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What is Preeclampsia during Pregnancy?

07.06.2019 Posted By : Dr Ashok Rattan Share :
What is Preeclampsia during Pregnancy?

Pregnancy can be a challenging time. While a good number of soon-to-be moms would agree that the changes in their bodies are worth it but, some pregnancy symptoms can indicate problems like preeclampsia which is a severe disorder that usually develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It is marked by high blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine. Preeclampsia affects 5-8% of pregnant women.

Who is at risk for preeclampsia?

  • First-time moms
  • Women who have previously experienced gestational hypertension or preeclampsia
  • Women whose mothers and sisters have had preeclampsia
  • Women carrying more than 1 child
  • Women who are younger than 20 years and are older than 40 years
  • Women who have had high blood pressure or kidney disease before their pregnancy
  • Women that are obese or have a BMI of 30 or greater

Signs & Symptoms of preeclampsia

The symptoms of preeclampsia are often go unnoticed which can be scary. The indication one gets if she has preeclampsia is when she visits the doctor for screening the blood pressure and urine tests.

One should check for the following symptoms of preeclampsia:

  • Sudden excessive weight gain without eating
  • Severe swelling of hands and face
  • Swelling in the ankles that don’t go away
  • A very severe headache that does not react to acetaminophen medicine
  • Vision changes that include blurred or double vision
  • Abdominal pain and particularly in the upper abdomen
  • A sudden rise in the blood pressure (to 140/90 or more in a woman who has never before had high blood pressure)
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Scant or dark urine
  • Shortness of breath

A lot of these symptoms, like weight gain and ankle swelling, can be normal in a perfectly healthy pregnancy and high blood pressure on its own is not preeclampsia. That’s why, it’s important to visit the doctor every two weeks or monthly, who can monitor symptoms and, if necessary, order tests to make a definitive diagnosis.

How will your doctor diagnose preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia testing usually involves monitoring the patient’s blood pressure during prenatal visits. A blood pressure of 140/90 millimetres of mercury or more on two occasions at least four hours apart is abnormal. If the patient has noticed any signs of preeclampsia she must make sure to tell the doctor, as this will assist in making a diagnosis. The doctor may perform further preeclampsia tests such as:

One should check for the following symptoms of preeclampsia:

  • Blood tests to look at liver function, kidney function, and the level of blood platelets
  • Urine analysis to check the amount of protein in your urine
  • A foetal ultrasound to monitor the baby's growth, estimate the patients' weight and check the amount of amniotic fluid
  • Non-stress test to check how the baby's heart rate reacts when the patient moves
  • Biophysical profile to measure the baby's breathing, muscle tone, and movement.

Expecting mothers must take proper care & if they notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to get a check-up to make sure the mother and baby are safe. It is always a good habit to book a blood test and urine test from a top quality pathology lab.

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