Pre-eclampsia describes a variety of different symptoms that occur during pregnancy, or shortly after delivery, and is characterized by a collection of different symptoms.
All of these symptoms are warning signs and should be reported to your healthcare provider immediately. Pre-eclampsia can progress to eclampsia, which is seizures and convulsions, and will not be caused by a previous history of convulsions or epilepsy disorder of any sorts.
Pre-eclampsia symptoms and signs
- Excessive swelling
- Protein in your urine
- blood pressure
- A change in reflexes
- Pain under the ribs
- Seeing spots or blurred vision
Although there is no known cause of pre-eclampsia, it often occurs in first pregnancies and in pregnancies were the woman is over 35 years of age.
How will pre-eclampsia affect baby?
Well, this really depends on how early it develops in your pregnancy and how severe it is. Obviously, the worse it is the more risk there is for baby. Fortunately, most women who develop pre-eclampsia develop a mild version towards their due date and in most cases baby does just fine with the correct care.
However, in cases where pre-eclampsia is severe, it can affect many organs and cause serious, or life threatening, problems. Pre-eclampsia causes your blood vessels to constrict, this results in high blood pressure which causes a decrease in the blood flow. This in itself can effect organs such as your liver, kidneys and brain. Of course, with less blood flowing to your uterus, it can lead to complications for your baby. Common complications include:
- Poor growth
- Decreased amniotic fluid
- Placental abruption
- Effects of prematurity if you need to deliver early to protect your health.
How is pre-eclampsia treated?
The ultimate goal of treating pre-eclampsia is to avoid eclampsia and the resulting seizures which would occur. Doctors can do this by keeping an eye on your blood pressure and your weight gain. Treatment of pre-eclampsia often involves bed rest, which allows for your kidneys to work at their best and provides the greatest blood flow to your uterus. Here are some other pointers to help deal with pre-eclampsia
- Lie on your side and not your back
- Avoid salt or salty foods
- Avoid foods which may contain sodium
- Drink lots of water