Pre-eclampsia is defined as having high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy in a woman who previously had normal blood pressure. High blood pressure in this case may be just a slight increase in blood pressure. If left untreated, pre-eclampsia can lead to very serious complications for both the mother and growing baby.
What are the symptoms of pre-eclampsia?
Pre-eclampsia may develop gradually but often begins abruptly after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Signs and symptoms of pre-eclampsia in women who previously had normal blood pressure levels include:
- High blood pressure -- 140/90 or greater documented on two occasions at least 6 hours but no more than 7 days apart
- Excess protein in the urine
- Changes in vision -- sensitivity to light, blurred vision or temporary vision loss
- Upper abdominal pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sudden weight gain -- typically more than 1 kg
What are the causes of pre-eclampsia?
Pre-eclampsia causes may include:
- Poor diet
- Immune disorder
- Damage in the blood vessels
- Insufficient blood flow to the uterus
What are risk factors for pre-eclampsia?
- Prior history of pre-eclampsia
- First pregnancy
- First child with a new partner
- Age: The risk of pre-eclampsia is higher for women younger than 20 and older than 40
- Multiple gestation
- Long periods of time in between pregnancies
What are my options if I have been diagnosed with pre-eclampsia?
The only absolute cure for pre-eclampsia is delivery. With pre-eclampsia, the mother is at increased risk of seizures, placental abruption, stroke and severe bleeding until the blood pressure decreases. If you believe that you are at risk for pre-eclampsia or that you have pre-eclampsia, visit your physician as soon as possible in order to discuss what is best for you and your growing child.
To discuss your risk towards pre-elampsia, schedule an appointment at Fakih IVF Fertility Center today to meet with an Obstetrician.