Preeclampsia is a serious condition related to high blood pressure impacting some pregnant women. Typically beginning in mid to late pregnancy, and sometimes up to six weeks after delivery, this disease can happen to any woman. It is essential to diagnose and maintain proper care throughout your pregnancy to avoid life threatening risks to you and your baby.
What are the Signs?
Speak to your doctor right away if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Upper abdominal pain (often under the ribs)
- Nausea or vomiting
- Swelling in hands and face
- Visual changes (seeing spots, tunnel vision, loss of sight in one eye)
- Gaining more than 5 pounds in a week
- Difficulty breathing
- Heartburn - new onset (this is due to swelling of the liver)
In some cases, preeclampsia causes no signs, which is why it's important to visit your obstetrician for regular prenatal checkups. Your physician can check your blood pressure and test your urine for any indicators of the disease.
What Are The Risks?
Preeclampsia and other hypertension disorders pose a significant health risk to you and your baby. While causes of the disease vary with each woman, the risk of illnesses from preeclampsia include:
The risks to your baby include:
- Premature birth
- Lifelong developmental challenges
If you are diagnosed with preeclampsia, your doctor will review your treatment options and discuss the best options for a safe delivery.