Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-induced condition which develops during late pregnancy and is characterized by high-blood pressure, and severe swelling of hands and face. About 8 to 10 percent of all pregnant woman are diagnosed with preeclampsia. Most cases are among those who had high blood pressure before pregnancy, and many resolve on their own. However, preeclampsia can cause complications for both mother and the baby in certain cases.
Untreated and unmanaged preeclampsia can drastically reduce the amount of blood and oxygen that a developing fetus receives, cause damage to the mother’s liver and kidneys, and also lead to eclampsia in rare cases (a serious condition that can cause seizures).
In most cases, your doctor can detect preeclampsia during its early onset and it can be treated successfully with regular medical care. This ensures that women with preeclampsia have a good chance of having the same, positive pregnancy outcome as a woman with normal blood pressure.
SYMPTOMS OF PREECLAMPSIA
Preeclampsia may occur without any symptom. It is usually characterized by high blood pressure which may develop slowly over a period of time, or may even have a sudden onset. It is for this very reason that doctors monitor blood pressure regularly. Anything over 140/90, documented on two occasions, at least four hours apart is considered to be abnormal.
The main symptoms of preeclampsia are:
- Surge in urine protein levels (proteinuria) or signs of kidney problems
- Severe headaches or migraines
- Change in vision, temporary loss of vision, blurred vision or light sensitivity
- Upper abdominal pain, usually under ribs on the right side
- Nausea or vomiting
- Decreased urine
- Impaired liver function
- Shortness of breath due to fluid in your lungs
WHO IS AT RISK?
Preeclampsia is more common in first-time mothers. Apart from these, the following may also be at risk:
- A family or personal history of preeclampsia
- Those with chronic hypertension, kidney disease or both
- Pregnancy with a new partner
- Age – very young and older women are at high risk
- Obesity increases the risk
- More common in those who are carrying twins, triplets or multiples
- Having babies less than two years or more than 10 years apart
- Pregnancy from in-vitro fertilization (IVF)
A woman diagnosed with preeclampsia in one of the pregnancies has a higher risk of developing it in future pregnancies. The risk increases if she’s diagnosed with it in the first pregnancy or if there is an early onset of preeclampsia in any pregnancy.
Depending on fetal development and how close the mother is to the due date, the doctor can decide if they want to deliver the baby as soon as possible, or recommend some of the following:
- Rest, lying on the left side to take the baby’s weight off major blood vessels
- Consume less salt
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
- Change in diet to include more protein
- Increase prenatal checkups
- Blood pressure medication
- Dietary changes and supplements
The severity of preeclampsia and how early it occurs during a pregnancy can affect the mother and her baby. In some cases, preeclampsia may require induced labor and delivery by C-section. Possible complications of preeclampsia may include:
- Restricted fetal growth
- Preterm birth
- Placental abruption
- Organ Damage
- Cardiovascular disease
It is important to monitor your blood pressure during pregnancy to avoid preeclampsia. Talk to our experts at KIMS Cuddles to find out about preventive measures you can take in order to protect yourself from it.
*Information shared here is for general purpose. Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision.