Raised blood pressure isn’t something that should be neglected. However, when a woman who’s pregnant develops preeclampsia, now that would be an even bigger problem, as both mother and baby can be possibly in danger. Abnormal eyesight, headaches, and other particular symptoms during pregnancy can be harmless complaints – or they could be warning signs of preeclampsia, which is a pregnancy-induced condition associated with increased blood pressure that develops after the 20th week of pregnancy. It is also referred to as toxemia of pregnancy and is very risky for the mother and the baby as well.
Preeclampsia Types And Symptoms
The two general types are mild preeclampsia, where high blood pressure and increased protein levels are the only symptoms seen, and severe preeclampsia where headaches, vomiting, nausea, and seizures are present along with the symptoms seen from mild preeclampsia. Other equally important symptoms that one should watch out for are abdominal pain and light sensitivity.
On the other hand, all these symptoms mentioned above could be simply due to a woman’s pregnancy, which is why it is vital to visit your primary physician or obstetrician as soon as possible. Although the doctor is going to check you for these symptoms while on your prenatal care phase, it would be better to keep him informed about these symptoms, as they can either be negligible or life-threatening.
Preeclampsia Risk Factors
There are specific risk factors for developing preeclampsia during pregnancy. These include:
- When the woman is younger than 20 or over 40 years old.
- When she had a prior diagnosis of preeclampsia.
- When there is existing hypertension, even before getting pregnant.
- If the woman is having twins, triplets, or other multiples.
- Being obese or overweight
- If the pregnant woman suffers from other conditions like diabetes, lupus, kidney disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
According to Robert D. Martin Ph.D., “Roughly one in ten pre-eclampsia cases develop into the more serious condition of eclampsia.”
If this condition is not addressed as soon as possible, it can destroy the pregnant woman’s placenta, which is the feeding conduit that provides support to the baby. It can also damage the woman’s liver, kidneys, and, ultimately the brain. Additionally, other symptoms that are not common are premature birth, low birth weight, and seizures. “Women at a high risk of mental health issues should get regular screenings, and doctors should treat mental health issues as health concerns, not personal failings,” Joel L. Young M.D. says.
There is no concrete list of ways to prevent preeclampsia. A healthy lifestyle consisting of proper diet, exercise, and visiting your obstetrician regularly will decrease the chances of women developing complications and make sure that preeclampsia and other serious conditions are noticed early on and be capably managed. “Finding healthy ways to reduce stress is an essential part of optimizing the health of mothers-to-be and the development of their babies from conception through the postnatal period,” Ann Diamond Weinstein Ph.D. advised. If your blood pressure has increased over your pregnancy period, you must get the help of your doctor to put this under control through diet, physical activity, and medication.
Doctors state that if preeclampsia exists in the pregnant woman, it depends on the phase of her pregnancy. If she is at term, the baby needs to be delivered. If she is at pre-term, the doctors will try their best possible way to manage the preeclampsia and keep the baby safe until it is developed and can be delivered.
If you are pregnant and diagnosed with preeclampsia before your delivery date, you must be monitored closely by your healthcare team in the hospital or at home. Your doctors might decide that preterm delivery is needed, and medication is administered to help develop your newborn’s lungs before delivery.
Preeclampsia symptoms often disappear within six weeks of delivery, but there are some women whose high blood pressures persist after this time frame. They will now be diagnosed with hypertension.
Though it is difficult to foresee who develops preeclampsia, more knowledge and education about it and its symptoms and regularly going to your prenatal care checkups will tremendously help increase your chances of a healthy and safe pregnancy and delivery.
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