Adela lives with chronic kidney disease. She has a single right kidney that functions at only 30 per cent.
Without close monitoring of her diet, exercise and other lifestyle factors, her kidney could fail with devastating effects.
Managing kidney disease is incredibly tough and it can take a huge physical and emotional toll on patients and their families.
Sadly, the challenges of dialysis, transplant or lifestyle monitoring leave many people feeling as though they can’t live as well as they would like.
For Adela, living well has always meant having children. The thought of kidney disease getting in the way of that left her distressed and heartbroken.
“I was told it would be hard to conceive, that there were a lot of risk factors that could push my kidney to the point of complete failure,” says Adela.
With approximately 260,000 women of reproductive age currently living with kidney disease in Australia, improving parenthood outcomes for those wanting children is vital.
Associate Professor Shilpa Jesudason, along with researcher Dr Erandi Hewawasam at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, are aiming to develop a toolkit of resources that will empower women living with kidney disease to safely plan and manage their high-risk pregnancies.
A/Prof Shilpa Jesudason if fighting to ensure her patients can live well with kidney disease.
“We need more research to establish adequate pre-pregnancy education resources for both doctors and patients,” A/Prof Jesudason says.
Adela was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease at age 15 after suffering severe pain in her right side and across her back.
Following several urgent surgeries and the insertion of a stent, Adela can now manage her condition with careful monitoring of lifestyle factors, regular blood tests and scans.
Adela is determined to live her best life possible, despite the seriousness of her kidney disease and its often frustrating and exhausting impact.
Women living with kidney disease face complex and challenging pregnancies. They need careful planning and regular discussions with a specialised health care team to overcome the high risk of complications like pre-eclampsia, early pregnancy loss and premature birth.
Under the expert care of A/Prof Jesudason, Adela and her husband Shah decided to take that challenging leap.
Unfortunately, complications did arise, including a condition called hydronephrosis that caused Adela’s kidney to swell to double its normal size.
Adela says, “More doctors had to be involved in my care due to the hydronephrosis. If my kidney enlarged any further, I would have needed another stent.”
The hydronephrosis persisted until she was induced at 36.5 weeks, giving birth to their beautiful and healthy son, Amir.
This amazing outcome would not have been possible without the ground-breaking research of A/Prof Jesudason and her team!
A/Prof Jesudason and her team are leading the way in Obstetric-Nephrology care, but there are still key knowledge gaps to fill if we are to help all women living with kidney disease achieve something many of us cherish – parenthood.
Adela, Shah and Amir are extremely grateful for A/Prof Jesudason’s research and support.
“Having a great support system is really important. I was very lucky to have an amazing team of doctors, my family and husband looking after me,” Adela says.
Thanks to our supporters, A/Prof Jesudason can help many other women and their partners find successful pathways to parenthood.