A story about  renal care and pregnancy 

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Joy of motherhood: Having a baby, even on dialysis

Only a few women who receive dialysis treatment can have a baby. Estimates indicate less than a thousand cases in which a dialysis patient has given birth to a child—in the entire world. In B. Braun Renal Care Center in Orenburg, Russia, two patients in one center were able to become mothers while under the care of chief physician Dr. Alexander Seliutin. One of the patients, Olga G., tells us about her life, pregnancy and the birth of her baby.

As a child, I had an inflammation in my renal pelvis that developed into a chronic condition. When I was 17, doctors diagnosed renal cysts and nephrosclerosis. I underwent most of the examinations and treatments that were recommended for me. Otherwise, I tried to let the disease have as little influence on my life as possible. In the end, however, it caught up with me—in the form of chronic renal failure. At that time, I was 25 years old. I can say that the disease influenced me more mentally than physically. Of course, I was busy the whole time with my work and social life, but from time to time I wondered what was waiting for me in the future.

Living with renal failure

However, the diagnosis itself imposed many restrictions in nutrition, rhythm of life and for my future. Although more treatments and hospital stays were inevitable, I tried to go on living as normally as possible. I was involved in my job, which I was successful in and I liked to travel. I especially liked Egypt because it combines everything that I love: a beautiful and very warm sea and ancient and mysterious architecture.

Pregnancy and dialysis

Over the course of my life it worried me when the doctors advised me not to get pregnant. It would be too much of a burden for me, they said—my kidneys were too weak and could stop working altogether. However, I had this wish inside me. One winter I had two severe colds that led to a marked worsening of my hemoglobin and creatinine levels. Then I discovered I was pregnant. I was 36 years old, and I decided to do everything I could to have this baby. Yes, I realized that there was a risk. I took an informed risk. I always compared my condition with the average condition for a pregnant woman. My state at that time was quite satisfactory. In spite of my poor blood test measurements, I felt quite healthy. I was only suffering from nausea a bit, as many women do.

But one day my kidney values got worse. It was time to start dialysis—that day would have come sooner or later, but it would have been later without the pregnancy. Because I was pregnant, I had to undergo dialysis treatment for four hours a day not just three times a week, but six. After a while, I was able to go home between treatments, but only for a short time. Not enough blood was getting to the baby, and I had to be admitted to the hospital again. There was a high probability that I might develop a severe pregnancy disorder, but I was lucky . . . the due date kept getting closer and closer. Fortunately, the baby arrived naturally, although it was a month before the expected due date.

My doctors and my family gave me tremendous support the whole time I was pregnant. I’m very grateful to them, because without them I would never have experienced that long-awaited moment of happiness — the birth of my little baby boy. This December he already turns three, and my family and I are looking forward to this special day and the holiday season as well. We are going to spend Christmas and New Year together, meet with family and friends and just enjoy the magical atmosphere. 

Further information and related stories

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Life is Change - Living with Dialysis Patient Guide
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