The Straits Times recently reported news of a mum who was hit by stroke seven months into her pregnancy — a case which really got the attention of many mums in Singapore. Though rare during pregnancy, it is important to know what to look out for and best practices should the unlikely happen. Our resident family medicine expert Dr Kevin Chua dishes out some advice should you find yourself or a loved one in this very situation.
Dr Kevin Chua:
Strokes are (thankfully) extremely rare during pregnancy but can be devastating during childbearing years.
A stroke indicates a reduction of blood flow to a part of the brain. This may be caused by a blockage or a bleed in the brain.
Pregnancy and the period of time immediately after giving birth are associated with an increased risk. Preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) and eclampsia (convulsions followed by coma) are some of the more common causes.
Get yourself checked regularly. This involves a routine blood pressure check at the doctor’s.
These are signs that you or someone else may be having a stroke:
- Trouble with speaking clearly and understanding. You may experience confusion or your speech may slur.
- Weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg. It may be sudden with numbness, weakness or paralysis occurring often on one side. If your face is affected, you may notice a droop when you try to grimace to expose your teeth.
- A sudden, severe headache which may be associated with vomiting, dizziness or altered consciousness.
- Sudden onset of difficulty with walking or coordination.
Seek medical attention immediately even if the symptoms last for a short while and seem to go away spontaneously.
- Face. Ask the person to show his teeth. Does it droop on one side?
- Ask the person to raise both arms. Is there difficulty in raising one arm or does it drift downwards on one side?
- Speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Did you notice any slurring?
- Time. If you observe any of these signs, call the emergency hotline immediately. (995 if you are in Sing
(Information has been adapted from Mayo Clinic Patient Care and Health Information)
Drs Chua & Partners (AV) Pte Ltd is a family clinic located at Blk 125 Bt Merah Lane 1, #01-174 (Tel: +65 6377 3179). Find out more at their website here.