A pregnant woman who took part in a study into pregnancy and childbirth has been told to stay off her medication as she battles to control a rare kidney stone.
Kate Hagen was one of more than 2,000 women who took a 10-week trial to find out how effective childbirth treatments can be.
Kate was born with a kidney stone and had to take anti-coagulants, including a drug called amiodarone, to control the growth.
“I am on the verge of giving up on medication because of the stone, so I just need to go back on it,” she said.
Kate has been on amiodarbide for more than 10 years.
“The stone has been in there for the last five years and I just don’t want to go through that again.”
The drug can help keep the stone from growing.
“It’s been a really tough journey and a very stressful time, so now it’s just been a bit of fun for me to have fun with it,” Kate said.
It’s not just Kate who is struggling to cope.
Around 6,000 other women took part, with around half of them going into labour.
“We had people that had a normal pregnancy who couldn’t have had a baby, and a few people who had an emergency pregnancy because of kidney stones,” said Professor Chris Jones from the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Newborn Care.
“What I’m really interested in is what happens when you have a stone and the stone goes into the placenta, and that’s when the risk of complication increases.”
It’s thought that if a woman is taking anti-depressants or other anti-inflammatory drugs, they may not be able to take enough.
“Some people are really keen to have their stones checked and their bleeding is controlled,” Professor Jones said.
“But that’s not always possible.
If a stone is there for a long time, it could lead to a complication, or it could cause a blood clot.”
“If you’re a pregnant woman, it’s a huge responsibility.
If you can’t do it, you shouldn’t have a baby,” he said.
In a bid to improve the treatment, Kate has started a new diet.
“My new diet has been really helpful, it has made me eat healthier and have more energy, so that’s been good,” she says.
Kate’s diet is more flexible, but not necessarily as simple as she would like.
“There’s some people who are able to eat really healthy, but there are other people who can’t.
So it depends on your own lifestyle,” she explained.
A kidney stone can cause problems with breathing, heartbeat, breathing problems, heart rhythm and the heart, and may also cause infections, which can lead to problems in the womb.
Kate is now working with a specialist who specialises in treating kidney stones.
“Kate has managed to get her stone out, so it’s very exciting for her to have that success and to be able get back on medication,” Professor Chris said.
The research is part of the Australian Centre for Medical Research (ACMR) project, which aims to find new treatments to combat the growing number of complications caused by pregnancy and birth.
“This is a really exciting project, because it looks like there are a lot of potential treatments that could be developed that would be useful in treating these complications,” Professor James McLean, of ACMR, said.
Professor McLean said the research was being funded by the Victorian Government and the National Health and Medical Research Council.
He said it was important that the study was not limited to women with kidney stones, as a kidney disease was “common and widespread in women in the Victorian community”.
“We know that it can be difficult for pregnant women to access treatment.
So we want to look at all women who are at risk and how they might be able and willing to access it,” he added.
The researchers will continue to study the effects of taking amiodara on the fetus.
They hope to have the results published in the next few months.