We have all heard about high blood pressure and its possible dangers but its impact on pregnant women can be specifically serious as it affects the health of the baby too. It is a good idea to stay well aware of the symptoms and risks of Preeclampsia so you can deal with the situation seriously if it arises.
What is it?
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy condition that is caused by high blood pressure levels after the completion of 20 weeks of gestation. It is also associated with elevated levels of protein in the urine.
High BP or hypertension during pregnancy may be quite dangerous for the mother and baby and is also known as toxaemia during pregnancy.
The red flags
Preeclampsia can be majorly categorized into two types, mild and severe. Both of these have different symptoms:
Mild preeclampsia is characterized by high BP and raised protein levels in the urine whereas these symptoms are accompanied by headaches, nausea, puke episodes, and seizures in case of severe preeclampsia.
An affected person may also experience light sensitivity and pain in the abdomen.
One must always be on a lookout for these symptoms so that the condition can be diagnosed well in time.
The doctor will also assess you for this condition during your prenatal visits. It is still a good idea to let them know if you observe any of the above symptoms.
While the exact cause of preeclampsia is not known, below are some factors that may trigger it:
• Age: Women past 40 years of age stand at a higher risk of being diagnosed with preeclampsia. An age below 20 years may also cause it.
• Multiple babies: In case of twin babies or multiples, the risk of preeclampsia is higher.
• Prenatal obesity: This may be one of the major underlying causes that trigger High BP
• Other health complications: such as high sugar, kidney complication, arthritis etc.
Risks of Preeclampsia
If not dealt with medical intervention, it can cause the following pregnancy complications:
• The placenta is responsible for the baby’s food and also supports the baby. Preeclampsia can cause serious damage to the placenta if untreated.
• Kidney, liver, and brain damage to the mother.
• If uncontrolled, preeclampsia may lead to eclampsia, i.e., the occurrence of seizures.
• Birth complications such as premature delivery and low birth weight.
• Fatality for both the mother and the baby in some cases.
How to Prevent Preeclampsia
While there is no sure bet to avoid preeclampsia, it is always a good idea to take precautions. Below are some measures you can take:
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Indulge in a balanced diet power packed with nutrition
• Be regular with your pre-pregnancy checkups
• Minimize salt intake
• Take your medicines seriously, especially if you already had a high BP condition even before pregnancy
How to manage preeclampsia if it occurs
If you have been diagnosed with preeclampsia, it can be managed in the following ways:
• Close monitoring at home or hospital
• Medication to control BP
• Medication to prevent seizures
• Early delivery if required
Relax and trust your doctor
It is good to be aware of symptoms and precautions but not ideal to get overworked. Your doctor will deal with it the best and it is recommended to always stick to prenatal schedules and medicines to ensure a healthy delivery.
Also read: Understand Preeclampsia Before You Regret it