11/23/2016 09:31 EST

HELLP Syndrome: The One Pregnancy Complication All Mothers Need To Know About

HELLP syndrome is a “life-threatening pregnancy complication,” according to the Preeclampsia Foundation. But despite its severity, mom Laura McKnight never heard of it when she was expecting her daughter, Addison.

“I skimmed the books, I had many friends who had children before me and talked with them frequently, I visited my obstetrician regularly, I took a prenatal class — all the things a worried first-time mom does,” she wrote in her blog for HuffPost Canada. “All this, and HELLP syndrome was never discussed.”

After McKnight gave birth, she experienced severe complications, including liver and kidney failure and significantly high blood pressure. It wasn’t until later that the mom was diagnosed with Class 1 HELLP Syndrome.

“I was told they almost lost me,” she wrote.

McKnight eventually recovered and is now spreading awareness of the condition.

In the video above, McKnight shares her story, details what HELLP syndrome is and offers advice to other mothers.

HELLP syndrome is a variant of preeclampsia. According to American Pregnancy, 4 to 12 per cent of women diagnosed with preeclampsia will develop HELLP syndrome, which stands for hemolysis (the breakdown of red blood cells), elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count.

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