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Many women experience a lot of complications during their journey in pregnancy. The more common complication is called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia causes high blood pressure in pregnant women along with kidney damages and other problems that follows. Preeclampsia affects around 5 percent of pregnant women in the United States. Preeclampsia is the worst thing to come across in pregnancy because it is potentially life threatening. Preeclampsia is very dangerous to you and your baby, but preeclampsia may not even show any symptoms at all even if you feel fine. At every prenatal visit your primary health physician will check your blood pressure by screening you for preeclampsia. If your doctor detects that your blood pressure is high, he/ or she will then test your urine for protein.
Women in their last trimester will most likely develop preeclampsia, but on some occasions, preeclampsia can develop in the second half of your pregnancy or it can happen at any time, you never know it can occur during your labor or six weeks after you deliver your baby. Preeclampsia can be very severe so quickly or slower. HELLP syndrome and eclampsia can cause dangerous problems in your health for the baby and yourself if preeclampsia is left untreated. If you develop preeclampsia early, it makes preeclampsia more severe which makes it a much greater risk for you and the baby and it also makes room for more dangerous complications.
Most of the time doctors make it an order that women with preeclampsia deliver their baby early because the condition could get worse and it affects many organs and that is not healthy for either the women or the baby. High blood pressure develops from preeclampsia from the preeclampsia causing the blood vessels to tighten. Affected organs in the body is caused by reduced blood flow. The organs that are being affected is the liver, kidneys, and brain. Preeclampsia that causes these changes in the body can “cause small blood vessels to leak fluid into tissues, resulting in edema.”
Protein from bloodstream spills into the urine when it leaks. Many of us have a little bit of protein in our urine but if it increases it can cause health problems. Babies can suffer problems when there is not that much blood flowing in the uterus such as placental abruption, poor growth, and too little amniotic fluid. If a baby must be delivered early the baby may suffer from prematurity.
In preeclampsia symptoms, preeclampsia sometimes does not show any symptoms at all, mostly common in the early stages, and the symptoms develop differently in other women. Women may experience some nausea or swelling and even weight gain associated with preeclampsia, even though these symptoms seem like regular pregnancy symptoms they are not, you must understand the warning signs of these symptoms such as if you see any type of swelling or puffiness in your face or around your eyes. You notice swelling in your hands, you suddenly develop swelling in your feet or in your ankles, you suddenly gain a lot more than 4 pounds a week. But not all women will have swelling or weight gain. Even though swelling is the most common symptoms there are many others, such as really painful and constant headaches, changes in your vision, seeing things in doubles, you will experience blurriness, seeing sudden spots or see flashing lights, be sensitive to light, or be temporary blind. You might even have bad pain and feel tenderness in your stomach. In the second or third trimester you can experience nausea and vomiting and last but not least, you may have a hard time breathing.
As I explained earlier women can develop HELLP syndrome. “HELLP stands for hemolysis, the breakdown of red blood cells, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets, the blood cells that are necessary for clotting.” You will get a blood test often to check for signs of HELLP syndrome. Having HELLP syndrome puts you and the baby at more risk for complications. The HELLP syndrome usually develop before you deliver your baby or after you deliver your baby.
Preeclampsia can also lead a woman to have seizures from a condition known as eclampsia. Symptoms of eclampsia are similar to preeclampsia such as really painful headaches that are persistent, changes in your vision, having blurry vision, you can start seeing spots, you might also be sensitive to light, have some confusions, have severe upper stomach pain. A lot of times seizures show up without any warning that is why your doctor gives you antiseizure medication known as magnesium sulfate before and after delivery.
Reduced blood flow to the placenta is the cause of preeclampsia. The placenta did not properly line itself in the uterus, and the arteries found there did not dilate like it should have. That is the reason why less blood flow to the placenta. The release of high levels of certain placental proteins into the bloodstream is from the changes in blood flow to the placenta that triggers it. This might can set off a complex chain of reactions like tightening of the blood vessels that leads to high blood pressure, the vessel walls becoming damaged that can lead to the swelling and protein that is in your urine. Your blood volume has been reduced, you will notice that your blood clots had changed.
Even though certain underlying diseases, or genetics or even nutrition or the way your immune system is adapting to your pregnancy, may all play a role in why this happens, but the reason why some of these things happen to some women but not others cannot fully be understood. Preeclampsia is more common in your first pregnancy but once you develop preeclampsia you be more likely to develop it again in your other pregnancies.
The chances of you getting preeclampsia again is 40 percent or higher if you already had severe preeclampsia that had started before 29 weeks of pregnancy, but there other risk factors to worry about like if there is family history or preeclampsia, if you are obese having a body mass index of 30 or more, or if you are carrying twins or carrying more, If you are younger than 20 or older than 35 or even if you have in vitro fertilization (IVF). If you have chronic hypertension or certain blood clotting disorders like thrombophilia or antipholipid syndrome, diabetes or kidney disease, autoimmune diseases such as lupus you will most likely develop preeclampsia. (Babycenter, 2016).
The treatment for preeclampsia is that the doctor wants to deliver the baby to treat the preeclampsia to avoid further complications if the person was pregnant for 37 weeks or later. The doctor will give the women treatment options if her pregnancy was less than 37 weeks to allow the fetus to develop more, it also depends on how severe the condition might be. He/ She might give the choice that if the preeclampsia is not severe but mild that they can wait to deliver the baby. The doctor may also tell the women to be on bed rest to prevent complications such as high blood pressure, bed rest can lower the high blood pressure and it also can increase the blood flow to the placenta.
The doctor also will explain that she needs close monitoring. She will also need blood and urine tests to see how the preeclampsia is doing. The blood test will include platelet counts, and check the liver enzymes, and make sure the kidney is functioning well, along with checking the protein levels. Not only does the women have to be tested on, so do the fetus and the doctor is having to do ultrasound on the mother to make sure the fetus is doing fine, they also must watch the heart rate, make sure the fetus is growing and check that the mother has enough amniotic fluid.
The mother might also need steroid injections if the mother gets admitted into the hospital for monitoring to help speed up the development of the fetus’s lungs. Usually the symptoms of preeclampsia go away within 6 weeks of delivery. (Communication, 2017). There are ways that you can prevent preeclampsia and there are plenty of rest, a lot of exercises but nothing that is too intense, lower the amount of salt you use, have a lot of garlic in your system, take marine oil, drink a lot of things that contain antioxidants, progesterone, take your diuretics medication. (Lopes, 2012)
The prognosis of preeclampsia is that once the placenta comes out the condition of preeclampsia goes away on its own, although it might stay a little bit longer after your delivery. (Athenahealth, 2018). The statistics of preeclampsia is that “preeclampsia affects up to 6% of pregnancies in the UK and 2-8% globally, severe preeclampsia pregnancies develop in around 1-2% of UK pregnancies, 8-10% of all preterm births result from hypertensive disorders, including preeclampsia, 1 in 6 women who have had preeclampsia will have it again in a future pregnancy.” (Tommy’s, 2018).

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