How to prevent Preeclampsia: A-Z of Preeclampsia
According to the NHS, preeclampsia that can affect some pregnant women from their 20th week of pregnancy or soon after the baby is born. The most tell-tale signs of preeclampsia are high blood pressure and having protein in your urine. This condition can cause severe complications for both mother and baby.
Do you want to know how to prevent preeclampsia? Here are the A-Z of this serious condition!
Age of the mother
Any woman above 35 years is categorized medically as Advanced Maternal Age. AMA of 40 and above are at high risk of developing preeclampsia.
When the blood vessels in the umbilical cord aren’t working properly, the placenta is starved of oxygenated blood and, as such, cannot transport it to the uterus. This situation can cause preeclampsia.
Carrying more than one fetus: women pregnant with twins or more babies have a higher risk of preeclampsia than women pregnant with one fetus.
Damage to the lungs: the lungs are also affected by preeclampsia. In this condition, the alveoli—which works to move oxygen and carbon dioxide around the body—gets filled with fluid, restricting the flow of air. This automatically results in difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath.
Is simply the swelling of the body due to excess fluid. With preeclampsia, the patient suffers pulmonary edema. Because pregnant women usually have more fluid than others, they are at risk of edema (swelling) on their faces, feet, hands and speedy increase in body mass. Pregnancy edema is usually a result of excess salt in the body which can also cause high blood pressure.
First pregnancy: these set of women are also more likely to suffer from preeclampsia. This is not to say that after the first baby, one is immune from preeclampsia. It is important to understand the risk of first pregnancies if you want to know how to prevent preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is sometimes genetic. If you have any family member on the family tree who has suffered preeclampsia, you too are likely to suffer it—first pregnancy or not. It’s best to get a medical checkup as soon as you realize you are pregnant. If you are genetically predisposed to this condition, it is important to know how to prevent preeclampsia before you even get pregnant.
High blood pressure
Is a condition where there is excessive force employed on the walls of the blood vessels, which, in turn, puts the vessels and heart under massive strain. It can cause a heart attack, stroke, preeclampsia, or even death. If you have high blood pressure or your family has a history of high blood pressure, you are at risk of preeclampsia. If your BP is 140/90 and above on different occasions, then you should start looking for how to prevent preeclampsia.
Immune system disease: otherwise called autoimmune disorder. The immune system is supposed to protect our bodies from diseases. Now, when these immune cells turn around to start attacking the healthy cells in the body, this is medically defined as an autoimmune disorder. Recent researches, though not concluded, have begun to see preeclampsia as an autoimmune disorder where the body sees the placenta as a trespasser and goes on ahead to fight it.
Just breathe. If your diagnosis turns out to be preeclampsia, it is not the end of the world.
Low amniotic fluid
When the blood vessels in the umbilical cord malfunction, it means that the placenta will suffer from a shortage of blood and nutrients. A malnourished placenta means a malnourished fetus. This could cause birth defects in the baby. Preeclampsia can cause low amniotic fluid.
The best medication for preeclampsia is the birth of the child. But in a case where the child is still too young to be delivered, the doctor closely monitors the mother and child. Most of the time, the mother is admitted into the hospital, closely monitored and treated. How to prevent preeclampsia using medication simply means fighting hard to reduce the mother’s blood pressure and prevent seizures.
This monitors the heart rate of the baby. Because preeclampsia reduces the oxygen the baby receives, a regular Nonstress test determines that the baby’s heart rate is just enough to ensure its survival.
Obese women are highly at risk of preeclampsia. Also, women who get obese during their first pregnancy put themselves at risk of preeclampsia. How to prevent preeclampsia? Maintain a healthy weight!
Other things to watch out for:
Pain: preeclampsia comes with upper abdominal pains, chronic headache, and sometimes, lower back pain.
Quit sugar. Diabetic moms or those with a history of diabetes are at risk of suffering from preeclampsia.
Reduce your salt intake to avoid high blood pressure and edema.
Seizures: when not diagnosed early, preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia. It can cause seizures, stroke, coma, and death.
Third trimester: it is rare to develop preeclampsia in the first trimester or before the 20th week. It is common among women in their third trimester.
Ultrasound scan: Asides from showing the image of the baby, ultrasound checks the content of the amniotic fluid, too. If the amniotic fluid is low, it raises a red flag for preeclampsia.
Vision impairment: preeclampsia, due to high blood pressure, causes vision impairment like blurred vision, excess sensitivity to light and in extreme cases, reversible blindness. Your research on how to prevent preeclampsia will also mean preventing these things.
Wait for at least a year after giving birth before conceiving again. Women who give birth yearly and those who give birth ten years and above after the birth of the last child all have a high risk of preeclampsia.
X-ray: except abdominal x-rays, X-rays are not harmful to the fetus because they don’t expose the fetus to radiation. You can get an X-ray if your treatment requires it.
You understand your body better than any doctor. The onus is on you to observe your body, identify symptoms and go to the doctor when things aren’t right.
If you have suffered from preeclampsia in your first and second pregnancies, you should definitely expect it in future pregnancies. You might have to hang up your childbearing boots.