Polycystic Kidney Disease and Pregnancy

I’ve written before about how I have Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). I have ADPKD, which means that it is hereditary and passed down on the dominant gene. Basically, while you’re born with it, it doesn’t usually affect you until between the age of 30 and 60. Polycystic Kidney Disease causes fluid-filled cysts to grow on the kidneys, which gradually impact upon the kidney’s function and leave the proud owner of said kidneys requiring a transplant. My mum had a transplant in 1991 and (thankfully) is still going strong at the age of 71.

My mum’s pregnancy with me took a pretty heavy toll on her kidneys and she was on dialysis by the time I had started school. My situation is very different to hers, though. I was diagnosed during childhood and, as a result, have been monitored annually to check that my blood pressure and kidney function is doing exactly what it should be doing.

I was fortunate to come out of my pregnancy with Little M completely unscathed in the renal department, and my consultant was super laid back about it all (so laid back that he didn’t really see any need to see me any more than usual – he did though, just to put my mind at rest!). All I had to do was take aspirin daily from twelve weeks to combat the slightly increased risk of pre-eclampsia, and had additional scans at 28, 32 and 36 weeks. I’m not entirely sure what they original purpose of those scans was, as in the end they became more about the fact that Little M was breech, and a bit on the small side, rather than anything to do with my kidneys.

This time, though, appears to be a slightly different kettle of fish. I’m not sure why. My kidneys are still functioning well and it’s been less than 18 months since I was pregnant with Little M. Nothing has changed concerning my renal health. When I went for my anomaly scan at 13 weeks, I was slightly put out as I wasn’t allowed to see a consultant – the receptionist (incorrectly!) told me that my midwife hadn’t requested consultant care, and I was bluntly informed that I needed to speak to her and sent on my merry way. Needless to say, my midwife was not impressed when I saw her earlier in the week and relayed this to her!

Anyway, at my ‘you’ve had one caesarean what are you going to do this time?‘ appointment, the consultant I saw was a little more cautious over my Polycystic Kidney Disease. He ordered further blood tests as he wanted ‘a baseline’ (I blame the negligent receptionist for this as they could have just tested the sample I’d provided two weeks earlier at my screening appointment) and a scan of my kidneys.

My renal consultant has always said that there’s no need to scan my kidneys, as my bloods and urine tell them everything that they need to know, but unfortunately, between May and now, he’s left the hospital. So I can’t call on him for support and have no idea who my new renal consultant is. I’ll find out soon enough, though, as the obstetric consultant that I ordered the kidney scan has also brought forward my routine renal clinic appointment to early November.

Hopefully once I see him or her, things will calm down a bit, as they’ll say the obstetric chap was overreacting and I can relax through my pregnancy like I did the last one. In the meantime, I’ve got to starve myself all morning tomorrow in advance of this kidney scan (I know, on a Sunday for heaven’s sake!) and have my blood pressure checked by the midwife every fortnight. I’ve already got scans booked in for 28, 32, 36 and 40 weeks. Apparently this time it’s because there’s a higher risk of abnormalities in the kidneys due to my PKD. I’m not sure that’s accurate though, and look forward to discussing it with my renal consultant.

I think I’d better make a list of questions!

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2 Comments

  1. Emma
    November 20, 2017 / 7:54 am

    Hi I’d love to chat with you. I have been diagnosed with PKD (I lost my mum to it when I was 6, she had a aneurism)
    The blood result have come back and my kidneys are functioning normally. Yay! I’d like another baby and thought it’s not doable now but having read your blog I feel it’s not a definite no.
    Thanks

    • Jules
      November 20, 2017 / 11:52 am

      Hi, I’m so sorry to hear about your mum but it’s great that your kidneys are functioning normally. I’m so pleased my blog has helped in some way. Obviously I’m not a medical professional and I don’t know your history, but I would say speak with your consultant. My kidney function is good (>90), my blood pressure has been stable for years (aside from a blip around 7 years ago where it didn’t get on with the contraceptive pill!) and I’m under 35, so my consultant told me there’s no reason for me not to have a second baby. If you’d like to chat more then please find me on my Facebook page (facebook.com/ponderingparenthood) and you can message me there.

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