Preeclampsia was included in our section on preterm labor, but we believe it needs to be highlighted as an important topic during pregnancy that requires immediate attention from your medical professional.
Preeclampsia is high blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy or after delivery (up to six weeks) that can affect kidneys, liver, brain, and placenta. This can affect both the mother and baby, as the placenta is not functioning properly.
Characterized by an unrelieved headache, blurred or spotted vision, pain in stomach, and excess swelling of the hands and face, and protein in the urine, these symptoms can be missed or unnoticed due to the how quickly the disease can advance. Proper prenatal care is important to the ability to diagnose and manage preeclampsia. Currently, there is not a definite cause of preeclampsia. However, the following may put women at increased risk:
- History of preeclampsia, high blood pressure, or kidney disease
- Family history of preeclampsia
- Excess weight (BMI >30)
- Pregnancy with multiples
- Woman younger than 20 or older than 40 years of age
*Please note that anyone experiencing the symptoms described should seek medical care immediately.*
Ashlee Fleck received her Bachelor of Science in both Health and Nursing. She has worked in both Labor and Delivery and the Antepartum Unit. Ashley is passionate about creating healthy moms and a healthy babies and believes that knowledge is a huge influence in achieving that goal.
Edited by Kelly Riechers DiCristina