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slouching!John

ariadne83 in science_beta

Medical question

I'm writing a fic in which one of the characters has labour induced when their baby is at 36 weeks, due to preeclampsia. What symptoms is the mother likely to have? What are the likely complications for a prem baby? And how long will she and the baby be in hospital?

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For preeclampsia -- the mother may not have many symptoms at all, other than high blood pressure. Some other symptoms may include bloating and fatigue. However, doctors track blood pressure during pregnancy pretty closely -- once you hit the preeclampsia mark they send you right to the hospital. You may not even have the opportunity to go home and get a bag. Unless there are any weird complications, they will send a mother home on schedule, within a few days of birth. The miracle of preeclampsia is that once you give birth it goes away!

A baby born at 36 weeks is borderline premature, but not dangerously so. The child will spend time in the NICU and the doctors will check that breathing and swallowing are on track. My nephew was born at 36 weeks and I think they kept him in the NICU for 3 or 4 days?

Mind you, I am not a doctor -- I've just given birth a couple of times and have had friends who developed preeclampsia and had to be induced. So no malpractice suits, please.
Thanks, that helps a lot. I really want to get the timeline set in my head
If the baby is 36 weeks, it is highly possible that it will go home whenever the mother does. If mom was in bad shape, and they were giving her Mag, then the baby might be depressed for a while, and need some extra TLC. Sometimes 36 weeks will not eat well, but in general they do fairly okay.

As for mom, basically symptoms of high blood pressure-headache, etc. Otherwise I don't recall exactly what else-I deal with the babies, not the moms. ;)
Cool, this is exactly the direction I wanted for my story - not too dramatic but important enough for the health issues to cause some minor worries. Thanks :-)
Preeclampsia symptoms - high blood pressure, swelling of the feet (more than the usual pregnancy swelling), dizziness. One of my friends had it and her legs itched and got blotchy - they thought she had poison ivy, and it was when they were checking her out for that that they realized she had preeclampsia and immediately admitted her.

As for 36 weeks - my daughter was born at 36-1/2 weeks, and they let her go home with me. She did develop mild jaundice two days later, which we home-treated her for after the doctor diagnosed it. The main things they were concerned with at that age were lung development and ability to suck and swallow. There could be later problems with the lungs (my daughter is still prone to bronchial infections at 14) and with eyesight (tendency towards astigmatism)
Thanks, that'll help a lot if I decide to focus more on the baby later
Additionally, with preeclampsia there are lab tests docs use to decide when to deliver. I don't remember all of them, or even the exact values (it's been two and a half years since I did my OB/GYN rotation) but I know that urine protein is important. If it's elevated, an element of early kidney dysfunction is indicated. The mother usually completely recovers once the baby is born. This page has a nice overview of preeclampsia. Hope that helps!
Thanks so much! It's always a challenge trying to find reliable sites on the net