Preeclampsia is a condition that is exclusive to pregnancy, and if left untreated, can lead to the life-threatening condition of eclampsia. This condition, which only occurs in pregnant women, leads to hypertension — also known as high blood pressure. In addition, women who have preeclampsia also may have protein leaking from their kidneys into their urine. Of all women who are diagnosed with preeclampsia, 1 in 100 will experience eclampsia. Eclampsia is a life-threatening pregnancy complication, similar to a seizure or a convulsion. It is critical that preeclampsia is detected early and treated in order to avoid eclampsia.
Preeclampsia occurs in up to 8% of all pregnancies, making it extremely important the expectant mothers understand the signs, symptoms and treatment options.
Preeclampsia Symptoms and Risk Factors
The first symptoms of preeclampsia are high-blood pressure, protein in the urine and extra water retention. More severe symptoms include blurred vision, fatigue, shortness of breath, frequent headaches and abdominal pain. Some women may have preeclampsia but are not showcasing any of the traditional signs and symptoms, which is why monitoring is important throughout the entirety of pregnancy.
Women who are at risk of developing preeclampsia include those experiencing their first pregnancy, those who are pregnant with multiples, those who are obese, those who are over the age of 40, and those who have a family history of preeclampsia. While these risk factors increase the chance of developing preeclampsia, any pregnant woman can be diagnosed with this condition.
Preeclampsia Treatment Options
The treatment options for preeclampsia vary based on the severity of the condition and the individual patient. When preeclampsia is detected early and determined to be mild, it is often recommended that the patient rest, drink additional water, and consume foods with less salt. Dietary changes to include more protein also may be recommended. Women who have severe preeclampsia may need medication in order to lower their blood pressure until it is safe to deliver the baby, and bed rest also may be necessary. Your OB/GYN can help create a treatment plan that is best for your health and the health of your baby.
At Plaza OB/GYN, we encourage women to make routine prenatal appointments throughout their entire pregnancy. This allows our obstetricians to monitor the woman's blood pressure as well as check for protein in her urine. Preeclampsia is treated most effectively when it is detected early, and much of our prenatal care involves screening for this condition. If you are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms of preeclampsia, we invite you to contact Plaza OB/GYN. Our high-risk pregnancy doctors are dedicated to helping women overcome complications during pregnancy and successfully deliver full-term babies.
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