Pre-eclampsia symptoms and treatment

pre-eclampsia symptoms

Warning signs of pre-eclampsia: Staying informed

What is pre-eclampsia?

Pre-eclampsia is a pregnancy-related disorder whose main symptoms are high BP and large amount of protein in the urine, and is likely to occur after 20th week of pregnancy. It is known to affect at least 5-8% of the pregnancies.

Who is more prone to pre-eclampsia?

  • First time moms
  • Moms with a history of gestational hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis before pregnancy
  • Women whose sisters and mothers have had pre-eclampsia
  • Women carrying multiple babies
  • Women younger than 20 years and older than 40 years of age
  • Women with high BP or kidney problems prior to pregnancy
  • Women who are obese or with a BMI greater than 30

Signs and symptoms of Pre-eclampsia

The severity of pre-eclampsia ranges from mild to severe.

Symptoms of mild pre-eclampsia:

  • Swelling
  • High protein in the urine
  • High blood pressure
  • Water retention

The more severe symptoms of pre-eclampsia include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Reduction in urine or lack of it at all
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weak reflexes
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain at the upper right side.

How do I detect it?

Your doctor will track your history and order you to take certain testsregularly to detect any symptoms. These tests include kidney functioning, blood clotting tests,ultrasound scans to test your baby’s growth.

Also if you face any of the above symptoms, remember to contact your doctor immediately.

Preventing Pre-eclampsia

While there is no way to really prevent it, you can definitely bring it under control by following a proper diet, taking a low dose of aspirin (consult your doctor on this) and giving up smoking (if you haven’t yet). There is no one opinion on if there is connection between physical activity and pre-eclampsia. It may differ case to case, and your doctor is the best judge of it.

Treatment of Pre-eclampsia

There is usually no treatment except for the delivery of the baby. However, this might not always be possible at the time preeclampsia is detected. The treatment for preeclampsia depends upon the time it has been diagnosed and also its severity.

Depending upon severity, the mother is usually given medication to treat the high blood pressure during delivery and upto six weeks following the delivery. The mother could also be given medication like oxytocin to ripen the cervix and induce labour.

Aftercare for Pre-eclampsia

Bedrest and less physical stress is usually recommended for the mother to keep her blood pressure under control. Remember to always try to remain calm, in most mothers, the blood pressure comes back to normal a couple of weeks after delivery of the baby.