In a powerful essay for the September issue of Vogue, Beyoncé opened up about her career, her family, her body, her ancestry and her legacy. However, one of the most stunning revelations from the piece had nothing to do with Beyoncé’s music; it had to do with the singer’s health. Specifically, her pregnancy health because, as Beyoncé explained, the birth of her twins didn’t go as expected. In fact, it put both her and her children in danger.
“I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth to Rumi and Sir,” Beyoncé said. “I was swollen from toxemia and had been on bed rest for over a month. My health and my babies’ health were in danger, so I had an emergency C-section, [and afterward,] we spent many weeks in the NICU.”
Toxemia, also known as preeclampsia, is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure. According to the Mayo Clinic, the condition can cause damage to various organs, most often the liver and kidneys, and when left untreated, “preeclampsia can lead to serious — even fatal — complications for both you and your baby.”
The good news is that preeclampsia is relatively rare. According to the Preeclampsia Foundation, only 5 to 8 percent of all pregnant women will develop the condition — with far fewer developing severe preeclampsia. However, if you are diagnosed with preeclampsia, you will need to be closely monitored, as “the only effective treatment for preeclampsia is delivery.”
That said, Beyoncé did not realize the severity of her diagnosis — and the dangers associated with her delivery — until months later. “I was in survival mode and did not grasp it all until months later,” but today, she feels “a connection to any parent who has been through such an experience.”
Fortunately, we now know that Queen Bey and her babies are fine and commend the mama of three for opening up about the realities of pregnancy and childbirth.