Experiencing Pre-eclampsia? We are here to help!
What is Pre-eclampsia?
Pre-eclampsia is a life threatening condition that only occurs during pregnancy. It causes high blood pressure and can cause protein to leak from the kidneys and through the urine. The leaking of protein can be shown through a test that captures urine samples. Pre-eclampsia usually develops sometime after the halfway point, of 20 week mark, of the pregnancy and it typically gets better within six weeks of delivery of the baby. There are varying degrees of severity with pre-eclampsia and the complications can impact both the mother and the baby. About 1 in every 200 pregnant women in the UK develop pre-eclampsia.
the exact cause of pre-eclampsia is still unknown. However, it is assumed that the condition arises out of something being wrong with the placenta, or afterbirth. Right now, it is assumed that there is something wrong with the development of the blood vessels of the placenta in pre-eclampsia. It is also believed that there is some damage to the placenta itself which may in fact cause problems in transferring nutrients and oxygen to the baby.
While there is no one known cause for pre-eclampsia, there are some women who are more likely to develop the condition. Women are more likely to develop pre-eclampsia if:
1. The mom is over the age of 40
2. The mom is in her first pregnancy or has not been pregnant for the last 10 years
3. The mom is obese
4. The pregnancy is of multiples such as twins, triplets, or more.
5. Pre-eclampsia has been demonstrated in the pregnancy of the mom's sister or mother
There are also some very high risk factors for developing the condition. Any pregnant woman who has experienced any of the following risk factors or conditions is at a very high risk of having pre-eclampsia during their pregnancy. These risk factors include the following:
- Kidney Disease
- High Blood Pressure Prior to Pregnancy
- Pre-eclampsia in a Previous Pregnancy
- Antiphospholipid Syndrome
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Many women do not experience many symptoms related to pre-eclampsia right away. The severity of the condition is usually linked to the mom's blood pressure level. However, this is not always the case. Many women only experience mildly increased blood pressure and a very small amount of protein in their urine. However, the symptoms can worsen to include the following:
- Stomach Pain
- Swelling in the hands, face, and feet
- Vision Problems
- Not feeling the baby move as frequently
The best treatment for pre-eclampsia is to consult with a specialist, such as an obstetrician. It may be necessary to receive care in a hospital setting to better and more accurately monitor blood pressure and protein in the urine. Tests can also be performed to measure and track the functions of the liver and kidneys. The baby's heart rate can be recorded and an ultrasound can be done to ensure that the baby remains healthy. The only real cure for pre-eclampsia is delivery of the baby. Since the placenta is assumed to be the cause of the condition, removing it from the body is the only real cure for the condition.