I've been diagnosed with preeclampsia. Do I need to be admitted to the hospital for the rest of my pregnancy? Can I be monitored from home?
Our Admin, Jennifer Hohulin Heiniger, writes:
There are a lot of factors that go into the decision of whether to admit someone to the hospital. Doctors look at things like how far along you are, how any previous pregnancies went, how your current pregnancy is going, even how far away you live. Preeclampsia is hard to predict. Sometimes it moves quickly and sometimes slowly. The average time from diagnosis to delivery is around two weeks, but that includes a wide range from those who deliver immediately to those who stay stable for weeks or even months. When severe symptoms start to appear, it can get very bad very quickly. Some of our members have been admitted for the duration of their pregnancies for hospital bed rest. If your doctor recommends it in your case, they should be able to explain why. You can ask what they are watching for that will tell them it is time to deliver. You can ask what tests they will be doing each day, how often you will see them for rounds, etc. You can also ask about hospital resources for long-term patients. They may have a therapist on staff you can talk to, for example. Being in the hospital can be scary and boring. It is natural to feel anxious or depressed. You can also discuss medication options. They may also have activities you can do. You can ask if you are stable enough to walk around or go outside for a short time each day. You can ask about visitor policies, which can change depending on the situation in your community. Can your partner or another support person stay with you all the time? Can you have more than one or two visitors at a time? If you have other children at home, can they visit? You can also work with your nurses to make your stay as good as possible. My night nurses would come in immediately at shift change to do my hour of fetal monitoring. Then I could have a solid 6 hours of sleep before the lab tech came in for my morning blood draw. It helped a lot not to be woken for monitoring at 3am. If you have nurses you like, or nurses you do not like, you can ask to have them put onto or off of your scheduled care. Other members have been able to stay at home after diagnosis with frequent appointments. Your doctor can explain how often you will have appointments and what tests they recommend at each one. They should also give you instructions on symptoms to watch for between appointments and what to do if you notice something. If anything starts to change, do not be afraid to call or go in for evaluation. See some questions and talking points to communicate with your care team here.