Preeclampsia is a serious pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure. Did you know that around 5% of pregnant women experience it? It usually shows up around week 37, but it can also happen during or after delivery. Although its symptoms may not always be very noticeable, it’s a complication that can be dangerous for both you and your baby.
But why is preeclampsia so dangerous?
When you have it, your blood vessels contract, your blood pressure goes up, and blood flow to your organs decreases. This can seriously affect important organs like the brain and liver. Blood flow to the uterus also gets affected. If the preeclampsia is severe, your little one may need to come into the world earlier than expected because this complication can cause problems in various organs of their tiny body.
Now, what are the symptoms?
Swelling is one of them. During pregnancy, it’s normal for your feet to swell up. But if you notice swelling appearing for no apparent reason, it could be a sign of preeclampsia. The most common places for swelling are around the eyes, face, or feet. Sometimes, swelling comes with other unwelcome guests like headaches, nausea, changes in vision, or pain in the upper abdomen. However, not all expectant moms experience these symptoms, or they might be mistaken for normal pregnancy discomforts. So, to clear any doubts, it’s important that your doctor checks on you during each prenatal visit.
What are the risk factors?
Some factors that can increase the chances of developing preeclampsia include having a family history of preeclampsia, being a first-time mom, being over 35 years old, having obesity or multiple pregnancies, and having certain pre-existing medical conditions like chronic high blood pressure or diabetes.
Remember, your doctor is your best ally. So, if at any moment you feel that something isn’t quite right and suspect you might have preeclampsia, don’t hesitate to schedule a visit right away. They’ll guide you through it all with their expertise and care.