22-year-old kidney transplant patient gives birth to a healthy baby

Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) received its first case of a kidney transplant patient who gave birth to a healthy baby last month. Ugyen Pema, 22, from Pangbang, overcame every medical obstacles to get carry her pregnancy through and give birth.

She had both kidney failures when she was 12-years-old and had undergone a right kidney transplant 10 years back in India with her father was the kidney donor. She said she could not continue her studies after class 9 because of her medical condition.

She has been married for the past one year and always wanted to start a family of her own.  Doctors had cautioned her that it is risky for her to give birth but she was determined to have a baby. So the doctor reduced the immunosuppressant medication consisting of tacrolimus, mycophenolate and prednisione. It was then possible for her to have a spontaneously conceived pregnancy.

“I thought I could never give birth to a baby, but I was surprised when I got pregnant. Now in my arms, I have a month old daughter and I am very happy despite all the risk and challenges I faced during my entire pregnancy phase,” the beaming new mother said.

Her only fear was if the baby would be born normal or not. “But I am fortunate that I could give birth to a very healthy baby girl. Everyone in my family is so happy for us,” said Ugyen Pemo.

Gynecologist Dr Sonam Jamtsho said kidney patient will have pregnancy related complication, like they can develop pressure, chances of delivering a preterm baby and sometimes there is a chance of kidney rejection. However, Ugyen Pema did not have any complication during her pregnancy. And at term, she had a normal delivery on 18 September. The baby was healthy because she had done kidney transplant 10 years back and also she was on low dose of immunosuppressant medicine, said the gynecologist.

The intake of immunosuppressant drugs result in high chance of having an abnormal baby. A risk of developing baby abnormalities is very high as compared to any other non-kidney transplant.

According to the gynecologist, Ugyen Pema was referred to JDWNRH after conceiving the baby. The fetus was monitored to check if it was growing well and without any complication. Ugyen Pema opted to have a normal delivery, and after the delivery she did not have any complication.

“We took all the risks because she is a young girl who wants to have a family. This is the first time that a kidney recipient mother gave birth to a healthy baby. And a good thing is she is a long surviving kidney transplant patient,” said Dr Sonam Jamtsho.

According to Dr Sonam Jamtsho, kidney transplant patients often have phobias that they are going to die and are always depressed. But if kidney patients take care of themselves well, they can live long and even have a normal baby.

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