A MOTHER-of-two is pleading for more attention to be paid to a rare life-threatening pregnancy complication which almost killed her and her unborn baby.

Frances Riley, from Accrington, was told she was ‘a day away from death’ when she was rushed into Burnley General Hospital in November.

The 28-year-old, who was already mother to two-year-old Olivia, was unaware at this point but was soon to find out she had a rare pregnancy condition known as HELLP syndrome (haemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count) which ultimately causes the liver and kidneys to fail if untreated.

Fearing for her life, doctors performed an emergency caesarean on Miss Riley and baby Bella-Rose was born two months’ premature, weighing just 3 pounds 11 ounces.

Speaking about her ordeal, she said: “I thought I was dying and realised I was in a very dangerous situation.

“I started feeling ill around a week before I was rushed into hospital for the emergency c-section. I’d had been to see my GP who ran some tests and and discovered I had a high level of protein in my urine. I was given iron supplements to take and sent home - I was told that there were nothing more they could do.

“But over the course of the week I just kept getting weaker. My skin turned white and then yellow, and I could hardly walk.”

It got to the point that Miss Riley was so unwell that on November 15 she called her doctor again, desperate for another appointment to find out what was wrong. But when there was no availability that day, Miss Riley contacted her midwife in a last-ditch bid for help.

She said: “The moment my midwife Karen saw me, she knew we had to go straight to hospital.

“I’d turned really yellow by now and after some tests in the hospital a doctor came in and told me I needed to give birth straight away.

“I didn’t know what to do - panic set in and I was begging for my life.

“They had discovered I was suffering from HELLP, and told me if I had waited just a day later, I could have died.”

Miss Riley was given six blood transfusions while in hospital and said she ‘couldn’t believe’ her condition had gone undetected for so long.

She said: “This is why I want to share my experience, to raise awareness about HELLP.”

According to the NHS, symptoms of the condition are abdominal tenderness, bleeding, changes in vision, protein in the urine and trouble breathing. As few as 0.5 per cent of women in the UK will develop the condition.

Miss Riley and partner Barry McGuinness wanted to express their gratitude to those who helped her while in hospital.

She said: “I’m so grateful for everyone to all of the doctors and nurses, if it wasn’t for them we might not be here.

“We feel very blessed and were back at home in time for Christmas.”