How preeclampsia could impact your pregnancy?

Dr Manjiri Mehta, a Consultant Gynaecologist, Obstetrician & Laparoscopic Surgeon, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi, shares her take on Preeclampsia and how to diagnose it and what should an expecting mother do to prevent it.

pregnancy-woman

Preeclampsia, also known as Toxaemia, is a condition during pregnancy where the expecting mother observes sudden spike Blood Pressure. One of the most complicated conditions, Preeclampsia is usually caused in the 3rd trimester affecting effects about 1-20 pregnancies. Though the exact cause of Preeclampsia remains a mystery, it is believed that it happens due to the developmental issue of the placenta. The dysfunction of the placenta is suspected to be caused by poor nutrition, or high body Fat, insufficient blood flow to the Uterus and Genetics which play a vital role in the condition.

Early signs of Preeclampsia include a rise in Blood Pressure and Protein in Urine. Although 6-8% of all pregnant women experience high Blood Pressure during their term, the most important symptom, which confirms the condition, is the presence of Protein in the Urine. Other symptoms include fluid retention, thus resulting in swollen hands, feet, ankles, and face. As the pregnancy progresses, the condition aggravates, the following symptoms may develop:

Hazy vision

Severe headaches

Shortness of breath

Pain,  just below the Ribs on the right side

Sudden weight gain in the course of 1-2 days

Vomiting

A decrease in urine output

As most symptoms are common with pregnancy, the patient usually remains unaware till the doctor conducts a thorough check-up. If Preeclampsia remains untreated, it progresses to Eclampsia, which is life-threatening. In this condition, the mother can experience seizures, slip into the coma, and it can even cause death. However, the complications from Preeclampsia can be avoided if diagnosed in time. 

Treatment: Preeclampsia is not cured until the baby is born. However, if the condition is diagnosed early in the pregnancy, delivery might not be an option as the survival chances of the foetus might be minuscule at an early stage. In such cases, if the mother is far from her due date and her symptoms are mild, the doctor may advise her to strictly limit physical activity to try and bring the Blood Pressure down, which in turn increases the flow of blood to the Placenta, benefitting the baby. Blood Pressure and urine tests need to be carried out regularly, and a need to closely monitor the foetus.

If the condition is detected close to the last trimester, delivery is advised at the earliest, either through induced labour or through caesarean. The symptoms of Preeclampsia should disappear within a few weeks post-delivery. In case, if Preeclampsia is not treated even after delivery, it is called postpartum Preeclampsia, Blood Pressure medications that reduce and prevent seizures are advised. The patient remains at high risk of complications if untreated.