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Q&A: What's preeclampsia?

What exactly is preeclampsia and how can I prevent it from happening to me? Are there any warning signs?

Re: What exactly is preeclampsia and how can I prevent it from happening to me? Are there any warning signs?

The Bump Expert

Preeclampsia (also known as toxemia or pregnancy-induced hypertension) is diagnosed if, after week 20, you've got both high blood pressure and protein in your urine. Though its cause is a bit of a mystery, the consequences are clear. With preeclampsia, blood vessels constrict and reduce blood flow, which can affect the liver, kidneys and brain. Blood flow to baby also may be interrupted, which in severe cases can lead to poor growth, insufficient amniotic fluid or placental abruption.

Preeclampsia is fairly rare (5%-10% of pregnancies) and usually pops up between week 20 and a few days after delivery. There seems to be some genetic link, so pay special attention to warning signs if your mom had preeclampsia. Risk is also increased in women with chronic hypertension, blood clotting disorders, diabetes, kidney disease or certain autoimmune diseases, as well as those who are obese, older than 40 or younger than 20, or carrying more than one fetus. Keep an eye on your body, and let your doctor know if your hands, face or feet swell excessively or if you gain more than four pounds in one week. Other warning signs include vision change, intense pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting and severe headaches. If you're diagnosed with the condition, your doctor will monitor you very closely, limit your activities, and may induce labor a bit early.

Luckily, moms and babies dealing preeclampsia usually turn out just fine if the disorder is detected early. Your best defense: Keep all of your prenatal appointments (your doctor screens for preeclampsia every time) and be aware of the warning signs. Also, studies show that keeping weight down, taking vitamins, minimizing stress and eating right can reduce your chances of getting preeclampsia. (One more reason to treat your body right!)

The Bump Editors

re: Q: Preeclampsia basics?

Please make sure your doctor tests you for this often while you are pregnant and right before delivery. My Aunt had preeclampsia and was not diagnosed by her doctor. She went into labor, delivered the baby and had a heartache immediately after as a result of the delivery. It was terrible. Just trust your instincts and if your doctor won't listen get another doctor.

wendysue |

re: Q: Preeclampsia basics?

Preeclampia sometimes goes unnoticed, but some of the things you can look for without going to the the doctor are headaches, dizziness, sudden swelling of face, hands and feet, or pain in your right upper abdomen. Some things a doctor can look at are increased amounts of protein in your urine, increased blood pressure after 20 weeks and increased lab results. You have all of this checked when you go see your doctor. This can be serious so most doctors wont sit on it if you tell them your symptoms.

Manders07 |

re: Q: Preeclampsia basics?

I know I wen't to the doctor today because they had me on a 24 hour urine sample, I had to bring it back and they drew blood. I was experincing really bad headaches.

tolbert2007 |

re: Q: Preeclampsia basics?

Actually, my ob said I'm in danger of getting this because my BP was high one visit. I also had to do a 24 hour urine sample but everything came back negative. THe other night I had swelling of my feet, then my hands, but not my face. She just tols me" this happens". Now I'm confused. What am I really supposed to be looking for??

MoBaby Nelson |

re: Q: Preeclampsia basics?

I went to the doctors today and they have me on a 24 hour urine sample too...I have all the signs so they think I will have it for sure...

hooksgal081108 |

Q&A: What's preeclampsia?

I was put on bedrest and on BP meds....the medication has helped bring my 150/100 BP down to the 140s/80s!!!! I've been off stricked bedrest now for a few weeks and although my due date is Feb 5th (next Friday) if I don't give birth by this weekend....they will induce me Monday morning!!!! Apparently, with preeclampsia, the drs don't like you to go past your due date. So, if you haven't shown any signs of dialating....like me.....they will induce you!!! Good luck ladies!!!

Sweethoney8200 |

Q&A: What's preeclampsia?

I had Pre-e and HELLP with my first and my bp was 178/101. It climbed higher near coma or seizure state. I was at 28 weeks when I had my baby. The doctors didn't catch it. I actually diagnosed myself. Trust your gut always. You've been reading your pregnancy books you know what to look for. If you feel something is wrong go to the hospital like I did. Protein, liver pain, swelling that wont go away...I had actually gained 10lbs in one week and it was all due to swelling. Whats great is this time around i'm 7 months preg and I have no signs of Pre-E. Very happy about that, because my baby was micro premie 1.7 lbs.

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Q&A: What's preeclampsia?

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