Preeclampsia is a leading cause of maternal mortality. It is a serious complication of high blood pressure causing signs of damage to organs such as the liver and kidneys, usually developing after 20 weeks of pregnancy up to six weeks after delivery. Preeclampsia affects about one in 12 pregnancies.
Preeclampsia is caused due to defect in the maternal blood vessels feeding into placenta, a connection which nourishes the growing fetus throughout pregnancy. These blood vessels develop and evolve early in pregnancy. Inwomen with preeclampsia, the development or function of these blood vessels are compromised. This leads to limit the amount of blood that can flow through them and thus causing stress at placenta.
Many factors put mothers at a higher risk for preeclampsia; such as family history of preeclampsia, chronic hypertension, first pregnancy, new paternity, age (both very young pregnant women as well as pregnant women older than 35 are at higher rich), race, obesity, multiple pregnancy, long interval between pregnancies, in vitro fertilization.
Preeclampsia can occur quickly without much warning. If not treated, Preeclampsia can be fatal, for both mom and baby. To save yourself and your baby at risk of serious complications, early signs and symptoms must be understood, reported to the healthcare provider. These signs are usually marked by high blood pressure, proteins in urine, severe headaches, swelling of the face and hands, sudden weight gain, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, and reduced baby movements.
In preeclampsia condition, premature delivery may be the option to save life of both mother and the child. However, mom needs to receive care if she was experiencing high blood pressure and related preeclampsia symptoms even after the healthy delivery. Preeclampsia risk can be reduced by regularly attending your prenatal visits, monitoring blood pressure and weight, knowing and discussing with your doctor family history of high blood pressure and heart disease, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly.
Take care of yourself and your baby through early and regular prenatal care. If preeclampsia is detected early, you and your doctor can work together to prevent complications and make the best choices for you and your baby.