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High Potassium
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High Potassium

Hi,
I had previously posted a message about my progesterone level being too low and having to take prometrium.  Well since I was feeling very bad I was told to not take it.  (I'm in my 13th week of pregnancy.) However they did check my blood and now they call saying that my potassium level is very high.  That it might be a fluke but just in case they want me to go get another blood test done.
So I have some questions...

First, what would be the cause of high potassium level?
(These past few days I have been getting really tired and get headaches all the time. But I was feeling like that before and just assumed it was because of the pregnancy.)

Second, I have had like 5 blood tests done.  Do pregnant women have this many blood tests done on them? Every time I go I need a blood test.

Well this is my first baby and I am very new at this.  I didn't know that it was so complicated.  Boy was I naive.
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Avatar_n_tn
I don't know anything about potassium, but in a normal healthy pregnancy, you should not need all those blood tests.  Perhaps you would be happier with a nurse-midwife or a lay-midwife..have you considered a home birth?

In either case, sometimes for a 1st pregnancy they tend to OVER do it on moms because they have no history for them.  They have a list of tests they can do and usually assume the pg mom wants to full meal deal.  For a second pregnancy they usually don't even want to see you until your second trimester.  

Maybe because you were already under medical care (for whatever medicine you were taking) they are taking liberty to get all the tests done that are available.  Just remember that you can always refuse tests and you are in control of your pregnancy--not the doctors.  It might be worth your while to hire a doula or at least talk to one (usually range from $150-$450 for the birth.  They will have knowledge and access to information should you need ANYTHING.  That way you can be sure that whatever the doctors are doing is in your best interest and not theirs.

I had a doula and will never give birth again without one.  If you need help finding one, you can go to planned parenthood, call a local midwife or even ask your doctor.  They should be able to tell you where to go.  

I never stressed too much about blood tests because they were non-invasive to my baby.  ultrasounds and amnio's for example need to be weighed against the risks.

good luck,
Sarah
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Avatar_n_tn
Don't worry about the high potassium level.

The vast, vast majority of this type of abnormal result is due to the blood specimen being slightly hemolyzed.  It is very common when the blood is collected at an outside lab, and the specimen must be held for some time, and then transported to the lab for analysis.  

Usually, on a recollect it is ok, but let me share something that happened to me.

I had the same thing--phone call from the doctor (I wasn't pregnant at the time, but being treated for breast cancer).  The potassium level was very high.  They assured me it was probably due to hemolysis, and recollected it the next day.  It STILL came back critically high.  They called me all excited and told me to go straight to the ER--my doctor called ahead and I was swiftly admitted and more blood obtained.   I was sure I was about to die--I was crying and very upset--they started an IV and started giving me meds to bring down the potassium without even waiting for the bloodwork they had just done in the ER to come back.  
Well--it came back completely normal!  The ER doctor said he could kick himself for letting my doctor get him all hyped up about it.  Then the meds they gave me to bring down the potassium caused my level to go WAY low--and they actually had to GIVE me potassium to bring it up!

Talk about a comedy of errors.  I never trust a potassium that seems way out of whack for the situation, now.  If you are a healthy young person with no underlying renal disease or other serious illness, there is NO reason your potassium should be out of whack except for lab error or hemolysis.  \

Good luck with everything!
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Avatar_n_tn
I just wanted to answer your question about the blood work. I am in my 14th wk of my 2nd successful pregnancy and have had alot of bloodwork done as well.  

It is okay and even normal for you dr to do all of that bloodwork, especially if he has valid concerns about your health.

I never question the bloodwork because it has caught a condition that could have contributed to my baby's death or lack of brain development.

Bloodwork is non-invasive and gives you answers that you can't get from jsut peeing in a cup.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am in my 14th week and my nausea went away a couple of weeks ago but THEN I started getting mild headaches! But if I had to choose I will take the headaches any day, they are way more managable than the nausea was!! :)

Hope yours gets better soon!
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your input.  I went to get another blood test done today so hopefully this time it will read normal.  

Do things get better or worse after you 13th week?

So far, I've been feeling nauseous and have headaches all the time and I would love for it to go away. :)

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Avatar_n_tn
In my case the nausea and headaches went away at the end of my 3rd month and by the fifth month it was like I had all of this enery all of a sudden...I felt great!
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Avatar_n_tn
I agree I think blood work is a good way for the doctors to see what is going on with your pregnancy...I too go in 2 to 3 times a week for blood work and yes my pregnancy is watched a little closer because of my history with miscarriages but it makes me feel better to know that they are watching my pregnancy that closely...It can't hurt and it can only help....good luck with your pregnancy.
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Avatar_n_tn
The nausea seems to come and go now (I think I'm in my 13th week) but I am getting frequent headaches.  I'm trying to take Tylenol as less as possible but sometimes I can't take it and I take one (regular strength).  Well this morning I was feeling great and energetic so hopefully what you said will finally start kicking in and I'll be full of energy.  I just got married and I feel kind of guilty that I haven't really been a "blast" to be with the past month. So I would love to surprise him by starting to be spontaneous again.

Again, thank you for your help. Like someone else said, I get tones of answers here and they are really helpful.
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