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Ruth X

Age at interview: 42
Age at diagnosis: 42
Brief Outline: Ruth was pregnant with her second son. She developed pre-eclampsia with her first son was invited to join the BuMP trial.
Background: Ruth is married and was pregnant with her second son. She is a research manager.

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Ruth had developed pre-eclampsia during her first pregnancy. That was 5 years ago when she was 37 years old.  She self-monitored her own blood pressure during that pregnancy. So when she got pregnant again, aged 42, she expected to have a lot of monitoring through her pregnancy. She was happy to engage with self-monitoring of her blood pressure as part of the study. Her second pregnancy was complicated by the development of gestational diabetes at 10 weeks. She had her son by caesarean section at 38 weeks. Monitoring did not reveal any raised blood pressure during pregnancy, but after her son was born Ruth did have raised readings for a three or four weeks.
 

Ruth X had extra monitoring from 28 weeks into her first pregnancy through a specialist maternity care unit.

Ruth X had extra monitoring from 28 weeks into her first pregnancy through a specialist maternity care unit.

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Because of my medical history, I am under what they call [name of specialist maternity care] Care. So [name of specialist maternity care] is, encompasses all the problems that you would have with diabetes, with placental problems like placenta abruptions and pre-eclampsia and various things like that, HELLP syndrome, all sorts of weird and bizarre things. I think they also deal with things like obstetric cholestasis, if I’ve got that right, various things like that. So they are my main point of call and in normal appointments, so you have a certain number of normal appointments in your pregnancy that you’d have with your midwife or with your GP. And they sort of outrank those so I tend to have more hospital appointments than I would have seeing my midwife or my GP. I still see my midwife and GP but they’re they, they always say have those on top and it’s almost like a paper filling exercise seeing my GP. So, for example, I went to see my GP at twenty five weeks for the twenty five week meeting but that was purely to get my MAT1 form signed because the hospital don’t do it. But all the other care is done in the hospital. So I have routine appointments ever three weeks but, depending on what’s happening with the diabetes or my blood pressure, it can be sooner or later. And then, in between that, I’m also having, now having scans every four weeks and it goes down I think at 32 weeks, I then I start having them every two weeks. 
 

Ruth X had pre-eclampsia in her first pregnancy and she self-monitored her blood pressure in a subsequent pregnancy. She explained that she may become unwell to her young son so he was aware that she may have to stay in hospital.

Ruth X had pre-eclampsia in her first pregnancy and she self-monitored her blood pressure in a subsequent pregnancy. She explained that she may become unwell to her young son so he was aware that she may have to stay in hospital.

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He’s older and, he’s old enough because he’s five to understand and we’ve been quite honest with him and he’s come to some of the hospital appointments so he knows that, you know, he has to be a bit careful with mummy and all the rest of it because, you know, mummy’s growing a baby and, you know, needs lots of monitoring and I could be sick and I could end up in hospital. So he knows that, you know, it’s not going, if I do end up in hospital, it’s not going to be a sudden shock to him and he know, understood that part of you know, mummy being a little bit poorly with the pregnancy, was, you know, she’s going to have to monitor her blood pressure and do a test, sometimes he’s actually reminded me [laughs].
 

Ruth X had a special arrangement in her first pregnancy with her doctors which meant she was allowed to monitor her own blood pressure at home. She took part in the BuMP study in a following pregnancy.

Ruth X had a special arrangement in her first pregnancy with her doctors which meant she was allowed to monitor her own blood pressure at home. She took part in the BuMP study in a following pregnancy.

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I’d been attached to the [name of specialist maternity care] unit at 28 weeks because of my medical history. I have polycystic ovaries and because I was termed an older mother because I was 37 at the time, they deemed that I needed a little bit of extra supervision. And one of the things that they decided then was that I needed to have my blood pressure taken very regularly because I was at risk of getting pre-eclampsia. And so there was a bit of a hoo-ing and haa-ing because they said I should have it done at the GP’s surgery and the GP didn’t want the, to take my blood pressure every two days. He thought that was a bit too onerous and so we came to an agreement that I would self-monitor at home using a, you know, a standard monitoring blood pressure monitoring kit that I bought from Boots and so I did morning and evening tests every day and then at 32 weeks, I had a bit of a spike on one of my blood pressure readings. So I phoned the clinic and went into the outpatients day patients’ unit and they kept me there overnight. 
 

Ruth X explained some of the reasons why she wanted to take part in the BuMP study.

Ruth X explained some of the reasons why she wanted to take part in the BuMP study.

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And also I mean, from a selfish point of view, taking part in a trial also allows you access to other healthcare professionals so, you know, if you had issues about certain things, couldn’t get hold of your own practitioners, there is a help line and a number for you to contact them and then they’re more than willing to get advice for you if you’re after a particular issue. So it gives you another access in to other health professionals if you if you need to. I haven’t needed to but, you know, it’s there if I did, so I mean that’s a sort of, you know, selfish reason for doing it but, you know, it’s only it’s only one of the reasons. It’s not the sole reason I’ve taken part in in the trial.

And do you find that reassuring that you’ve got.

Yes.

Another layer of.

Yeah.

Professionals? 

If you need to, yeah, if you need to. It gives you, I think in, certainly in other people that have taken part in trials as well that I’ve talked to and things like that, I think the extra monitoring or the extra provision of information or people that you can go to talk to is very reassuring and helpful for people. Because sometimes, I mean you do, although I have to say so far the information that I’ve received from my healthcare providers from the [special care] team and my GP and midwife has been very good, you know, that not, that’s not always been my experience in the past and you sometimes, the internet is very good for providing some information but you do have to balance it with the evidence and knowing the right sources to go to and also it it’s also very much, certainly in my case, everything is very, very individual and it’s how your own body, so that you can find some pieces of information say x, y and z is going to happen but, actually, that’s probably not going to happen to you and you need to have a professional to talk through your particular circumstances. 

And you do sometimes wonder, you know, whether or not you’re going to be able to get that time with a health professional. So far, I’ve not had a problem. They’ve answered everything I’ve needed to have answered but, you know, if it had been the same as my previous pregnancy, where I wasn’t getting information and taking part in a trial, that, in within that pregnancy, I would have really been grateful for the extra information or the extra place I could go onto and ask for extra advice or a second opinion as I didn’t feel they were acting in my best interests then.
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