Preeclampsia in pregnancy is a condition where pregnant women have high blood pressure and excess of protein in the urine. This condition ideally develops after the 20th week of gestation. In certain cases, it can occur earlier. According to reports, around 5% of all pregnant women suffer from preeclampsia.
There is no single reason to cause preeclampsia. A combination of multiple factors can lead to these conditions like insufficient blood flow to the uterus, damaged blood vessels, immune system issues and genetic factors.
Other risk factors such as the history of preeclampsia; chronic hypertension; age; race; multiple-fetus pregnancy; obesity; diabetes; and kidney disorders can lead to preeclampsia. It is important to notice specific signs and symptoms for preeclampsia and seek immediate medical attention.
The signs and symptoms include high protein level in urine (proteinuria), kidney problems, sharp headaches, an altered vision which may include blurred vision, temporary vision loss, and light sensitivity, pain in the upper abdomen, mainly around below ribs on the right side, nausea and vomiting, a decrease urination, reduced platelet levels in the blood (thrombocytopenia), damaged liver activity, fluid in lungs, shortness of breath, high blood pressure 140/90mmHg or higher.
There is no specific way to prevent preeclampsia completely; however, timely intervention by expert doctors can save the lives of both mother and baby. In most cases, delivery prevents the further progression of preeclampsia. Doctors may sometime, prescribe medication to control hypertension as a treatment option.
If not treated on time, preeclampsia may cause fetal growth restriction, preterm birth, placental abruption, destruction of red blood cells, multi organ damage and cardiovascular issues.