Meaning Of Pre-eclampsia In Pregnancy, It’s Symptoms, Causes & Preventions

Pre eclampsia is a complication occurring during pregnancy that begins around 20 weeks of gestation for some woman or can develop at 32 weeks of gestation as well. It’s a problem that occurs in 1 out of 20 pregnancies. If pre eclampsia is left untreated it might lead to eclampsia which causes convulsions and might even cause coma. According to research pre eclampsia occurs in 5-8% pregnant population world wide.

What exactly happens in pre eclampsia and can it be prevented?

During the third trimester the blood pressure in the pregnant lady is expected to rise. It is likely to go above 140 mmHg systolic and above 90 mmHg for diastolic which is are defined ranges. First and foremost thing is to keep monitoring the blood pressure of the pregnant lady. Reading are to be taken twice with a gap of four to five hours in between and the measurement that come need to be around the given ranges.

Pre eclampsia Symptoms

In case of pre eclampsia, the blood pressure tends to go above the levels. Also, when the urine of the lady is tested it shows increased protein levels. Clinical symptoms also include swelling on the hands, face and legs especially there is pitting oedema on the foot which is unresolvable. Pitting oedema is a swelling, if you press the area having it you can see a depression which does not go by itself.

While pre eclampsia cannot be prevented completely there are certain ways medically and other wise to keep it under control.

What are the main causes of pre eclampsia?

There is till date no known cause of pre eclampsia, but that are certain factors which are linked to it.

  • Family history of pre eclampsia
  • Previous history of pre eclampsia in the mother
  • Being hypertensive
  • Obesity
  • Advanced maternal age, above 35
  • Multiple gestation
  • Having donated a kidney
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes mellitus

All of the above or any few of them can be considered as risk factors which can lead to pre eclampsia.

How does pre eclampsia affect the growth of the foetus and how is it detected?

A good news is many women with pre eclampsia deliver healthy babies. It’s not necessary that it’s always going to affect the baby. But if there are complication related to pre eclampsia in the woman, it can cause liver and kidney damage to the woman along with pulmonary oedema (fluid in the lungs) which may cause damage to the placental blood flow and hamper the growth of the baby. In such scenario, the doctor constantly monitors the placental blood supply, the size of the foetus to keep it under check.

How do I control my pre eclampsia symptoms?

  • Follow your doctor’s advice, they will prescribe you with drugs containing aspirin to keep your blood pressure under control of you fall under risk category of pre eclampsia. Also, calcium helps to control the blood pressure so do not miss your calcium doses.
  • Avoid consumption of salt or at least make it very minimal
  • Drink at least 6-7 glasses of water daily.
  • Exercises are a good way to control your blood pressure, but do not workout heavily.
  • Avoid fried or spicy food.
  • Avoid caffeine.
  • Include food which contain folic acid, calcium, vitamin D in your diet.
  • Early diagnosis is the key, never miss your prenatal check ups.

Will I get pre eclampsia during my second pregnancy too?

While the research states that the severity and chances of getting pre eclampsia again are low, the chances range from 20-80% percent. All this depends on the same risk factors, if you still have them the chances becomes more. But this time your healthcare provider will be even more careful and would start with low dose of aspirin from the beginning, you could also control your diet and exercises. So it might be risky but it done under vigilance it might not be problematic.

So folks, I hope I have covered some essential details regarding pre eclampsia for you all. It is one of the widely increasing complications these days. I always recommend the same age old saying that “precautions are better than cure” so it’s better to know about than to be sorry later. And for women who are already going through, my advice would be “stay strong and trust your doctor”. If your doctor suggest you an early delivery to save you and the baby, just go for it. Me and him would never want you to regret later.

Do not judge his decisions, it will probably save two lives.

Happy pregnancy & parenting!!

Dr. Krutika Kumaresan

Dr.Krutika. Kumaresan MPT is an Adult and Paediatric neuro therapist.                                                                                                                 

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