A woman in Singapore was seven months pregnant when she suddenly collapsed and suffered a stroke. She is now opening up about what happens if you have a stroke while pregnant–to raise more awareness about the condition.
On Saturday (4 December), her story was highlighted by Law and Home Affairs Minister, K. Shanmugam, while he was speaking at the 25th anniversary charity dinner of the Singapore National Stroke Association (SNSA). This is a support group for stroke survivors and caregivers.
Mum Shares What Happens If You Have A Stroke While Pregnant
Image source: iStock
While spending a leisurely outing at a mall in 2019, Ms Joy Chia unexpectedly suffered a stroke. On the incident that happened in August 2019, she shares, “It felt like my brain was going to explode. I fainted right on the spot.”
The now 34-year-old was immediately rushed to the hospital. Doctors operated on her skull to drain out excess fluid that was putting pressure on her brain. Meanwhile, her baby’s life was at risk.
To save her child, an emergency C-section was done. While the delivery was a success, Ms Chia had to be placed in a separate intensive care unit (ICU). She only got to see her newborn daughter a week into her month-long recovery.
“I almost fell into depression being apart from my baby. Seeing her alive and well was the best moment of my life,” says the mother of two.
She still remembers when her newborn baby, Bernice, was wheeled in from her ICU ward to meet her for the first time. Her daughter had tubes up her nose. The mum says, “I remember thinking if she could fight, I must fight too and take care of her.”
With Ms Chia as an active volunteer in Mr Shanmugam’s constituency in Nee Soon GRC, he says of her, “You can imagine the difficulties, but Joy saw in them the positives. Her newborn daughter was a source of strength.”
“Joy became even more determined to overcome the hurdles, with tremendous willpower, resilience and support from family and friends,” he adds.
To this day, Ms Chia still struggles to fully extend her fingers after suffering from a stroke.
Preventing The Harmful Effects Of A Stroke
Image source: Facebook / Chia Ming Zhen Joy
As per NHS, a stroke is a serious life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. It can disable bodily functions that are controlled by the brain such as muscle movement.
Mr Shanmugam brought up how more people are suffering from strokes as it is a leading cause of adult disability. As compared to 2010, there has been a 50 per cent increase in the number of stroke episodes recorded in 2019.
In Singapore alone, 25 new stroke cases occur daily. He added that the number is likely to rise with a rapidly ageing population, seeing as how the risk of stroke doubles every 10 years past the age of 55.
Mr Shanmugam urged the public to understand the symptoms of a stroke so that people can act fast when they show. He also stresses the importance of exercise and a healthy diet.
Crediting the role of the SNSA in encouraging early treatment and supporting survivors, more people are receiving treatment sooner. Thanks to this, the mortality rate has fallen in the past decade.
Ms Chia herself now frequently volunteers with SNSA to share her experience with other survivors.
She says, “When I was in hospital, I couldn’t accept the fact that I had a stroke. I understand why people can have suicidal thoughts during this period and I hope to help and encourage them.”
Lead image source from Facebook / Chia Ming Zhen Joy.
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