•It Is A Pregnancy Induced Disease
Preeclampsia is a condition that occurs only during pregnancy. Some symptoms of Preeclampsia may include High blood pressure and Protein in the urine, occurring after week 20 of pregnancy. Preeclampsia is often precluded by gestational hypertension. While high blood pressure during pregnancy does not necessarily indicate preeclampsia, it may be a sign of another problem. Preeclampsia affects at least 5-8% of pregnancies.
WHO IS AT RISK FOR PREECLAMPSIA?
The following may increase the risk of developing Preeclampsia:
A first-time mom
Previous experience with gestational hypertension or preeclampsia
Women whose sisters and mothers had preeclampsia
Women carrying multiple babies
Women younger than 20 years and older than age 40
Women who had high blood pressure or kidney disease prior to pregnancy
Women who are obese or have a BMI of 30 or greater
What are the symptoms of preeclampsia?
Mild preeclampsia: high blood pressure, water retention, and protein in the urine.
Severe preeclampsia: headaches, blurred vision, inability to tolerate bright light, fatigue, nausea/vomiting, urinating small amounts, pain in the upper right abdomen, shortness of breath, and tendency to bruise easily.
How do I know if I have preeclampsia?
At each prenatal checkup your healthcare provider will check your blood pressure, urine levels, and may order blood tests which may show if you have Preeclampsia. Your physician may also perform other tests that include: checking kidney and blood-clotting functions; ultrasound scan to check your baby’s growth; and Doppler scan to measure the efficiency of blood flow to the placenta.
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How is preeclampsia treated?
Treatment depends on how close you are to your due date. If you are close to your due date, and the baby is developed enough, your health care provider will probably want to deliver your baby as soon as possible.
If you have mild preeclampsia and your baby has not reached full development, your doctor will probably recommend you do the following:
Rest, lying on your left side to take the weight of the baby off your major blood vessels.
Increase prenatal checkups.
Consume less salt
Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
Change your diet to include more protein
If you have severe preeclampsia, your doctor may try to treat you with blood pressure medication until you are far enough along to deliver safely, along with possibly bed rest, dietary changes, and supplements.
HOW CAN PREECLAMPSIA AFFECT THE MOTHER?
If Preeclampsia is not treated quickly and properly, it can lead to serious complications for the mother such as liver or renal failure and future cardiovascular issues.
It may also lead to the following life-threatening conditions:
Eclampsia– This is a severe form of preeclampsia that leads to seizures in the mother.
HELLP Syndrome (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count)- This is a condition usually occurring late in pregnancy that affects the breakdown of red blood cells, how the blood clots, and liver function for the pregnant woman.
How does preeclampsia affect my baby?
Preeclampsia can prevent the placenta from getting enough blood. If the placenta doesn’t get enough blood, your baby gets less oxygen and food. This can result in low birth weight. Most women still can deliver a healthy baby if preeclampsia is detected early and treated with regular prenatal care.
How can I prevent preeclampsia:
Currently, there is no sure way to prevent preeclampsia. Some contributing factors to high blood pressure can be controlled and some can’t. Follow your doctor’s instruction about diet and exercise.
Use little or no added salt in your meals.
Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.
Don’t eat a lot of fried foods and junk food.
Get enough rest.
Elevate your feet several times during the day.
Avoid drinking alcohol.
Avoid beverages containing caffeine.
Your doctor may suggest you take prescribed medicine and additional supplements.
Preeclampsia sometimes develops without any symptoms. High blood pressure may develop slowly, or it may have a sudden onset. Monitoring your blood pressure is an important part of prenatal care because the first sign of preeclampsia is commonly a rise in blood pressure. Blood pressure that exceeds 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or greater — documented on two occasions, at least four hours apart — is abnormal.
OTHER SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF PREECLAMPSIA MAY INCLUDE:
Excess protein in your urine (proteinuria) or additional signs of kidney problems
Changes in vision, including temporary loss of vision, blurred vision or light sensitivity
Upper abdominal pain, usually under your ribs on the right side
Nausea or vomiting
Decreased urine output
Decreased levels of platelets in your blood (thrombocytopenia)
Impaired liver function
Shortness of breath, caused by fluid in your lungs
Sudden weight gain and swelling (edema) — particularly in your face and hands — may occur with preeclampsia. But these also occur in many normal pregnancies, so they’re not considered reliable signs of preeclampsia.
