Should you be worried about preeclampsia?
The topic of preeclampsia has been a hot topic lately after a new study linked the condition to autism in children. The report puts preeclampsia in the spotlight and has moms talking about the condition.
Here are some facts from the Preeclampsia Foundation:
What is preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia, sometimes referred to as toxemia, is a serious blood pressure disorder that can affect all of the organs in a woman’s body and usually results with protein in the urine.
Preeclampsia occurs in 5 to 8 percent of all pregnancies.
Preeclampsia can sometimes be known as the silent killer because warning signs like high blood pressure can’t be felt. Understanding the symptoms can be vital in determining if you need to seek medical attention. Symptoms of preeclampsia can include persistent swelling of the face and hands, a headache that will not go away, seeing spots or changes in eyesight, pain in the right abdomen or shoulder, nausea and vomiting, sudden weight gain and difficulty breathing.
Most of these symptoms occur in the third trimester, roughly 20 weeks into pregnancy.
How can the condition affect your baby?
Preeclampsia can prevent the placenta from getting enough blood. If the placenta doesn’t get enough blood, the baby loses oxygen and food supply, which can result in a low birth weight. To help prevent this, early detection is key and can be treated with regular prenatal care.
What are the risks for me?
Women who have had preeclampsia have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and kidney disease later on in life. This can include heart attacks, stroke and high blood pressure.
Identifying the risk factors early is important. If you are pregnant for the first time, have a family history of chronic hypertension, kidney disease or are overweight when pregnant, you may be more susceptible to getting the condition. Also, becoming pregnant after 40 years old can increase your risk.
You should also share your family history with your obstetrician. Patients who have medical conditions such as diabetes, lupus or have a history of chronic hypertension or kidney disease should be monitored.
Experts say delivery is the best option for those experiencing severe preeclampsia. Physician have found that pregnant women with high risk of preeclampsia have found benefits from Aspirin.
Woman experiencing mild preeclampsia, bed rest and constant monitoring of the mother’s blood pressure is the best remedy.
Unfortunately, preeclampsia can’t be prevented. Immediate delivery is highly encouraged.
Obstetricians are key to helping their patients in bringing awareness about the disorder early on in their pregnancy.
“Preeclampsia is a ticking time bomb if not diagnosed right away so talk to your physician if you think you are experiencing these conditions,” says Dr. Anjali Sawant, obstetrician at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill.
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