Preeclampsia and pregnancy – Preeclampsia is a condition some pregnant women face and is linked to elevated blood pressure and the presence of some proteins in the urine. It is a condition that still gives headaches to specialists, as the causes and prevention methods are unknown.
Preeclampsia occurs most frequently after the 20th week of pregnancy – during the second quarter or the third quarter. It occurs most often after the 37th week of pregnancy, towards the end, which is preferred because it will induce birth and the fetus has the best chance of being born without problems.
Preeclampsia and pregnancy – causes:
The causes of preeclampsia are not absolutely sure, but the condition has been linked to reduced blood flow to the uterus, an unbalanced diet, being overweight, high cholesterol, hypertension. The risk of experiencing this condition increases if a pregnant woman is at the first pregnancy, if she has hypertension, if she faced preeclampsia in other pregnancies (or close relatives have had this condition), if the pregnancy is multiple, if the mother is overweight, if the mother suffers from chronic conditions such as diabetes or autoimmune diseases, if the future mother is a teenager or is older than 40 years.
Preeclampsia and pregnancy – symptoms:
The most obvious symptoms are involve the severe swelling of the face and hands; during the pregnancy, it is common for feet and ankles to swell in the case of edema, a risk-free condition caused by water retention; if, however, both legs suddenly swell together with the hands and face and bed rest does not improve the situation, it is possible to have preeclampsia and medical advice is needed. Any inconvenience of this kind must be disclosed to the doctor.
- Severe headaches and dizziness;
- Blurred vision, double vision, blurred spots, temporary loss of vision;
- A visible and sudden weight gain;
- Less frequent urination, no urination or blood in the urine;
- Abdominal pain;
- Episodes of severe vomiting;
Preeclampsia and pregnancy – the risks involved:
Preeclampsia has milder or more severe forms; the earlier it manifests during pregnancy, the more the risks increase and can get worse. During the observation of the symptoms, it is imperative to see a doctor, or otherwise the condition can develop into eclampsia – a very severe form involving very high risks (seizures, coma, or the death of the mother and fetus). Fortunately, most pregnant women develop a mild form of preeclampsia just towards the end of the pregnancy, which makes it possible to induce the birth of a baby who will be healthy.
Preeclampsia increases the risk of preterm birth, fetal growth failure (cognitive or sensory impairments) and of low birth weight – the placenta does not get enough blood. A severe form and eclampsia involves too much risk for women (organ damage – liver, kidneys, brain), so the solution is to induce labor.
Preeclampsia can occur just during labor or after birth – the woman will be closely monitored and will be given medication to reduce the high blood pressure and will remain under medical observation for a few days.
Preeclampsia and pregnancy – measures:
Precautions. There are no clear actions to prevent preeclampsia. But it is important for pregnant women to have a balanced diet, take the prenatal supplements recommended and keep their weight under control. Regular medical checks and informing the doctor about any possible symptoms help detect earlier this condition. It was thought for a while that aspirin may be useful in preventing preeclampsia – but this opinion is not true, so do not take aspirin during pregnancy.
Treatments. There is no treatment that cures preeclampsia itself – it heals after birth. Mild forms can be kept under control at home, where pregnant women will rest in bed and will check the blood pressure regularly. Bed rest will be added frequent medical visits for checking the pressure, urine tests, sonograms and non-stress tests to check the condition of the fetus. More severe forms require constant medical supervision at the hospital. There are certain medications administered (including medications that help lower blood pressure and magnesium sulphate- which prevents convulsions).
Induction of birth. If a pregnant woman is near term, an artificial birth will be induced, with good odds that the baby will be healthy. Depending on the condition of the woman and fetus, a natural birth or a cesarean will be chosen. But when preeclampsia has severe forms and involves serious problems for the woman (organ damage) or signs of fetal distress, birth will be induced regardless of the fetus’ age. After birth, the blood pressure returns to normal – in 1-2 days for mild forms.