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Month: May 2024

Things You Should Know About Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a condition that can develop in women during pregnancy, usually around 20 weeks, or after pregnancy. This condition results in high blood pressure and can affect other parts of the body, such as the kidneys and liver. If the condition goes untreated, it can be harmful for both mom and baby. Here are a few things you should know about preeclampsia.

How common is preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is rising in the US and has increased by 25% in the past 20 years. Around 5% of women deal with preeclampsia each year. Typically, if caught and treated early, most women are able to carry and deliver their baby safely.

Are you at risk of preeclampsia?

It is not known what exactly causes preeclampsia, but there are some risk factors that may make you more likely to have it. If you have any of these risk factors, we encourage you to tell your physician.

  • You had preeclampsia in another pregnancy. And the earlier in that pregnancy that you had it, makes your risk of having it again higher.
  • You are pregnant with twins, triplets or more.
  • You have high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease.
  • You are overweight with a BMI of 30 or higher.
  • You have a family history of preeclampsia.
  • You are over the age of 35.
  • You had complications in another pregnancy, such as low birth weight.

Preeclampsia can affect not only the mom but the baby as well. Complications include seizures, strokes, bleeding, pre-term delivery, and organ damage. It is important to monitor your symptoms and go to all your prenatal visits  and contact your doctor if you become concerned.

What are the symptoms of preeclampsia?

The number one sign of preeclampsia is high blood pressure and left untreated can cause your kidneys and liver to not work properly. Here are some symptoms of preeclampsia:

  • Continuous headache
  • Blurry vision or light sensitivity
  • Severe nausea
  • Pain in your belly
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of your hands, feet and legs
  • Rapid weight gain

Sometimes, preeclampsia has no symptoms, or the symptoms are similar to regular pregnancy traits. This is why it is important to see your doctor regularly, have routine screenings, and monitor how you feel. Early detection can drastically reduce the effects of preeclampsia.

Are there causes of preeclampsia?

Unfortunately, preeclampsia has no identifying cause, and some people are just at a higher risk of developing it. Treatment can include close monitoring by a doctor and providing medications to counteract the symptoms. If you are in good health and at least 37 weeks, your physician may recommend delivering the baby early.

Because headaches, nausea, and aches and pains are common pregnancy complaints, it’s difficult to know when new symptoms are just part of your pregnancy or when it is an indicator of a more serious problem. If you have questions or concerns regarding preeclampsia, do not hesitate to contact your provider at Greenville Women’s Care to schedule an appointment.