Planning for #2 - Going High Risk

Updated on February 12, 2010
K.W. asks from Denver, CO
13 answers

My two year old daughter (first pregnancy) was born 12 weeks early because I had severe HELLP syndrome and the only way to "cure" it was to deliver. She measured at the size of a 24 weeker because my placenta was "hyper-mature." Now we are thinking about having number 2. (I personally believe that siblings are a great gift to each other.) We had a consult with a peri-natel doctor who said I would be considered high-risk without a doubt and that I would be watched very closely - appointments every two weeks, ultrasounds once a month, possible bed rest if things get dicey. And there's a possibility that nothing would happen. But I'm terrifed. I don't know if I'm completely over delivering early in the first place. I'm afraid I would end up resenting the new baby because it was such an ordeal. Am I crazy? How did you get through your high-risk pregnancy?

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answers from Honolulu on

I wonder if there are some kind of support groups for high risk Moms?
If not, maybe try those community social groups online & do a Google search?

All the best,

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answers from Austin on

My bestfriend's first baby was delivered at 26 weeks because of HELLPs and he did not survive. HELLPs is serious; definitely research all the possibilities. When my friend got pregnant again, it was a much more doctor-intensive pregnancy with doctors appointments and blood/heart monitors (at her home), and medication to control her blood pressure. The first pregnancy had her hospitalized for 5 weeks (she came from from dinner one night and began having chest pains/heart attack). For her second pregnancy, she was hospitalized again in the antepartum wing of the hospital for 3 weeks before delivery (basically once her tests hit a certain level, she was hospitalized), given the injections to mature the lungs and delivered at 34 weeks. (Apparently, for some reason girls have a better chance of survival than boys.)

It was a tough choice for her to get pregnant again. Everyone envisions the wonderful outcome (mother is fine, baby is fine), but there were other outcomes that she and her husband had to visualize (and plan for) before getting pregnant the second time: 1) mother survives, baby survives but child has life-long complications from the early birth; 2) mother survives (with or without related health issues), baby does not; 3) mother does not survive, baby survives (with or without complications); 4) both mother and child do not survive.

I've asked her if she would have another baby and was told, at this point she is not inclined to risk orphaning her daughter. (Sorry, I know that sounds blunt, but that was her thoughts...) I think this is important to mention: In regard to the outcome of her 2nd pregnancy, both her and her daughter are fine; no apparent complications for either.

If you do decide to get pregnant again, you should plan for the possibility that you could be hospitalized for several weeks before delivery. This means you may need to 1) get family members ready to help with the care of your daughter and 2) review your health insurance policy to make sure your 'life time coverage limit' has enough credit remaining to cover the potential cost of an other high risk pregnancy, antepartum hospitalization and NEO-natal care, if necessary. (You definitely don't want any unexpected hospital bills on top of everything else!)

Sorry this response is so doom and gloom. (I was so scared for her...) Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I too had HELLP with my first pregnancy, but unfortunatley had to deiver my son too soon and he did not make it {8 years on the 24th of this month}, but I can tell you that I now have two beautiful children and I was high risk with both of them with Ultra Sounds every 2 weeks and monitored very closely with my doctors. I say if you and your husband are serious, go for it. I loved being high risk becuase I felt like I received such great care during my pregnancies...which were both very successful and I did not get HELLP on either of them.
Good luck!!



answers from Boise on

I don't know all the details, but my friend had HELLP a year and a half ago, and is pregnant now. She said her doctor isn't too worried about her getting HELLP again, and expects her to be just fine. Of course, there's a chance it'll happen again, and maybe they're watching her extra close, but she's not freaking out, and she's the type to freak out.

Sorry I don't have any high-risk experience myself to share!



answers from Houston on

Please contact me and I will share the info I have.



answers from Denver on

I've had a few problems and am considered high risk, but I have 3 mostly healthy kids, so I'm not sure I totally understand. My second successful pregnancy I had to quit everything other than caring for my first. It was tough, but I have a relatively healthy 3yo now, with no health issues stemming from the tough pregnancy. With my third it was tougher. I had weekly appts. most the time with weekly non-stress tests, daily shots, and monthly ultrasounds. It really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I actually got to where I enjoyed getting to see my daughter grow each month, and the non-stress tests were such a nice quiet time. (No kids allowed to keep it quiet so I could pay attention.) I enjoyed the time just to spend with her (feeling her kick, etc.) and doing relaxing reading, etc. Something you don't normally get when there are older siblings. Although I had lots of serious symptoms, some of which had caused me to lose babies before, even as far along as 5+ months, her pregnancy was very routine as far as how I felt, etc. I loved my doc and would love to send her info to you, if you want another opinion. I would make sure you feel comfortable no matter how it turns out. Maybe it will be crazy and stressful, but maybe not. Keep in mind, sometimes high risk just means not smooth. It doesn't always mean complicated. I should mention, other than severe sickness for most of the pregnancy, my first successful pregnancy was perfect even though I was considered high risk, so you never know.



