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Home > Blog > Preeclampsia - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Preeclampsia - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Preeclampsia - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Max Lab

Nov 09, 2022

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication that can occur after the 20th week of gestation. High blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine are characterized by Preeclampsia. Preeclampsia can be mild, moderate, or severe. In severe cases, it can lead to eclampsia, which is a condition that includes seizures. Preeclampsia can also lead to premature birth or low birth weight. There is no one cause of preeclampsia, but there are several risk factors. These include obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and a family history of preeclampsia. If you are pregnant and have any of the above risk factors, your doctor will likely monitor you closely for signs of preeclampsia. These signs include high blood pressure, proteinuria, edema, and changes in liver function tests. If you develop preeclampsia, treatment will focus on managing your symptoms and preventing complications. This may include medication to lower your blood pressure, close monitoring of your baby’s growth and development, and regular full body health check-ups with your doctor. In some cases, early delivery may be necessary.

What is Preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is a medical condition that can occur during pregnancy. High blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine are characterized by Preeclampsia. Preeclampsia usually occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy, but it can occasionally occur earlier.

Preeclampsia can cause serious health problems for both the mother and the baby. If left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia, which is a condition that can be life-threatening.

There are several factors that may increase a woman's risk of developing preeclampsia, including:

  • Being pregnant for the first time
  • Having a family history of preeclampsia
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having diabetes mellitus or hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Experiencing stress during pregnancy

What Happens when you have Preeclampsia?

Usually after the 20th week of pregnancy, preeclampsia develops. In some cases, it may develop earlier or later in the pregnancy. It is more common in first-time pregnancies and in women who are carrying multiple babies. Preeclampsia is also more likely to occur in women with a history of hypertension, diabetes, or kidney disease.

There are several possible causes of preeclampsia. One theory is that it is caused by problems with the placenta. Another theory suggests that preeclampsia is the result of abnormal development of the blood vessels leading to the placenta.

The exact cause of preeclampsia is unknown, but there are several risk factors that may contribute to its development:

  • Obesity
  • Chronic hypertension
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Kidney disease
  • Multiple gestation (pregnancy with more than one fetus)
  • A family history of preeclampsia
  • Have advanced maternal age of 35 years or older

What are the Causes of Preeclampsia?

A rise in blood pressure during pregnancy is often the first sign of preeclampsia. However, not all women with high blood pressure during pregnancy will develop preeclampsia. In some cases, the blood pressure may return to normal after delivery.

The exact cause of preeclampsia is unknown, but it is thought to be related to problems with the placenta. The placenta is the organ that develops during pregnancy to provide nutrients and oxygen to the growing baby. Preeclampsia may occur when the placenta does not develop properly or when it begins to separate from the lining of the uterus before delivery (placental abruption).

Other risk factors for preeclampsia include:

What are the symptoms of Preeclampsia?

For both the mother and the unborn child, preeclampsia can result in significant or even life-threatening consequences.

The most common symptoms of preeclampsia are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Protein in the urine (proteinuria)
  • Swelling (edema)
  • sudden weight gain
  • Other possible symptoms include:
  • headaches
  • changes in vision, including temporary blindness (called “preeclampsia toxemia” or “toxemia of pregnancy”)

What week of Pregnancy does Preeclampsia Start?

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication that can occur after the 20th week of pregnancy. Preeclampsia can lead to serious complications for both the mother and the baby, so it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these, please contact your healthcare provider right away.

How to Diagnose Preeclampsia?

If preeclampsia is suspected, your healthcare provider will likely order blood tests to check for elevated liver enzymes and serum creatinine levels. An ultrasound may also be ordered to check the size of your baby and look for signs of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).

If you are diagnosed with preeclampsia, it is important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. You may need to be hospitalized so that you can be monitored closely. If preeclampsia progresses to eclampsia (seizures), you will likely need emergency care.

What is the Treatment of Preeclampsia

There is no cure for preeclampsia, but treatment focuses on managing the condition and preventing it from progressing to eclampsia. Treatment typically involves close monitoring of the mother’s blood pressure and urine output, as well as regular fetal monitoring. Bed rest and medication may also be recommended in some cases. If the condition progresses to eclampsia, emergency treatment will be necessary to prevent seizures and other complications.

How to Prevent Preeclampsia

Regular prenatal care is the greatest approach to preventing preeclampsia. Your doctor will monitor your blood pressure and check for protein in your urine at each visit. If you have risk factors for preeclampsia, your doctor may recommend additional tests or treatments.

There are also things you can do to reduce your risk of developing preeclampsia. Be sure to take a multivitamin with folic acid every day. Eat a healthy diet and avoid processed foods, salt, and fatty foods. Get regular exercise, but avoid strenuous activity. And don't smoke or drink alcohol during pregnancy.

If you develop any symptoms of preeclampsia, call your doctor right away. These symptoms include severe headache, vision changes, upper abdominal pain, shortness of breath, excessive swelling in the hands and feet, and sudden weight gain. Preeclampsia can progress quickly, so it's important to get medical help as soon as possible.

What are the Most Common Complications of Preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is a serious complication of pregnancy, and it can lead to a number of complications. The most common complications of preeclampsia include:

  • Eclampsia: This is the most serious complication of preeclampsia, and it can occur when the blood pressure gets too high. Eclampsia might result in coma, death, or seizures.
  • Preterm labor: Preeclampsia can cause preterm labor, which is when labor starts before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Preterm labor can cause health problems for both the mother and the baby.
  • Placental abruption: This is when the placenta starts to separate from the wall of the uterus. Placental abruption can cause hemorrhaging and can be life-threatening for both the mother and the baby.
  • HELLP syndrome: HELLP syndrome is a severe form of preeclampsia that can lead to liver damage, low platelet count, and hemolysis (the breakdown of red blood cells). HELLP syndrome can be life-threatening for both the mother and the baby.

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