A New Generation of Pregnancy

Recently I wrote about the fantastic stretch-marks that I achieved during my pregnancy with W. And really, they were truly fantastic. And when I wrote about them I happened to mention that I obviously was going to get stretch marks because my mother had them during her pregnancy. Well now it turns out that I misspoke and my mother would like me to clarify that she did not get any stretch marks when she was pregnant. In fact she had a very easy and mellow pregnancy with me. It feels a bit weird that I just assumed that my experience with pregnancy would be a mirror to that of my mother’s experience. Isn’t that how it is supposed to go? Aren’t we just following in the same path?

I went back to my genome results from 23andMe, this is something that I find myself doing more and more as there is always something new to see, or a new survey to complete. I dove into the health and traits section that is specifically geared towards pregnancy and went through each trait comparing and contrasting my data with the data available based on the tests of both my Mother and Grandmother. You would think that we would be, at the very least, somewhat similar, but it turns out, when it comes to our DNA we are pretty different.

The largest genotype discrepancy happens to fall within two biggies of the pregnancy health world: pre-eclampsia and something iI had never heard of before, intrahepatic cholestasis.

Pre-eclampsia was something that I was anxious about during my pregnancy. I knew of several women that had developed it and all had to deliver earlier than they would have liked. I knew it was serious. Big time.

And wouldn’t you know that at my very first official OB appointment I had high blood pressure and was then flagged to watch for pre-e for my entire pregnancy. It seemed like at every appointment there was something of a warning. Early on set of edema around month five. High levels of protein in my urine around month 6. Every week that I went in I braced myself for the words, “you have pre-eclampsia we have to deliver NOW.”

Thankfully I never heard those words and was able to carry my son to term (and then some), but my anxiety about pre-e was always there. And oddly enough it was there without any sort of familial tip off that it should be. My Mother didn’t have any issues, nor did my Grandmother. And now that I am looking back at my genotype results and what sort of things I am at higher odds for I feel incredibly validated.

There, in the mix of health traits and risks, is something that us utterly unique to MY DNA: I have a G at a specific marker where my Mother and Grandmother have an A. That G simply means that I have a substantially higher risk for developing early on-set HELLP (pre-eclampsia). And while I did not have an actual, official diagnosis during my pregnancy my body certainly behaved like it was going there.

I wish I had these results before I became pregnant. In a weird way I feel like it would have comforted me, or at the very least it would have made me feel less shy about calling in to the OB’s office with complaints about my edema. Having a predisposition does not make it an actuality, but it totally makes it something to be on the look out for. I have to wonder if my earlier anxiety about pre-eclampsia was there because my body knew before my mind did that it could happen.



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