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Preeclampsia Awareness

During pregnancy, your body is going through many changes and it can be confusing differentiating between normal pregnancy symptoms and red flags which should raise concern. Preeclampsia is a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure that can lead to serious and even fatal complications for mother and baby. Some signs of preeclampsia such as high blood pressure might not be apparent to you while others, such as a headache, may be clear. Today we’re going to learn more about the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia to help you identify a problem early on for the best outcome and learn more about treatment.

Preeclampsia and eclampsia are often confused so first let’s break down these terms. Preeclampsia is a type of high blood pressure that happens during pregnancy. This condition can cause the placenta to pull away from the uterus too early, causing your baby to be born early. Untreated preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia. Eclampsia happens when preeclampsia begins to cause seizures. It can also cause liver and blood problems. Preeclampsia usually begins after 20 weeks of even the first few days after delivery. Woman who are pregnant for the first time, have had preeclampsia before or have had high blood pressure before pregnancy may be more at risk for developing the condition.

You may not have any noticeable symptoms, but symptoms may include:

  • Swelling in your hands, feet and face, especially around the eyes

  • Protein in your urine (your doctor should check your urine for protein at your visits)

  • High blood pressure

  • Confusion

  • Trouble breathing

  • Tiny red dots on your skin

  • Headaches

  • Blurry vision or vision changes

  • Seizures

  • Vomiting and belly pain

Treatment varies depending on how severe the preeclampsia is. It is normal to have to stay in the hospital for a period of time to closely monitor you until the baby grows enough to be safely delivered, usually around 36 weeks of pregnancy. You may be given medicine to lower your blood pressure and, if your blood pressure can be controlled, you may be able to go home. You will need to rest and avoid stress.

With very bad preeclampsia and eclampsia, you’ll be hospitalized immediately and given IV magnesium sulfate to prevent or stop seizures. You may get medicine via IV to lower your blood pressure. If the condition develops close to your due date, your doctor may induce labor. Delivering your baby is the best way to stop preeclampsia and eclampsia. After delivery, you’ll receive magnesium sulfate for 24 hours and continue to be closely monitored for a few days in the hospital.

What can you do? Proper prenatal care is essential for early detection and intervention. Don’t miss your appointments. Contact and discuss any symptoms you may be experiencing with your healthcare provider. Ready to schedule your next visit? Contact one of our WomanCare locations today.


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