Should I Try Another Pregnancy After HELLP Syndrome?

Updated on January 23, 2010
K.P. asks from River Falls, WI
6 answers

I am a mom to a beautiful 15 month old daughter, but during my first pregnancy, I developed HELLP syndrome and had to deliver at 25 weeks gestation by emergency c-section. My daughter, a micro-preemie, has done marvelously and has no long-term issues of being premature, but I am nervous about a having another child. Do any of you have experience with this?! The specialists have told me that the risk of developing HELLP syndrome again is proabably less than 20%, with recurrance usually resulting later in the pregnancy (which is good!), and I would be treated as a high-risk pregnancy. My husband are debating on whether to have another child.

I would love to chat with someone out there who has gone through this tough decision before and find out how you came to a decision and how it's turned out.

Thank you!

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answers from Sioux Falls on

I have not had HELLP Syndrome issues, but different medical issues that affected me and one of my babaies before they were born. I feel the most important thing is to make an informed decision with all of the facts, including the risks. If you truly want another child, then it is up to you as to whether the risk is worth it. I would not give up either of my children for the world and had to deal with complications as well. The news from the doctors sounds good so far, especially reduced likelihood of recurrence, and they know what to watch. GOOD LUCK! I will keep you in my prayers if that is ok with you!
C. Louise H. - disabled mom and part time Latasia Jewelry Designer


answers from La Crosse on

i found this site for you hopefully with this and with the wonderful advice from the women here it will help!

this is what it said~

Patients with a history of HELLP probably are at significant risk for the development of pre-eclampsia with or without HELLP in the next pregnancy. HELLP has up to a 27% chance of reoccurance in the next pregnancy. Especially if it was class I HELLP.
Pre-eclampsia is more likely to happen in a second pregnancy especially if HELLP and pre-eclampsia were both diagnosed. Mild pre-eclampsia at term is less likely to recur (5-10%) and when it does it's usually mild again.

A characteristic of pre-eclampsia-eclampsia that is frequently overlooked is the tendency of the condition to occur in daughters and sisters of women with a history of pre-eclampsia (read an article about autoimmune disorders that cluster among families).
Diabetes is frequently complicated by pre-eclampsia, with the incidence stated to be as high as 50 percent of diabetic pregnancies.

2 sources of support, encouragement and information for those who are debating on getting pregnant again or are pregnant again can check out the following mailing lists:
- The HELLP Syndrome List
- Post Preemie Pregnancy Group

One very important suggestion is to have an Maternal Fetal Specialist or Ob that you trust. One that you know will be concerned over entire pregnancy.

Ask your OB what measures he or she will be taking to monitor this next pregnancy such as:

-The Basics -
Blood Pressure - at every visit
Urine - at every visit
Weight - at every visit

Although remember that only monitoring of the platelet level will give a definte indicator of whether or not HELLP is developing. Weight gain and some protine levels in the urine can be considered normal for 3rd trimester pregnancies.

-Beyond the Basics -
*Thyroid testing
*Liver function testing
*Platelet monitoring
*Amniotic Fluid monitoring
*Ultrasound to measure growth and fluid levels
*Frequent visits to your OB before during and after the time HELLP manifested itself in your last pregnancy (with HELLP).
*Non-Stress Testing during and after the time HELLP manifested itself during your last pregnancy (with HELLP).

Ask your OB also:

Has your OB reviewed your last pregnancy with HELLP?
Did he request the medical records from the hospital?
What chance does your OB think that you will have HELLP or PRe-Eclmapsia again?

If you have had HELLP and still have health problems or are considering getting pregnant again after HELLP discuss with your OB further testing to help guide yourself to a healthy pregnancy.

Does he see any signs of any autoimmune disorders that you should be tested for such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Antiphospholipid Antibodies ?

Autoimmune testing should include:
1.Lieden Factor V mutation R560Q (DNA test by PCR);
2.Hyperhomocysteinemia MTHFR Mutation (DNA test
3.Prothrombin Gene Mutation 20210 (GA) DNA test by PCR
4.Protein C levels;
5.Protein S levels; and
6.Activated Protein C activity.

