Pregnancy, Pre-eclampsia, and Protein in the Urine
Another week, another question from an email subscriber: I had eclampsia in July 2008, I would have loved a kidney consult! Can there be any long term consequences of protein in the urine in pregnancy?
Dr. Aaronson: Thank you so much for your question! I appreciate the fact that you value my opinion.
Pre-eclampsia refers to high blood pressure and protein spillage in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy in a woman who had a normal blood pressure prior to getting pregnant. When the preeclampsia gets bad enough, a person may have a seizure. When this occurs the woman is said to have eclampsia. Normally, delivery of the baby is the treatment of choice to protect both the mother and the infant.
Mothers are at risk for recurrence of pre-eclampsia/eclampsia during their next pregnancy. Those who were diagnosed early on in the pregnancy and were noted to have been in critical condition have a 25-65% risk of reoccurrence. OB-Gyn doctors will watch you very closely and try to help prevent a recurrence.
Unfortunately, women diagnosed with preeclampsia are at greater risk than their counterparts for heart disease and stroke and should be treated aggressively by their provider for any risks they might have. Also, these women have an increased risk of kidney disease, including the need for dialysis. You may want to find out how much protein you currently are spilling in your urine. That helps the doctor make decisions regarding your care.
My recommendation: make sure you see your doctor and focus on preventive care and goal rate attainment. If you note that you have a GFR of 60 or less, have residual protein in your urine, or have any concern regarding your kidney function, please feel free to make an appointment with a kidney specialist.