Preeclampsia: Causes, Risk Factors, Prevention, and Treatment
Pregnancy can be a beautiful experience many women look forward to. However, it is still a very delicate phase when the woman’s body is undergoing a lot of changes, and the smallest of signs could indicate complications that must be inspected further.
One of these complications is preeclampsia, a condition in which a pregnant woman’s blood pressure rises, accompanied by other symptoms such as swelling of the limbs and high levels of protein detectable by urine tests, and could lead to further difficulties like premature birth or stillbirth.
It can also develop into eclampsia which involves seizures and swelling of the brain and may be fatal to the mother or the child.
It’s crucial to pay attention to signs of preeclampsia so that it’s managed early and doesn’t develop into eclampsia, which is threatening to both the mother and the fetus.
But how is preeclampsia diagnosed? Nonetheless, some common symptoms can alert you prior to the blood tests.
It’s important to attend all prenatal checkups and undergo regular tests as some women may not show any symptoms, and the doctor can help get a diagnosis through blood tests.
- Gaining a noticeable amount of weight in 1 to 2 days due to fluid retention.
- Pain in the shoulders
- Discomfort or pain in the upper right side of the abdomen.
- Headaches that weren’t present prior to pregnancy.
- Confusion and a change in reflexes.
- Reduced amount of urine or reduced urge to pee.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Acute nausea and vomiting
- Vision symptoms such as floaters, blurriness, flashing lights, etc.
Finding the right Obstetrics & Gynecology Clinic in Sharjah can play a huge role in planning a following up with your pregnancy.
There are no known causes for preeclampsia, but it has been correlated with an irregular forming of the blood vessels in the placenta, which causes disturbed blood flow to the fetus, leading to problems with managing blood pressure in the mother.
Although there’s no one cause for preeclampsia, there are indicators that doctors consider during pregnancy planning. These factors include:
- Teen pregnancy
- Pregnancy after 40
- Women of African-American descent
- First pregnancies
- Pregnancy less than 2 years after the previous one
- Pregnancy more than 10 years after the previous one
- Pregnancy from a different partner than the biological father of prior kids
- Family history
- Being pregnant with multiple babies
- IVF pregnancy
- Kidney disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
These are the most common risk factors for preeclampsia. Moreover, poor dental hygiene has also been linked to preeclampsia, making it another less common risk factor.
Anyway, keeping your oral health in check is important regardless of your risk of preeclampsia. Consider visiting a Dental Clinic in Sharjah to keep your teeth in top health at all times.
Women with one or more of these factors mentioned above are more likely to suffer from preeclampsia during pregnancy, and they should be aware of it so they can bring it up with their gynecologist.
After taking into consideration the risk factors, it’s noticeable that some of them can help women of reproductive age take the necessary steps toward protecting themselves and their babies.
These are some lifestyle changes women can make to improve their overall well-being and reduce their chances of developing preeclampsia:
- Getting into a healthy weight range before pregnancy
- Control weight gain during pregnancy
- Quit smoking and alcohol even before the pregnancy
- Regulate blood pressure and sugar levels
Doctors may prescribe medication like aspirin to take during pregnancy to control blood pressure, depending on the severity of the case.
Preeclampsia can develop as early as 20 weeks into pregnancy, but it often happens later in the pregnancy or even after birth.
In cases where it happens before birth, the only treatment is to give birth; that’s why some doctors may induce labor before the due date or go through with a c-section birth.
However, when it happens after birth, it usually resolves within 48 hours, but it’s important to remain under medical supervision to avoid any further complications.