FAQs About Preeclampsia
Certain health problems can occur only during pregnancy. One example is preeclampsia. Not every pregnant woman will be diagnosed with preeclampsia, but when it does happen, it typically occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy. To diagnose health problems as soon as possible, it’s important for expecting mothers to attend all prenatal care appointments as recommended by their physicians.
What is preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is a condition characterized by elevated blood pressure during pregnancy. This high blood pressure is accompanied by signs of damage to the liver, kidneys, or other organs. If it’s left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to fatal complications for the mother and baby. Some possible complications may include fetal growth restriction, placental abruption, preterm birth, HELLP syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and eclampsia. Eclampsia involves seizures.
Am I at risk of preeclampsia?
Any woman who is pregnant or has just recently given birth is potentially at risk of preeclampsia. Some factors that may increase the risk of preeclampsia may include having a personal or family history of this complication, chronic hypertension, obesity, and pregnancy with multiples. Very young pregnant women and those older than age 40 are at an increased risk, as are those who have had a very short interval between pregnancies or pregnancies that are more than 10 years apart.
How will I know if I have preeclampsia?
It’s possible to develop preeclampsia without having any symptoms. Your physician may ask you to monitor your blood pressure if you’re at an increased risk of preeclampsia. Some potential signs and symptoms include severe headaches, decreased urine output, nausea and vomiting, changes in vision, shortness of breath, and upper abdominal pain. A physician can check for impaired liver function, kidney problems, fluid in the lungs, and decreased platelets in the blood, all of which can indicate preeclampsia.
Care Net Pregnancy Center of Kittitas County offers confidential pregnancy services to expecting mothers and their partners. You can call their office at (509) 925-2273 to request an appointment. They are conveniently located in Ellensburg, WA.