Iris and Tom’s story | Action Medical Research

Iris and Tom’s story

Pre-eclampsia and premature birth

“When I walked out of hospital with two babies in two baby seats, it was so special. I’ve never had a prouder moment,” says Maria, mum to twins Tom and Iris, six, and their big sister Molly who is eight.

For Maria and husband Terry it is an especially precious memory, since the serious pregnancy complication pre-eclampsia threatened to devastate their family, and resulted in the twins being born two months early by emergency caesarean section.

Maria’s pregnancy progressed smoothly until, at 29 weeks, levels of protein in her urine started to rise. “I had lots of tests, but nobody seemed that worried,” Maria recalls. “I had some swelling in my fingers and toes. I did know this could be a sign of pre-eclampsia, but I felt absolutely fine.”

But when Maria’s GP insisted on a blood test in hospital at 32 weeks, protein levels in Maria’s blood were found to be 30 times higher than normal. Fetal monitoring showed that Iris was in distress and, after that, everything happened at lighting speed.

“It was such a shock; everything had been going fine and then suddenly it wasn’t,” Maria explains. “I didn’t realise how serious it was until I heard a doctor on the phone asking if two incubators were available in the neonatal intensive care unit.”

Thankfully, the twins were delivered safely although Iris needed help to breathe.

Maria spent seven weeks in hospital with her babies: “They needed help with feeding and they needed incubators because they couldn’t regulate their temperatures. They also suffered from jaundice,” she explains.

Maria is keenly aware of the importance of research funded by Action into pre-eclampsia.

“Pre-eclampsia can be so serious for the mother and for the baby. They can lose their lives. An early birth is not without problems and prematurity can have far reaching implications for children,” she says.


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