This article explains what preeclampsia is, the symptoms of it, and what to do if you suspect you may have it.
Preeclampsia is a condition that some pregnant women get. Preeclampsia is kind of a mystery to us. No one really knows the exact cause of it and why it happens to some pregnant women. What we do know is that around %5 of women end up with preeclampsia. It is common in first time pregnancies and in multiple birth pregnancies. It is believed that factors such as poor nutrition or genetics, or an incompatibility between the pregnant woman and the father may have something to do with the onset of preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia affects the response of the mother’s immune system causing her system to have problems and not work correctly. What happens to a mother is that the blood flow is changed due to the vascular system changing shape. The tubes that carry the blood become sort of knotted up, where some will be very thin while others are very wide. The vascular system of a normal person is comprised of straight hollow tubes to put it as easily as I can. Since some of the tubes are more narrow the increased pressure of the blood flow forces fluid in to the tissues of the body and this causes the blood to become thicker which causes your blood pressure to rise .
The symptoms of preeclampsia are:
Swelling usually in the face and fingers, some swelling in the feet is normal but extreme swelling even in that area is not.
Hypertension –Meaning your blood pressure will go high.
Protein in the urine
Also extreme and persistent headaches can be a sign of preeclampsia.
Gaining more than 2 pounds in one week
If you are pregnant and having any of these symptoms you need to see your doctor right away.
Affects on the Baby
The decreased blood flow causes the baby to not get the amount of blood flow that they need to develop properly and can lead to intrauterine growth retardation.
The Only Cure Is Birth
Unfortunately there is no cure for preeclampsia except for having the baby. The doctor can try and slow the progression of the preeclampsia in order to give the baby’s lungs enough time to mature. As soon as the doctor feels the baby’s lungs are ready they will bring on delivery and remove the baby.
If your preeclampsia is mild you will likely get to stay at home but you will be required to take your blood pressure several times a day. You will also need to test your urine. You should not leave the house for any other reason than to visit your doctor. Preeclampsia can go from mild to severe in a matter of hours so be prepared to go to the hospital at any time. Your preeclampsia is becoming severe if your blood pressure reaches 160/110. Another sign that it is becoming severe is a 2+ or more of protein in your urine. You will also not feel very well. You will likely have a terrible headache and possibly a feeling of heartburn. If you are experiencing any of this get to the hospital right away. If there is not someone there to drive you call an ambulance, it is not wise to drive yourself at this time. There is a danger of seizures happening at this time. When you arrive at the hospital you will be given an IV with medication in it that is used to prevent seizures.
You will likely be admitted to the hospital and the baby will soon be delivered.