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What is Mirror Syndrome?

Mirror Syndrome is a rare condition occurring during pregnancy, where the mother reflects symptoms similar to those of her unwell fetus, such as edema and high blood pressure. It's a complex interplay between fetal distress and maternal health. Intrigued? Discover how Mirror Syndrome unfolds and its implications for both mother and child as we delve deeper into this medical phenomenon.
Hillary Flynn
Hillary Flynn
Hillary Flynn
Hillary Flynn

Mirror syndrome, also known as Ballantyne syndrome and Maternal Hydrops, is a condition that affects pregnant women. It is a rare disorder in which water retention in pregnant women mirrors fetal hydropic changes. That means there is an accumulation of fluid beneath the skin or in a cavity in both the mother, the fetus, and usually the placenta as well. It is sometimes referred to as triple edema, which indicates the fluid retention in all three places. Mirror syndrome is associated with preeclampsia, which means the fluid retention is linked to hypertension, or high blood pressure.

In addition to the high blood pressure and water retention, other indicators of mirror syndrome include protein in the urine, vomiting, and a general feeling of illness in the pregnant woman. This syndrome is dangerous for both mother and fetus and must be carefully monitored by a physician. The mother may experience bladder obstruction or a ruptured bladder, and the fetus may die. Extreme cases warrant an emergency cesarean.

Mirror syndrome affects pregnant women.
Mirror syndrome affects pregnant women.

Causes of mirror syndrome include general obstetric disorders, immunological disorders, infections, and malformations. Many times the cause of fetal hydrops is unknown and without knowing the cause, it is difficult to treat. Until the pathophysiology causing the fetal hydrops is definitely known, any treatment could be dangerous and harmful, so doctors must investigate all abnormalities that could trigger the disorder. Once fetal edema is discovered, usually during an ultrasound, doctors will test the mother for mirror syndrome to determine the best recourse.

Bed rest is generally the first course of treatment for mirror syndrome.
Bed rest is generally the first course of treatment for mirror syndrome.

Depending on the cause, and whether or not the cause is known, doctor's will typically first order the mother to a strict bed rest regimen to reduce edema and hypertension. Each case of mirror syndrome is unique, so each instance will require a different treatment plan, if any treatment plan is given at all. Fetal surgery is extremely risky in these cases and not often advised. Delivery is always the best solution, but depending on the point of gestation, this is sometimes not an immediate option.

Symptoms that point to mirror syndrome in pregnant women will be investigated using ultrasound technology.
Symptoms that point to mirror syndrome in pregnant women will be investigated using ultrasound technology.

If doctors are, in fact, able to accurately determine the cause of fetal hydrops, treatment will depend on the cause. Treatments could include transfusions to correct anemia, medications for cardiac arrhythmia, reduction of lesions that impede cardiac venous or lymphatic return, or procedures to stop the loss of blood. Sometimes the mother may be given medications also, but the best course of action for mirror syndrome is always early detection so that the edema can be controlled before too much damage is incurred.

Hillary Flynn
Hillary Flynn

Joining the TheHealthBoard team has helped to satisfy Hillary’s insatiable curiosity for knowledge. She also manages an electronic publishing business that allows her to develop her skills in technical writing, graphic design, and business development. Hillary has a passion for satirical writing and enjoys traveling, especially to places of historical importance.

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Hillary Flynn
Hillary Flynn

Joining the TheHealthBoard team has helped to satisfy Hillary’s insatiable curiosity for knowledge. She also manages an electronic publishing business that allows her to develop her skills in technical writing, graphic design, and business development. Hillary has a passion for satirical writing and enjoys traveling, especially to places of historical importance.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments

anon161781

My daughter was diagnosed with this last year. Her baby had a conjoined twin growing out of his mouth. My daughter almost died and the doctors had to deliver the baby at 27 weeks. The tumor (twin) weighed five pounds and my grandson only weighed two pounds, 11 ounces. He survived, but he has at least one surgery scheduled to his mouth and jaw to fix it. It was stretched to four times its size.

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    • Mirror syndrome affects pregnant women.
      By: artush
      Mirror syndrome affects pregnant women.
    • Bed rest is generally the first course of treatment for mirror syndrome.
      By: Milissenta
      Bed rest is generally the first course of treatment for mirror syndrome.
    • Symptoms that point to mirror syndrome in pregnant women will be investigated using ultrasound technology.
      By: photographmd
      Symptoms that point to mirror syndrome in pregnant women will be investigated using ultrasound technology.
    • Mirror syndrome can be dangerous for a fetus.
      By: Noel Powell
      Mirror syndrome can be dangerous for a fetus.
    • Mirror syndrome in pregnant women is linked to high blood pressure.
      By: nyul
      Mirror syndrome in pregnant women is linked to high blood pressure.
    • Delivery is typically the best solution for mirror syndrome, but this is not possible if it occurs too early in pregnancy.
      By: Monkey Business
      Delivery is typically the best solution for mirror syndrome, but this is not possible if it occurs too early in pregnancy.
    • If fetal edema is discovered, a doctor will test a woman for mirror syndrome to determine the best course of treatment.
      By: vgstudio
      If fetal edema is discovered, a doctor will test a woman for mirror syndrome to determine the best course of treatment.