How a young mum died while trying to lose post-baby weight

By Mirror | Thursday, Jul 18th 2019 at 16:17
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Michelle White is still haunted by the phone call after her daughter Meegan collapsed.

Meegan, a 25-year-old mum-of-two, regularly spent two hours a day exercising and was careful about what she ate.

But tragically no one knew she suffered from Urea Cycle Disorder, which meant having such a protein-heavy diet caused a deadly build-up of ammonia in her blood.

Michelle was on her way to see her grandchildren when she received a call from a paramedic saying Meegan had been found collapsed in her home.

Two days later she was given the devastating news that her daughter had been pronounced brain dead.

Michelle held Meegan's hand and said goodbye before she died.

Now she has spoken about how her daughter's obsession with fitness proved deadly, in the hope that Meegan's death can serve as a warning to others.

Her story

I’ve never been a gym-goer myself, but seeing my daughter Meegan beam as she admired her toned figure, I felt proud she was taking health and fitness seriously.

Her weekends and evenings were spent in her gym gear and she’d always pop round and chat about her new workout plan.

My bubbly, gorgeous daughter had found a passion – exercise.

One day when she visited she told me to brace myself for some news.

At just 18, Meegan had fallen pregnant.

It took a while to sink in, but eventually I became excited at the thought of my grandchild.

She married her partner Michael, and shortly after, Alexa was born and Meegan got into the swing of things as a new mum.

She started to become a real fitness fanatic and made sure she had time for herself, as well as being a mum.

Two years later, Meegan gave birth to her son Liam and everything changed.

She suffered crippling post-natal depression.

After seeing a doctor, she was prescribed some medication, which helped – but there was a catch.

The tablets made Meegan gain a stone in weight.

She’d always been petite and hated being bigger, so she decided to get back into the gym.

Over the next few weeks I watched the children whenever possible so she could train in the evenings, and as the pounds dropped off her, her confidence soared.

Except, within a few months, her love of fitness turned into an obsession about her body image.

Her meals were always the same.

Chicken, red meat and egg whites, sometimes with steamed veggies on the side, and always a protein shake to wash it all down.

She was winning trophies for her sculpted physique, but one morning when I popped round to see her and the kids I noticed her hands shaking as she downed yet another protein shake with her body building supplements.

But after two days, the doctor delivered some shocking news.

‘Meegan has limited brain activity. I’m afraid there is very little chance she’ll recover.’

Unbeknownst to everyone, Meegan suffered from Urea Cycle Disorder, which meant having such a protein-heavy diet caused a build-up of ammonia in her blood.

It was a genetic condition that made it hard for the body to remove harmful waste products left over from the digestion of proteins found in the shakes she consumed daily.

The ammonia had reached her brain, causing irreversible brain damage.

It was a silent killer, and the endless protein shakes and dangerous dieting were Meegan’s downfall.

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