a low-salt diet, and drinking a lot of fluids.
Corticosteroids (to assist the fetal lungs to mature)
Magnesium sulfate to prevent seizures
Blood pressure medications, if your blood pressure is high
In some cases of HELLP, transfusions of platelets or red blood cells are used to increase the number of these cells in the blood.
There is no known way to prevent HELLP syndrome. If you have HELLP with one pregnancy, you are at increased risk to develop it again during another pregnancy. See your doctor regularly during pregnancy so that if you develop the condition, it can be treated.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a