Written by Editorial Team
Different types of complications, either physical, physiological, or psychological, can affect the expecting mother in the course of pregnancy. Preeclampsia is one such pregnancy complication. High blood pressure is the primary symptom of this potentially life-threatening pregnancy condition.
While we do not know for certain what triggers preeclampsia, there are several factors that may increase your risk of developing the condition more so than other women. Prenatal checkups are crucial for the prevention and treatment of complications like preeclampsia during pregnancy.
In This Article
Preeclampsia is a condition that happens only during pregnancy and appears mostly after the 20th week of pregnancy. Very rarely, it is also reported before the 20th week of gestation. Preeclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure even if the expecting mother has no previous history of blood pressure (pregnancy-induced). The protein level in their urine also increases significantly. Women with preeclampsia also develop swelling in the feet, legs, and hands.
If preeclampsia is not recognized, it will develop into the next stage, called eclampsia, which can put the life of the mother and child in jeopardy. Because there is no sure-shot way to treat preeclampsia, the only way to protect yourself is to learn about the symptoms and go for regular prenatal checkups so that the condition can be detected early and necessary steps can be taken. The earlier it is caught, the easier it is to manage.
Though the exact cause of preeclampsia and eclampsia is not known, it is understood it results from a placenta that is not functioning correctly. Reduced blood flow to the placenta is the primary cause of preeclampsia, though some experts believe that poor nutrition and high body fat can also be responsible for the condition.
This can happen if:
The signs and symptoms of preeclampsia include:
There are certain factors that increase the risk of preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia can result in placental abruption, which is the sudden separation of the placenta from the uterus. It can also result in cardiovascular disease, eclampsia, and HELLP syndrome (Hemolysis- demolition of RBC; Elevated Liver enzymes; Low Platelet count)
Significantly decreased blood flow toward the placenta will, in turn, decrease the availability of oxygen and nutrients for the fetus. This can cause:
It can also increase the probability of infection (maternal) after childbirth, sometimes causing rare but serious complications like strokes, seizures, heart failure, water in the lungs, and bleeding after birth.
Around one crore women are reported to develop preeclampsia around the world in a year. Out of this, around 76,000 mothers are reported to lose their life.
As there is no treatment for preeclampsia other than delivering the baby, it is important to learn how to manage it. Once you are diagnosed with preeclampsia, your doctor will closely monitor you.
Taking rest, increasing the intake of fluids, decreasing the intake of salt, and undergoing regular examinations by the doctor are some of the measures that help to manage preeclampsia.
You may have to stay in the hospital and the doctor will:
If your condition is severe, you will be admitted to the hospital for the rest of the gestation period, and an expert team will:
Remember, the only cure for preeclampsia and eclampsia is the delivery of the baby, which depends on how far along you are in your pregnancy. If your baby has developed enough and you are around 37 weeks of gestation, induced labor or a c-section may be done to combat the effects of preeclampsia. In case the baby is not close to term, strict monitoring will be done until the baby develops enough to be delivered. Remember, the closer to the due date your baby is born, the better it is for him.
As we already said, delivery is the only way to get rid of preeclampsia. The doctor will induce labor (if needed) so that the risk of the delivery, the health of the baby, and the health of the mother are least affected.
Yes, it can. Regular exercises can help you maintain your blood pressure. Exercise is beneficial for pregnancy otherwise too.
The exact cause of preeclampsia is unknown. So it is difficult to prevent it. maintaining a balanced lifestyle during pregnancy can help.
Yes, it can. It is one of the symptoms. If your morning sickness does not subside, you need to get checked for preeclampsia.
No, it may not be. headaches during pregnancy are common. Preeclampsia will include high blood pressure.
With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.
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