Preeclampsia is a condition that can lead to an
unplanned preterm birthbefore 37 weeks of gestation. This can be a serious issue, as premature babies are at a higher risk of having difficulty breathing and feeding, vision or hearing problems, developmental delays, and cerebral palsy. It is difficult to determine the exact contribution of prematurity and preeclampsia to the cardiovascular phenotype of people exposed to these pregnancy complications, since they are often intertwined. Preterm birth is associated with an increase in the mass of the left ventricle (VI) and the right ventricle (RV) during the first months of postnatal life.
When a mother develops preeclampsia before the baby matures, doctors must carefully consider the risks for both the mother and baby of continuing the pregnancy and the risks for the baby of preterm delivery. Premature babies may also have problems related to organ development, body temperature regulation, and in some cases, preeclampsia or intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) that may have caused them to be small for gestational age (SGA). Women who had a history of preeclampsia-related preterm births were more likely to have a preeclampsia-related preterm birth in a subsequent pregnancy compared to women who had had a previous term birth. The additional trauma of a birth complication, a premature baby, and the atmosphere of a NICU can all contribute to feelings of depression.
However, prematurity did not affect endothelial colony-forming cell (ECFC) levels in preeclampsia, as these levels were lower compared to normotensive controls in both preterm and term groups. Every year, about 27,000 babies are born prematurely in Australia, making it the leading cause of death and morbidity in children up to five years of age in developed countries. There may be an increased risk of preterm birth due to preeclampsia among women whose previous pregnancies ended in premature birth due to preeclampsia. This cardiovascular risk is correlated with the severity of the disease, with early-onset preeclampsia (which occurs in less than 20% of cases) being associated with a greater risk than late-onset preeclampsia (which occurs in more than 80% of cases).
People who were born prematurely have their own unique cardiovascular risk profile, making it difficult to differentiate between these populations. Endothelial colony-forming cells in preterm infants increase and are more susceptible to hyperoxia. However, there is increasing evidence that a complicated first pregnancy, regardless of whether the baby was born prematurely or at term, increases the subsequent risk of a baby being born prematurely. Katie's experience reflects much of the uncertainty surrounding preeclampsia, despite how common a condition it is.
The needs of premature babies after being discharged from the NICU can also have a negative impact on mothers' mental health.