First Sign of Preeclampsia?

A blog post I read about a month ago had this link, which said that “a stable or rising hemoglobin/hematocrit when the blood volume was beginning to contract” was the first sign of preeclampsia. Because I understood that maternal blood volume increased throughout pregnancy, I asked the site owner about this, and she responded,

The article was talking about the earliest signs of pre-eclampsia and the clinical sypmtoms of a contracted blood volume. When a woman is NOT experiencing the beginnings of pre-eclampsia, her blood volume increases with extra fluid, but it takes several weeks for the hemoglobin/hematocrit to catch up to the amount of fluid in the blood volume. Therefore, when running a blood test for hemoglobin/hematocrit, they appear to drop. If that doesn’t happen, that’s a sign that the blood volume is not expanding it’s fluid content. This is considered to be a warning sign that all is not well.

Interesting. It goes on to talk about maternal diet and fluid intake, to help the body fight preeclampsia. I’ve not heard that before, and wondered what everybody thought of it. I don’t know what this midwife is basing her diagnosis on, although she’s written midwifery textbooks, so I assume that she goes into that in greater detail in those. I assume that obstetricians do not generally believe this, but I wonder if they even have ever heard of it.

I can easily see that OBs would dismiss it out of hand, but I wonder if there have ever been studies undertaken that would disprove this. It is easy to say, “Nope! Won’t work!” And much harder to show that it does or does not work. Just like there have been studies that supposedly show that the Brewer Diet does not work, when you look at the actual studies done, they don’t take pregnant women on the Standard American Diet and put them up against a similar group of pregnant women on the Brewer Diet and see how they fare. Instead, what I’ve seen is that they’ll take one element of the Brewer diet (for instance, high protein, or vitamin C, or whatever part they choose to look at that day), and give one group of women the S.A.D. and the other group of women the S.A.D. with extra protein, vitamin C, or whatever, and then with much fanfare say, “See! It doesn’t work! Extra protein doesn’t keep pregnant women from getting preeclampsia.” Well, maybe protein powder doesn’t work, but natural protein (in the form of whole foods, and in conjunction with the other beneficial nutrients found in whole foods such as beans and broccoli) does work. But they don’t check that. They check artificial foods. And I daresay that adding extra protein on top of a nutrient-deficient diet (of french fries and hot dogs) probably wouldn’t keep anyone from getting any disease or ailment; but perhaps extra protein on top of a nutritious diet might. But we don’t know that, because they don’t check it. (If anyone knows of a study which does actually look at the foods consumed, and not just the types of food [proteins or carbs or whatever, as if all protein were identical] or quantity of food [calories consumed or pounds gained], please let me know. I’m anxious to see it!]


3 Responses

  1. I actually had heard of the hh/pre-eclampsia connection before. But none the less, your info on the trials supposedly trying to disprove the Brewer diet was informative. I had never heard of these studies. Am currently pregnant with my 3rd (although it will be my 2nd live birth) and am adhering to the Brewer Diet. I’ve even communicated a bit with Joy Jones and Gail Brewer Krebb and bit, too! Thanks for the good reminder, to me and everyone else, that protein alone is NOT the solution to pre-clampsia! I need to remind myself of that every day, especially on the days when I just plain don’t feel like following my check-lists, or when I really just want to eat junk.

    I think I’ll go make myself a green smoothie, now. 🙂

  2. The Obstetrical community generally agrees with a high hematacrit and hemoglobin as being a possible sign of Preeclampsia.

    • Thanks, Pinky!

      I hadn’t heard it before, and having only gone to midwives, I wasn’t sure how widespread it was among OBs. I’ve heard of numerous women fearing preeclampsia because of classic symptoms presenting at 30-40 weeks; but I’ve never heard women fearing preeclampsia because of this underlying problem, so I actually figured it was not widely believed. Good to know I was wrong. 🙂

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