1.Antibodies to six phospholipids of the IgM, IgG
and IgA classes;
2.Lupus anticoagulant antibody;
3.Russell Viper Venom Time;
4.Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time (APTT);
5.and Prothrombin Time (PT), Partial Prothrombin
Time (PTT).

Don't stop asking your OB about something that bothers or concerns you until you get an answer that you are comfortable with. If you feel like you have the flu, if you think that baby isn't moving enough, if you have indigestion that won't go away call your OB even if it's after hours and if you are still concerned go to the hospital.

Still looking for more HELLP information? Prevention will take you to the next page. Also if you have a HELLP story to share please stop by the HELLP Syndrome Birth Stories Page and leave or read a story. Here you will also find up to date HELLP/Pre-E net articles and books. You wil also find WebRing information at the above listed url.

i'm not sure if you can click on the links or if you will have to copy and paste them into the search box.
good luck with your decision!



answers from Cleveland on

I had HELLP too. I had to have an emergency c-section too but not until 33 weeks, I was lucky. I'm also lucky like you and have a wonderful 4 month old boy that will have no long term problems. My husband and I are also really scared about trying for a second child and I went to my OB to talk to her about it a few weeks ago and she recommended we choose another way to have a baby instead of the traditional, but by her own admission she is very very conservation. She said that if I do want to have another baby then as long as we are monitored very closely through the pregnancy as high risk, have multiple ultrasounds, and probably lots of bedrest that we would just try to get me to 32 weeks. It's definitely something to think about but at least we know how well we are taken care of in NICU if we decide to have another baby and are not able to make it to term IF we develop HELLP again. Good luck in your decision!



answers from Green Bay on

Hi K.:
I did not have HELLP syndrome with my pregnancy, but since then have been diagnosed with a medical condition that would make a pregnancy possibly very risky for a baby and for me. My husband and I eventually decided that A.) we were blessed to have had the experience of a pregnancy and birth, B.) we are blessed with a "birth child" (ie. biologically ours), C.) we wanted another child. Long story short, we chose to adopt and to adopt internationally. I don't want to impose our views on you, but just to let you know I have been where you are and know what you are going through trying to make this decision. In our case, we now have a beautiful, very spirited 4 yo daughter (adopted from China)at 14 mos. I worried about missing the "baby stage" but you really don't. I'd be happy to share our experience if you want to know more! Good luck with your decision!


Mom to Andrew (13 yrs) and Karis - which means "Graceful" just like her Chinese name, Guo Xiu (4 yrs)



answers from Minneapolis on

I did not have HELLP syndrome but I delivered my first child at 33 weeks. Trying to stop labor was unsuccessful. I had her vaginally. There was no known reason for her to be premature that was ever found. I did consult a perinatologist (spelling?) with my 2nd and 3rd pregnancies. I was high risk and watched carefully. I had my 2nd daughter at 35 weeks and my son at 37 weeks with bed rest and medications. Minnesota Perinatologist have several locations. I don't think you need a refferal. Having a preemie is very traumatic! Best of luck.



answers from Minneapolis on

If this helps at all:

My first pregnancy became highrisk because of preclampsia(highbloodpressure) and gest.diabetes. This was 7 years ago. My daughter was born premature and I had a pregnancy from hell.

I am now pregnant again with #2 and already my obgyn has transferred me to the highrisk perinatologist specialists. I have a 50/50 of developing all these problems again and having another premature birth. I'm only 12 weeks pregnant and I'm already having major problems again so it's been decided it's almost a guarantee that this baby is going to be premature. I can't help it and I have to just pray for the best. I am confident I will have a sucessful delivery and healthy baby again. I was scared for years to try and have another baby and this one wasn't exactly planned but my advise is all you can do is try. I could lose the baby and that would be a horrible loss and I don't even want to think like that but my chances of having a healthy baby(even premature) out way the risks. Atleast with this pregnancy they are watching me like a hawk and are alot more serious and proactive. I would talk to your obgyn and have them tell you your risks and develop a plan of action if having another child is a good option for you. I know I've been told no 2 pregnancies are alike.

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