Preeclampsia is a serious condition that may happen after the 20th week of pregnancy or after giving birth. It causes high blood pressure and other issues which can stress your heart and cause problems during and after pregnancy. Keep reading to learn more about preeclampsia warning signs before and after delivery.
What Is Preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is a serious condition where pregnant women have high blood pressure, protein in their urine, and swelling in their legs, feet, and hands. It occurs late in pregnancy or immediately after, though after birth it is known as postpartum preeclampsia. The condition can range from mild to severe.
The only cure is to give birth, but symptoms of preeclampsia can remain 6 weeks or more after birth. It is important to know the preeclampsia warning signs and symptoms, and go to all your prenatal examinations with All About Women OB/GYN in Reston, VA. Catching it early lowers your risk for long-term problems for you and your baby.
Preeclampsia Warning Signs
Many women don’t know they have preeclampsia until they see their physician, just as most people don’t know they have high blood pressure. In addition to high blood pressure with swelling of hands, feet, and legs, and protein in the urine, there are other signs.
Common signs and symptoms of preeclampsia include the following:
- High blood pressure 140/90
- Belly pain especially in upper right side of abdomen
- Trouble breathing
- Weight gain of 2-5 pounds in a week
- Severe headaches
- Urinating less or not at all
- Vomiting and nausea
- Vision changes like floaters and flashing lights
Some of these are common symptoms of pregnancy which is why you should see All About Women OB/GYN with any combination of the above symptoms. Preeclampsia can affect the blood supply to the placenta along with kidney and liver function, plus a buildup of fluids in the lungs.
Complications From Preeclampsia
If left untreated preeclampsia can be fatal for you and your baby.
The placenta can separate from the wall of the uterus known as placenta abruption. The baby may not get enough oxygen and needed nutrients. Vaginal bleeding is another sign that this has occurred. Lastly, intrauterine growth restriction happens when the baby does not have sufficient blood and nutrients.
Another complication is postpartum hemorrhage where women experience heavy bleeding after birth. This can cause shock and be fatal.
Preeclampsia leads to an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease later in life.
Consistent prenatal care and control of your blood pressure during and after pregnancy can correct preeclampsia and treat it before you are at risk for complications.