Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication in which the pregnant woman suffers from high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, often the kidneys. The onset of preeclampsia is usually after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Even a slight rise in blood pressure could be a sign of preeclampsia
- Insufficient blood flows to the uterus due to narrow blood vessels
- Problem with the immune system
- Damage to the blood vessels
- Genetic factors
- Excess protein in the urine
- Severe headaches
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Shortness of breath, liquid in your lungs
- Decrease in urine output
- Decrease in count of platelets
- Impaired liver function
Factors that increase the risk of preeclampsia
- The family history of preeclampsia.
- The risk of preeclampsia is higher in the first pregnancy.
- Obese women are more at risk.
- Preeclampsia is more common in women carrying multiple babies.
- Pregnancy over the age of 40 increases the risk.
- An interval of less than 18 months between two babies or an interval of more than 10 years between two babies increases the risk of preeclampsia.
- Pre-existing conditions like migraine, gestational diabetes, hypertension, type2 diabetes can all increase the risk of developing preeclampsia.
Complications that can arise due to Preeclampsia
- Preeclampsia can prevent the placenta from receiving enough blood. This can cause your baby to be born very small.
- It is also a cause for preterm birth.
- The complications that can follow in the baby include learning disabilities, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and vision problems
- In pregnant women preeclampsia can cause serious complications like stroke, seizure, heart failure, water in the lungs, reversible blindness, bleeding from the liver, bleeding after you have given birth.
- In some cases, preeclampsia can also cause the placenta to suddenly separate from the uterus, which is called placental previa or abruption. This can cause stillbirth.
- If you are 37 weeks pregnant then the doctor will suggest that you deliver your baby either by C-section or inducing. This will keep preeclampsia from getting worse
- If your baby is not close to term, then the only option is to control preeclampsia as far as possible by medical means.
- The doctor may prescribe bed rest.
- Careful monitoring of fetal heart rate and frequent ultrasounds.
- Medicines to lower blood pressure.
- Blood and urine tests
If you have severe preeclampsia then the doctor may recommend that you deliver your baby right away even if you are not close to term. After delivery, signs of preeclampsia usually go away in one to six weeks.