Written on 14 August 2018
Pregnant? Do not ignore these warning signs, it may be Pre-eclampsia
Pregnant women often experience novel sensations during pregnancy. However, there can be a serious condition where the only cure was to have a baby.
This condition is known as preeclampsia and can affect about 5 to 8 percent of the pregnant women.
What is pre-eclampsia?
It is a condition occurring in women who are pregnant or in their early postpartum period. It is characterised by high blood pressure and damage to the liver and kidneys. In case it is left untreated it could prove fatal for you and your baby.
Pre-eclampsia is one of the four high blood pressure disorders which include Chronic hypertension, Gestational hypertension, and Chronic hypertension with superimposed pre-eclampsia.
Symptoms of pre-eclampsia
Sometimes pre-eclampsia can develop without any symptoms. Conditions such as high blood pressure can develop over a period or can suddenly onset. Monitoring blood pressure is an important part during the pregnancy period as the first sign of pre-eclampsia is the rise of blood pressure. Blood pressure exceeding 140/90 recorded on two occasions, four hours apart is considered abnormal.
The signs of pre-eclampsia include the following;
Presence of excess protein in urine (proteinuria)
Decreased platelets in blood
Shortness of breath, due to presence of fluid in lungs
Change in vision
Pain in the abdomen
Sudden weigh gain
Swollen on face and hands
Risk factors related to pre-eclampsia
Presence of chronic hypertension: In case you have chronic hypertension, you are at a higher risk of developing pre-eclampsia.
First pregnancy: The risk of developing this complication is highest during the first pregnancy.
Role of age: The risk of pre-eclampsia is higher for young as well as women who are older than 35.
Obese women: Risk of this disease is higher in case you are obese.
History of medical condition: Having condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, migraine increases the chance of pre-eclampsia.
Complications for your baby
The earlier it occurs in your pregnancy, the greater the risk for your baby. Complications can include:
Slow growth for baby: As pre-eclampsia affects the arteries which carry blood to the placenta, an inadequate amount can reduce blood, oxygen and nutrients leading to growth restriction of baby.
Pre-term baby: In case of a severe pre-eclampsia, your baby may need to be delivered early which can lead to breathing troubles for your baby.
Placenta abruption: It is a condition where placenta separates from the inner wall of the uterus prior delivery. A case of severe abruptions can lead to heavy bleeding and be life threatening for your baby and you.
Reducing the risk of pre-eclampsia
To prevent preeclampsia, consult your doctor. You may be given a low dosage of aspirin if you have certain risk factors such as chronic high blood pressure, kidney disease or diabetes.
In some case, women who are calcium deficient and are unable to get enough through their diet, can benefit from supplements to prevent pre-eclampsia.
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