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What is the HELLP syndrome for a pregnant woman?

By Anonymous March 26, 2009 - 1:27pm
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My friend, who is at risk for pre-eclampsia (is that when a pregnant woman has high blood pressure?), says she's also at risk for the HELLP syndrome.

Can you tell me what this is, and what she can do to prevent it?

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This is scary. I suffered from this and had to have an emergency C-section with my twins at only 28 weeks. I was so ill from high blood pressure, liver failure, imminent kidney failure, and also had a mild seizure, that my OB had to deliver the twins or I would have died within hours. Is your friend experiencing high blood pressure? That's usually the first sign of pre-eclampsia. How many weeks into the pregnancy is she?

March 26, 2009 - 8:56pm

This is quoted from our EmpowHer Encyclopedia:

HELLP syndrome is a rare but serious condition (a form of preeclampsia) that occurs during pregnancy or just after delivery. HELLP stands for:

Liver enzymes (showing liver damage)
Low Platelet count
HELLP involves three types of problems:

Hemolysis—(the destruction of red blood cells) can lead to anemia (low red blood cells) and feeling tired.
High liver enzymes—liver enzymes are chemicals in the blood that show how well the liver is working. High levels of enzymes mean the liver has been damaged.
Low platelet count—since platelets are cells that help bleeding stop, a low level of platelets can lead to problems with bleeding too long.

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

How is your friend doing?

March 26, 2009 - 7:32pm
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