Know the basics
What is pre-eclampsia?
Pre-eclampsia is a serious pregnancy complication caused by high blood pressure and has signs of damage other organs, usually kidney. Pregnant women, despite normal blood pressure can also have pre-eclampsia at week 20 of pregnancy. Slightly higher blood pressure may be a sign of disease. If it is not treated promptly, the disease can cause serious complications for the mother and baby’s lives.
How common is pre-eclampsia?
Approximately 6-8% of pregnant women have pre-eclampsia. The disease usually occurs if you have the first pregnancy. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
Know the symptoms
What are the symptoms of pre-eclampsia?
The symptoms of pre-eclampsia can be:
- Blood pressure suddenly increases;
- Protein in urine or kidney problems;
- Serious headache
- Changes in vision such as temporary loss of vision, blurred eyes, sensitivity to light;
- Upper abdominal pain;
- Nausea, vomiting;
- Less urination;
- Reduction in blood platelets;
- Liver function impairment;
- Difficulty breathing due to fluid in the lungs.
- Also, sudden weight gain or swelling limbs also appears, but these common symptoms during pregnancy should not be symptoms.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
See your doctor if you have severe headache, blurred vision, severe abdominal pain and breathlessness. Talk to your doctor to be able to control your blood pressure. Check upon occurrence of symptoms, otherwise you will miss the best time of treatment.
Know the causes
What causes pre-eclampsia?
People have known exact cause of preeclampsia. Experts believe that cause may come from placenta – fetus nourished bodies during pregnancy. In the early stages of pregnancy, blood vessels begin to develop fully to bring blood to the placenta. In women with preeclampsia, blood vessel development seems to be incomplete. They are narrower than normal blood vessels and not properly respond to the stimulation hormone that causes blood count decreasing. The cause of this phenomenon can be: not enough blood flow to the uterus, blood vessel damage, immune system problems occur, mother’s DNA.
Know the risk factors
What increases my risk for pre-eclampsia?
There are many risk factors for pre-eclampsia, such as:
- History of pre-eclampsia: medical history or family history of suffering from preeclampsia will increase your risk of this disease.
- Pregnancy for the first time.
- Age: pregnant women over 40 would have higher risk of pre-eclampsia.
- Multiple pregnancies. Preeclampsia usually occurs in women with twins, three or more.
- Period between pregnancies. If the interval between pregnancies is shorter than 2 years or longer 10 years, you are at risk for pre-eclampsia.
- History of disease. If you have high blood pressure, migraine, diabetes type I or II, kidney disease, lupus … you are at risk for pre-eclampsia.
Understand the diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is pre-eclampsia diagnosed?
There is no specific test to diagnose pre-eclampsia. Your doctor will diagnose based on symptoms, such as increased blood pressure, difficulty in breathing. To confirm the diagnosis of preeclampsia, your doctor will take blood tests and check protein in your urine. Main signs are high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Also, ultrasound and checking the fetal heart rate will be made. Based on these signs, doctor will give accurate conclusions.
How is pre-eclampsia treated?
The only treatment is give birth earlier. You are at risk of seizures, placental abruption, stroke and severe bleeding until blood pressure returns to normal. However, if the baby is too small, this is not the best method. In case that you are diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, you will need to conduct pregnancy tests and blood tests, ultrasounds more often.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage pre-eclampsia?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with pre-eclampsia
- Maintain a diet as prescription
- Rest on bed rest with left inclined position;
- Check urine as prescription;
- Tell your doctor if your hands, feet, face are swollen, or vision changes, headache, or stomach pain;
- Call your doctor if you are more than 1.4 kg in 24 hours.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Ferri, Fred. Ferri’s Netter Patient Advisor. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders / Elsevier, 2012. Download version.
Porter, Robert. Kaplan Justin. Homeier Barbara. The Merck manual home health handbook. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2009. Print edition. Page 1649
Preeclampsia. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000898.htm. Accessed July 13, 2016.
Preeclampsia. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/preeclampsia/basics/definition/con-20031644. Accessed July 13, 2016.
Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017