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What is Preeclampsia?

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey. But this smooth ride can be bumpy at times. One such bump to your incredible journey to motherhood is Preeclampsia.Preeclampsia is a serious medical condition where a pregnant woman (usually after 20 weeks) experiences high blood pressure and the presence of a protein called proteinuria in her urine. If left untreated, preeclampsia may develop into a severe condition called eclampsia which can put both the mother and the baby at risk and can be life-threatening. Therefore, a pregnant woman should keep themselves aware of any signs and symptoms to avoid such complications.


Signs and Symptoms of Preeclampsia

If you are over 20 weeks pregnant (in rare cases it is seen before 20 weeks) and have been experiencing the mentioned symptoms then you can Google “gynecologist near me” and consult with one for more information regarding your and your growing baby’s health:

  • High blood pressure

[caption id="attachment_20294" align="aligncenter" width="500"]

measuring blood pressure

measuring blood pressure[/caption]Blood pressure greater than 140/90 (systolic/diastolic) measured twice with a gap of 6 hours in pregnant women can be a signal of developing preeclampsia. If so then do not wait, take your phone and dial the number of your gynecologist to confirm your doubts.Remember that not all pregnant women with blood pressure equal to or higher than 140/90 (systolic/diastolic) could have preeclampsia. It might also indicate other health conditions like gestational or chronic hypertension.

  • Presence of proteinuria in the urine

Proteinuria is a protein found in the human body. The presence of abnormal quantities of Proteinuria in the urine signifies symptom of preeclampsia and should be brought to the attention of your doctor immediately. The presence of 1% of the body’s protein in the urine is termed “normal” but more than that it indicates damage to the kidneys. Since proteins in the blood is filtered and purified by the kidneys and reabsorbed by the blood again.

  • Edema

Swelling (or edema) of the feet and ankle is common during pregnancy but sudden swelling of your feet and hands along with puffiness in your face, and around the eyes, is a symptom of preeclampsia.

  • Hyperactivity of involuntary muscles

Hyperactivity of involuntary muscles can be due to an increase in the reflexes to stimulations such as sudden twitching of the hands and legs, seizure (characteristic of eclampsia) which needs immediate medical attention.

  • Sudden weight gain

Everyone knows that a woman can gain over 25–30 pounds of weight during pregnancy, where an increase of one pound every week (after the first trimester) is considered to be normal. But, if the weight gain is over 2 pounds per week, then it could be a sign that you are developing preeclampsia due to the damaged blood vessels which leak the fluid and results to retain within the body.

  • A headache like a migraine

A throbbing headache like a migraine which doesn’t subside even after taking counter medicine is a sign of preeclampsia. It indicates an irritation in the central nervous system caused due to preeclampsia.

  • Change in the vision

A headache is accompanied by changes in the vision accompanied by flashing lights, sensitivity to light, aura, and blurring are some of the symptoms.

  • Shoulder pain

Another alarming sign of preeclampsia is a severe stinging shoulder pain and a pain around the neck which makes it difficult for you to sleep on your right side.

  • Other symptoms include
  1. Anxiety
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Low urine output
  4. Abdominal pain
  5. Nausea and vomiting

When to see a doctor?

[caption id="attachment_20296" align="aligncenter" width="500"]

doctor measuring high blood pressure on patient

doctor measuring high blood pressure on patient[/caption]To be safe, if you are over 20 weeks pregnant and have been experiencing 2 or more of the above symptoms, then you need to consult with your healthcare specialist right away. Preeclampsia is seen in around 8–10% of the pregnant women and is a life-threatening condition with needs immediate attention.We know that no pregnant parents would like a speed breaker on their incredible journey. Therefore, a regular prenatal checkup is of prime importance for you and your bundle of joy to have a happy, healthy pregnancy.Must read - Physical and Hormonal changes during pregnancy