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR
Make sure you attend your prenatal visits so that your care provider can monitor your blood pressure. Contact your doctor immediately or go to an emergency room if you have severe headaches, blurred vision or other visual disturbance, severe pain in your abdomen, or severe shortness of breath.
Because headaches, nausea, and aches and pains are common pregnancy complaints, it’s difficult to know when new symptoms are simply part of being pregnant and when they may indicate a serious problem — especially if it’s your first pregnancy. If you’re concerned about your symptoms, contact your doctor.
The exact cause of preeclampsia involves several factors. Experts believe it begins in the placenta — the organ that nourishes the fetus throughout pregnancy.
Preeclampsia is classified as one of 4 high blood pressure disorders that can occur during pregnancy. The other three are:
(1) Gestational hypertension. Women with gestational hypertension have high blood pressure but no excess protein in their urine or other signs of organ damage. Some women with gestational hypertension eventually develop preeclampsia.
(2) Chronic hypertension. Chronic hypertension is high blood pressure that was present before pregnancy or that occurs before 20 weeks of pregnancy. But because high blood pressure usually doesn’t have symptoms, it may be hard to determine when it began.
(3) Chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia. This condition occurs in women who have been diagnosed with chronic high blood pressure before pregnancy, but then develop worsening high blood pressure and protein in the urine or other health complications during pregnancy.
PREECLAMPSIA DEVELOPS ONLY AS A COMPLICATION OF PREGNANCY.
Risk factors include:
History of preeclampsia. A personal or family history of preeclampsia significantly raises your risk of preeclampsia.
Chronic hypertension. If you already have chronic hypertension, you have a higher risk of developing preeclampsia.
First pregnancy. The risk of developing preeclampsia is highest during your first pregnancy.
New paternity. Each pregnancy with a new partner increases the risk of preeclampsia more than does a second or third pregnancy with the same partner.
Age. The risk of preeclampsia is higher for very young pregnant women as well as pregnant women older than 40.
Obesity. The risk of preeclampsia is higher if you’re obese.
Multiple pregnancy. Preeclampsia is more common in women who are carrying twins, triplets or other multiples.
Interval between pregnancies. Having babies less than two years or more than 10 years apart leads to a higher risk of preeclampsia.
History of certain conditions. Having certain conditions before you become pregnant — such as chronic high blood pressure, migraines, type 1 or type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, a tendency to develop blood clots, or lupus — increases your risk of preeclampsia.
In vitro fertilization. Your risk of preeclampsia is increased if your baby was conceived with in vitro fertilization.
The more severe your preeclampsia and the earlier it occurs in your pregnancy, the greater the risks for you and your baby. Preeclampsia may require induced labor and delivery.
Delivery by cesarean delivery (C-section) may be necessary if there are clinical or obstetric conditions that require a speedy delivery. Your obstetric provider will assist you in deciding what type of delivery is correct for your condition.
COMPLICATIONS OF PREECLAMPSIA MAY INCLUDE:
Fetal growth restriction. Preeclampsia affects the arteries carrying blood to the placenta. If the placenta doesn’t get enough blood, your baby may receive inadequate blood and oxygen and fewer nutrients. This can lead to slow growth known as fetal growth restriction, low birth weight or preterm birth.
Preterm birth. If you have preeclampsia with severe features, you may need to be delivered early, to save the life of you and your baby. Prematurity can lead to breathing and other problems for your baby. Your health care provider will help you understand when is the ideal time for your delivery.
Placental abruption. Preeclampsia increases your risk of placental abruption, a condition in which the placenta separates from the inner wall of your uterus before delivery. Severe abruption can cause heavy bleeding, which can be life-threatening for both you and your baby.
HELLP syndrome. HELLP — which stands for hemolysis (the destruction of red blood cells), elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count — syndrome is a more severe form of preeclampsia, and can rapidly become life-threatening for both you and your baby.