Preeclampsia Signs and Symptoms
Women experience a variety of symptoms during pregnancy including nausea, indigestion, skin changes, etc. While most of these are harmless and pose no threat to the mother or baby, there are certain conditions that mothers need to look out for due to their potential danger. One of these conditions is Preeclampsia.
What is Preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is a rare but serious complication of pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure and proteinuria, which is basically having abnormal amounts of protein in your urine.
It usually occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy in a woman that has had normal blood pressures before that period. The reasons for preeclampsia are unknown and may happen in any woman, even in one that has had a previously normal pregnancy.
Some risk factors for pre-eclampsia include:
- Preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy
- Twin or higher multiples pregnancy
- Hypertension before pregnancy
- Kidney disease
- Pregnancy after an assisted conception method like IVF
It can lead to an even more severe condition called Eclampsia which is characterized by signs of preeclampsia along with seizures in a pregnant woman.
How is it diagnosed?
If you have symptoms suggestive of preeclampsia, your healthcare provider will prescribe certain tests and check your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is too high at any given point, a repeat reading is usually taken before moving forward.
If you have sustained high blood pressure, your health provider might prescribe a urine test to check your urine for protein. Some health providers also do additional blood tests to check for liver and kidney functions.
If you have protein in your urine along with increased blood pressure levels, you are said to have preeclampsia.
What are the signs and symptoms to look out for?
Common signs and symptoms associated with preeclampsia include:
- Swelling of hands and feet
- Persistent headache
- Blurred vision
- Pain in the upper abdomen
- Nausea along with vomiting
- Sudden weight gain
- Difficulty breathing
What are some ways to help with Preeclampsia?
Currently, there is no way to prevent preeclampsia. It is something that can happen to anyone during pregnancy. The research suggests that it is improper functioning of the placenta including insufficient blood flow to the placenta. The ultimate treatment for preeclampsia is induction of labor and delivery of the baby. However, there are temporary treatments your healthcare provider can use to prolong pregnancy.
- Low dose aspirin
- Blood pressure-lowering medications
If you don’t have severe symptoms, you can try certain lifestyle modifications to lower your blood pressure. These can be:
- Low salt diet
- Bed rest
Ask your healthcare provider about anything else you should be doing or avoiding to prevent preeclampsia or manage symptoms of preexisting preeclampsia.