When facing your pregnancy, it is possible for a number of different things to go wrong. Pre-eclampsia, or preeclampsia, happens to be one of the ailments that could plague you and cause you and your child complications. There are some specific risks and precautions that should be noted. By taking action early, you might be able to avoid the complications. Within this guide, you will be able to learn everything you need to know.
What is Preeclampsia?
Over the years, it has been proven that pre-eclampsia is the most common problem that women will face, during their pregnancies. It is estimated that this complication will impact 1 in 20 pregnant women. So, what is it? Well, preeclampsia is a condition, which causes your blood pressure to increase significantly. It’ll also bring about swelling and albuminuria. Typically, the swelling will be visible, within the face, feed and hands.
What causes Preeclampsia?
Overall, there are a number of different impactful elements that could potentially lead to preeclampsia. For starters, women that are going through their first pregnancy will be at a much higher risk for developing the ailment. Women, who are plagued by diabetes, will also be at a higher risk. Finally, those pregnant with twins will also be more likely to be impacted. Although experts are unable to determine the cause, some women will present preeclampsia symptoms, during every pregnancy.
Unfortunately, the underlying causes are unknown and often debated among medical professionals.
Symptoms of Preeclampsia
There are a number of different warning signs that should be taken note of, during pregnancy, in order to identify this condition. During the initial stages, the majority of women that are impacted will display two problems, which will be laid out below.
- Protein in the urine or proteinuria
- High blood pressure or hypertension
Unfortunately, most women will not be able to identify these signs on their own. Instead, their primary care provider is typically the first one to notice the changes. It is also important to note that a small, but significant, percentage of women experience hypertension, during pregnancy, and the majority of them do not have pre-eclampsia.
Finally, as the condition worsens and progresses, the impacted female will begin to experience swelling or edema. This should be visible in the feet, hands and face. Swelling is very common, within pregnant women, so a visit to your medical professional is necessary for proper diagnosis. Other later systems can be found below.
- Blurry vision
- Frequent and severe headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Increased weight gain
- Aches below the ribs
If any of these conditions are present, it is vital to seek out medical attention, as quickly as possible.
Potential Preeclampsia Dangers to Baby
When you face preeclampsia in pregnancy, it is possible for the baby to be impacted by the condition. Below, you will find some of the potential dangers that your baby may face.
Eclampsia – If the condition is left untreated, it is possible for it to worsen into eclampsia. If this happens, the condition becomes very dangerous for the baby and the mother. This can result in a coma, permanent brain damage and even death! When it reaches this stage, the baby’s life is at risk!
Placental Abruption – In some cases, preeclampsia can result in the placental removing itself from the inner wall of the uterus. If this happens, it can cause heavy bleeding, which could cause significant damage to the placenta and will put the mother and baby’s lives at risk.
Decreased Blood Flow – This condition can also decrease the blood flow to the placenta, which can result in the baby not getting enough oxygen. This can cause the baby to grow at a slower rate and may result in premature birth and breathing difficulties.
HELLP Syndrome – In severe cases, it is possible for the condition to grow life threatening very quickly. Hemolysis Elevated Liver Enzymes and Low Platelet count can occur during the 20th week of the pregnancy. The only effective treatment for HELLP is to give birth as quickly as possible!
Diminished Thinking Skills – Unfortunately, pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure are believed to cause the baby to be born with diminished thinking skills. If the baby is impacted in this manner, they can carry the ailment for many years.
Prevention of Preeclampsia
If you have a history of preeclampsia, your OB/GYN may prescribe a low-dose aspirin for you to begin taking, during the third trimesters. They will often prescribe 60-81 milligrams daily, which can potentially decrease your risks of getting preeclampsia again.
Your OB/GYN should have prescribed you a daily dose of calcium. It has been determined that women that suffered from hypocalcaemia (low serum calcium levels), which is more common in foreign countries.
Monitor your weight throughout your pregnancy, by maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine. Preeclampsia may be linked to obesity, especially in women that have a history of preeclampsia.
Make sure that you provide this vital information to your OB/GYN, so he will be able to find a solution to preventing this life threatening condition from occurring again.
Treatment for Preeclampsia
As soon as your OB/GYN diagnoses you with preeclampsia, he may prescribe you an antihypertensive (medication to lower blood pressure) or corticosteroid (steroid to boost infant lung maturity). Your baby’s lungs can actually mature very quickly over a 48 hour time period.
Anticonvulsants (anti-seizure medications) may also be prescribed to combat seizures. Magnesium sulfate is most often prescribed, in this case, but your physician will make the appropriate decision that will suit your personal needs.
While bed rest is crucial, it can also increase the risk of thrombosis (blood clots), so now it is not recommended for a pregnant to stay in bed for long periods of time.
Hospitalization will be in order, if amniotic fluid is not present, which can potentially decrease the blood flow to the infant. This can cause the baby to exhibit duress, so an emergency C-section delivery may be in order.
The only cure for preeclampsia is delivery. Although the OB/GYN will try to avoid inducing labor at all costs, but if the mother or baby show signs of duress, it will be scheduled immediately.
Avoid NSAIDs after delivery, because they will cause hypertension. Tylenol is the best alternative to combat pain.
When it comes down to it, preeclampsia in pregnancy can lead to dangerous and severe complications, if it is not handled properly and immediately. With this in mind, you should take note of the symptoms mentioned above. If you believe that you may be suffering from pre-eclampsia, you should make sure to meet with a medical professional, as soon as possible.