The following article comes from our friends at Nokia for health, and appears in their Pregnancy Tracker program available in the free Health Mate app available for iOS and Android. They are sharing it here to help raise awareness as May is officially preeclampsia awareness month, and this condition is something every pregnant woman needs to be aware of.
What is preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure in women who had normal blood pressure readings before pregnancy. It usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy, although it can also occur earlier. If untreated, it can lead to serious complications for both mom and baby.
What are the signs?
It is important to note that preeclampsia can be symptomless. The first common sign of preeclampsia is a rise in blood pressure. Symptoms of preeclampsia may also include high levels of protein in the urine, headaches, changes in vision, sudden weight gain, and swelling of the legs, feet, hands, or face.
What are its causes?
The exact causes of preeclampsia are unknown. Researchers believe it is related to a placenta that doesn’t function properly due to narrower-than-normal blood vessels sending blood to the organ.
Monitor your blood pressure
You will most likely have your blood pressure taken at your doctor’s appointments, but you can also monitor your blood pressure at home. Contact your care provider if you see a sudden rise in your blood pressure readings, or if your readings indicate a high blood pressure (greater than 140/90 mmHg).
If you want to know more about self-monitoring your blood pressure, see: High Blood Pressure: Causes, Risks & How Self-Monitoring Can Help
What happens if preeclampsia is diagnosed?
If you’re diagnosed with preeclampsia, your care provider will likely discuss options with you, including planning the delivery. In fact, the only cure for preeclampsia is delivery. However, if it’s early in the pregnancy, your care provider will likely advise you to continue the pregnancy with more intense care. Expect more frequent prenatal visits, as well as additional blood and ultrasound tests.
Want to know more?
Read a first-person account of a mom who experienced a rare form of preeclampsia.
- Mayo Clinic. Diseases and Conditions - Preeclampsia. 2014. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/preeclampsia/basics/definition/con-20031644
- WebMD. Preeclampsia and Eclampsia. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/preeclampsia-eclampsia