Preeclampsia sounds scary. Don't worry, we've got the information you need about how to treat preeclampsia and how to keep baby safe.
What is preeclampsia?
It's condition when you have a combination of high blood pressure and the appearance of protein in your urine (which is a sign that your kidneys aren't working 100 percent). It's also known as toxemia or pregnancy-induced hypertension and is usually diagnosed after week 20.
What are the signs of preeclampsia?
You might have preeclampsia if your hands, face or feet swell excessively or if you gain more than four pounds in one week. Other symptoms include vision changes, intense pain the upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting and severe headaches. It's serious because it can affect the placenta, as well as your kidneys, liver and brain. It can lead to a condition called eclampsia, which creates seizures and can cause major organ problems and even death.
Are there any tests for preeclampsia?
Your doctor will give you a physical exam and will test your blood and urine.
How common is preeclampsia?
It happens in about 5-10% of pregnancies.
How did I get preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is more likely to occur among women with chronic high blood pressure or who developed preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy, as well as women over age 40 or younger than 20 and those pregnant with twins, triplets or higher-order multiples. Also, if you have a blood clotting disorder, diabetes, kidney disease or certain autoimmune diseases, you may be at a higher risk. There may also be a genetic link, so pay special attention to warning signs if your mom had preeclampsia.
How will preeclampsia affect my baby?
Don’t panic too much, but get ready, because when you’re diagnosed with preeclampsia, that usually means you’re going to have a baby very soon. Luckily, moms and babies dealing with preeclampsia usually turn out just fine if the disorder is detected early.
See next page for treatments, prevention, resources and tips from other moms-to-be.