answers from Boise on

A good friend of mine is about 25 weeks into her second pregnancy - Her first pregnancy complicated with severe HELLP syndrome and she delivered her daughter at 30 weeks (she is happy and healthy at nearly 18 months). She has been told she has a 1 in 6 chance of developing the problems again. Her doctor has had her take a baby asprin everyday and after an appointment with slightly elevated BP she was given a BP medicine. Everyone is concerned about early delivery (this baby will be a boy) but they are watching her carefully and she knows what to look for as far as symptoms go this time around. There is a group on Facebook that she is a part of - I have read the stories on the message board, the stories go both ways - healthy pregnancies and HELLP complications the second/third/fourth times around. It is a personal decision but there is a lot of infomation out there to help with the decision. Good luck!


answers from Salt Lake City on

I had a set of triplets, and of course that pregnancy was high risk. I had appointments every two weeks, then weekly, ultra sounds at nearly every appointment. I was on bed rest from beginning to end. I had complications, strange side effects, weird symptoms. I gained an embarrassing amount, and I spent 5 weeks in the hospital. I then spent the following 16 weeks making daily trips (30 miles each way) to visit the babies.

It was my hardest pregnancy in some (obvious) ways, but because of the extra care and attention I received from my doctors, it was my easiest pregnancy in other ways.

I don't resent anything except the stretch marks and saggy skin! I love those boys! I would do it again in a minute (if only I were younger and dumber!) lol

good luck!



answers from Denver on

I really recommend using doulas to help you through this. A birth doula will be there through your pregnancy for support and help at your birth. A antepartum doula will help with household stuff while on bedrest.

W. Nichols-Dewey, CD(DONA)



answers from Provo on

There is some evidence that HELLP syndrome can be ameliorated or averted by sufficient dietary levels of protein, b-vitamins, and magnesium. Surprisingly, not all pre-natal vitamins have sufficient levels of these. Check the FDA recommendations, and the amounts in your vitamins, and use additional supplements as necessary. There is also evidence that starting vitamins at least three months before you get pregnant can be helpful.
Also, HELLP syndrome is also far less common in second or later pregnancies; you may want to talk to another doctor, or find someone who is willing to take each pregnancy on a case-by-case basis.
Best of luck!



answers from Denver on
this yahoo group saved my life during my 8 weeks of hospital bedrest with my second pregancy. My first child was born at 24 weeks, weighing 1 lb 11 oz. I saw a high risk doctor who specialized in perinatal care and it was very helpful. I started dilating at 28 weeks and went into labor at 29 weeks - stayed in the hospital for 8 weeks and the baby was born at 27 weeks.

the Post Preemie Pregnancy Group (pppg) was wonderful - moms from around the world who were pregnant after having a preemie. Lots of helpful BTDT as well as support and nurturing any hour of the day or night, since we were all in different time zones around the world. It made my life so much easier to bear knowing I wasn't alone.



answers from Salt Lake City on

I had 4 high risk pregnancies, and 2 low risk. My high risk pregnancies were with boys and my low risk were with girls. I had a hormonal imbalance that made it impossible to carry a boy to term. I had an abrupted placentae with each one. I have 2 living sons and 2 that passed away. The coice to have another pregnancy was very difficult. I made it a matter of prayer. I love my children, and always wanted them, but I could have left my husband raising the children on his own, if things had not worked out so well. I chose to stop having children so my husband wouldn't be left wifeless, and my children would have a mother. My last 2 sons were born at 32 weeks and 25 weeks. They are now 21 and 16



answers from Denver on

HELLP syndrome is usually considered to be a variant of pre-eclampsia. I highly suggest that you read "What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know" By Gail Brewer and Dr. Tom Brewer. It is an older book, so you can usually find it easily second hand (such as on Amazon). It is amazing the evidence they found for the important role of diet and nutrition in sustaining a healthy pregnancy and preventing pre-eclampsia. One of the biggest take-aways I had when reading it is that during pregnancy you need at least 75-100 grams of protein every day. Most OBs do not talk much about nutrition, and it is not something extensively studied in med school. It is worth looking into on your own to see what you can do proactively to support your health.

I wish you all the best,

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