Pre-eclampsia: All you need to know

Preeclampsia is a medical condition which may develop after 27 weeks of pregnancy most probably because the placenta is not working properly.

It causes reduced blood flow through the placenta which gives lesser amounts of oxygen and nutrients to the baby thus affecting her growth.

The characteristic symptoms of Preeclampsia are high blood pressure and protein present in the urine. Both of these are something you cannot know without testing, you could look out for the other telling signs such as – sudden, sever swelling of face, hand and feet, severe headaches/ vomiting, blurred vision, flashes before the eyes, severe pain under the ribs, feeling of generally being unwell, etc. In case of any of the following symptoms it would be best to refer to the doctor at the earliest.

Your risks of preeclampsia are higher if – you have had it in the previous pregnancy, have a chronic kidney disease, have diabetes, had high blood pressure pre-pregnancy, etc.

There is no fool-proof method to prevent preeclampsia. All you can do is attend all doctor check-ups and do as instructed.

An undiagnosed/ untreated condition of preeclampsia could lead to further complications –

  • Eclampsia: rare but serious condition where membranes of the brain get irritated and could lead to seizures or convulsions, risky for both mother and child
  • HELLP: Rare liver and blood clotting disorder which may indicate the body is breaking down the Red Blood cells, elevated liver enzymes which mean the liver is not functioning properly, or not sufficient platelets to help blood clot.
  • Other complications could include liver and kidney failure, cerebral haemorrhage, pulmonary edema, blind patches, etc.

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