Home Featured Mums Preeclampsia in Kenya: Helen Njoroge’s Story of how she Survived Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia in Kenya: Helen Njoroge’s Story of how she Survived Preeclampsia

Helen Njoroge

Helen Njoroge is a 28 year-old entrepreneur. She is the founder and director of Tenders Kenya, which is an online platform that provides information on all procurement opportunities in Kenya. She has also been recognized as one of the Top 40 Women Under 40 in Kenya (2015) by Business Daily for her role in Procurement. On the home front, Helen is a wife, and she also has a heartrending story of how she survived preeclampsia. This is Helen’s story:

“When I was pregnant and in my second trimester, the gynaecologist, during one of my antenatal clinics, mentioned that my blood pressure had gone up. She however ‘assured’ me that it was normal for the pressure to go up, and so I needn’t worry. I became even more at ease when she put me on medication, Aldomet.

“I’ll tell you when to worry,” she told me.

I was an expectant first time mother. What did I know? By the way I never even used to be concerned with the readings whenever my pressure was checked at the clinic. I was in the safe hands of a gynaecologist, is all I knew.

Meanwhile, my edema (swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, face and hands during pregnancy) had really worsened, to the extent that my workmates brought me a stool to be propping my feet up. I even upped my shoe size as I now had humongous feet. But I reckoned that swelling is normal in pregnancy, because even doctor Google said so.

Also Read: “The Day I Almost Lost my Life” -Caroline Gachii

One day, on the Saturday night of Easter 2014, I started experiencing discomfort and couldn’t sleep properly. The following night (Sunday), the discomfort worsened. I had a severe backache and couldn’t sleep a wink. I shared this with my husband and some friends, but don’t pregnant women always complain about their aching backs? So I thought, ‘let me just embrace this motherhood journey’.

The following day was a holiday (Easter Monday), and some friends came to visit. I was dead tired. They tried to liven me up, insinuating that it couldn’t be that bad. I told them it was bad. I even refused to escort them because I was feeling terrible. They insisted. That night, I didn’t sleep, for my back hurt too much. We turned the mattress, changed beds, slept on the floor, but nothing. The pain persisted.

My husband was travelling for work the following morning out of town, and as he left the house at 5am, I asked him to drop me at the nearest hospital -a private hospital in Nairobi. At the triage, the nurse informed me that my pressure was high, but I told her that I already knew about it, and that my doctor had told me not to worry about it.

The nurse then sent me to a see a doctor. I had a bit of acidity too, so the doctor gave me some antacids and sent me for tests: liver and urine tests.  In the meantime, he prescribed an antacid (I can’t remember if he gave me some pain killers). I then told the doctor I’d go home, rest and come back for my results. Anyhow, I figured I’d still go to see my gynaecologist later in the day and update her on how I was feeling. So I returned home and slept.

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Maryanne W. Waweru is a Kenyan mum raising her two sons in Nairobi. A journalist, Maryanne is passionate about telling stories and hopes that through her writing, her readers learn something new, feel encouraged, inspired, and appreciative of what they have in their lives. Maryanne's writing focuses on motherhood, women and lifestyle. "Telling stories is the only thing I know how to do," she says.


  1. Five months ago I lost my baby to hospital negligence (prolonged labour). The nurse in charge let me labour an extra 5 hours knowing very well that my baby was in distress since my amniotic fluid was green when it broke. This taught me the need to have a doctor who takes your pregnancy seriously.
    My daughter ended up inhaling too much amniotic fluid so she only survived 3 hrs in the nursery after delivery by an emergency cs. So my second lesson was one that Helen stated, being in a hospital that can handle any complications. At that time I didn’t know about the Neonatal ICU in Kenyatta but I always think that her chances would have been better in a well equipped nursery like the one at Kenyatta. These are things I’d tell any first time mom to consider carefully because pregnacy and childbirth are not easy at all.

    • Dear Linet, thank you for your comment, and our condolences on the loss of your daughter. You offer invaluable insights about your experience, and the lessons we can take from this. Thanks for sharing, and our prayers are with you. Hugs.


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