Poppy Harlow was reporting the news at CNN this morning when her words started to slur, and she eventually passed out. Poppy is pregnant with a due date in March.
On her twitter feed, Poppy reported she and the baby are fine and under the doctors’ care. However, you should not ignore certain signs such as slurred speech and immediately go to the emergency room.
Slurred speech during pregnancy can be a sign of Pre-eclampsia and Eclampsia. These are serious conditions and need to be addressed right away.
What is Pre-eclampsia and Eclampsia?
Pre-eclampsia is a condition that occurs during pregnancy. It affects approximately 7% of all pregnant women. It is characterized by hypertension (blood pressure >140/90) and proteinuria (protein in your urine) after 20 weeks gestation.
If left untreated, the symptoms get progressively worse. Two different complications of Pre-eclampsia are Eclampsia (seizures) and HELLP (Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzyme levels, Low Platelet count). Read more about HELLP here. Another complication is disseminated intravascular coagulation (bleeding into the skin and clotting simultaneously and can induce organ failure), which is fatal.
Not only is Pre-eclampsia life-threatening for the mother, but it can cause growth retardation, decreased fetal movement, chronic hypoxia (decreased oxygen flow to the brain), or even death in the fetus. If Eclampsia develops, the patient has a risk for placenta abruption, neurological deficits, aspiration pneumonia (inhalation of substances that infect the lung), pulmonary edema, cardiopulmonary arrest, acute renal failure (declining kidney function), and death.
The cause of Pre-eclampsia is unknown. But several risk factors have been identified that may predispose a woman to developing Pre-eclampsia: maternal age; obesity; family history; more than one pregnancy; patient history of diabetes mellitus; chronic hypertension; and malnutrition. It tends to occur most frequently in pregnant adolescents, in women over age 35, and in African-American women.
If diagnosed with Pre-eclampsia, bed rest is the treatment. Possible hospitalization and induced labor may occur if condition is severe.
You can decrease your chances of developing this condition by going regularly to your OB-GYN, and if discovered, treatment can start immediately.