A little about maternal PKU
I recently announced to the world (via facebook) that I am pregnant. I am three months along. I wanted to post about this because this is an important topic for phenylketonurics. Some people have asked how being pregnant is affected by PKU. So here’s my answer!
The growing fetus receives nutrients through the placenta – from mommy’s blood to baby’s. So even if the baby does not have PKU, the blood Phenylalanine levels of the mother will affect those of the baby. Also, the levels are even more concentrated in the baby. High levels of Phe are toxic to the baby and can cause serious issues such as mental retardation and developmental problems. So obviously this should be avoided.
For me this just means being extra careful with how much protein I eat. The levels I normally have are within the safe range for pregnancy, so I haven’t had to change much. I am being monitored by a PKU doctor and a dietician. I take my blood level every week (through a finger poke and mail-in) to make sure they are in check. My dietician had me increase my formula because your protein needs go up during pregnancy. So that’s about all that is different.
I am told that even as recently as when I was born the medical community believed women with PKU should not have children. I am so grateful that understanding and knowledge have changed and that I am able to have a closely monitored and healthy pregnancy!