Preeclampsia or toxemia is described as a combination of high blood pressure and high protein in the urine during pregnancy. This usually occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy. This condition is precluded by gestational hypertension and is reported by 1 in every 20 Indian women that are pregnant for the first time.

Who can get preeclampsia

There are certain factors that put a pregnant woman at a greater risk for preeclampsia such as

  •   A first pregnancy
  •   A family history of preeclampsia
  •   Previous gestational hypertension
  •   Obese women that have a body mass index that is greater than 30
  •   Pregnancies with multiples
  •   Women who are older than 40 years

How do you know if you have preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is usually characterized by elevated blood pressure and protein in the urine. In severe cases, some women report blurred vision with pounding headaches accompanied by abdominal pain. Perhaps the most worrisome symptom is urinating infrequently.

At every prenatal visit with your physician, your blood pressure and urine will be tested for signs of toxemia. If either of these levels is elevated, the physician will order tests to see if the baby has been affected by these measurements. An ultrasound of your belly will be able to tell if the baby’s growth is normal.

How is preeclampsia treated

No two women are treated exactly alike medically when dealing with preeclampsia. The treatment plan depends on the due date, how well the baby has developed up to this point and the mother’s overall health. These factors will decide how soon the baby can be delivered. If you have preeclampsia, then the doctor might recommend

  • plenty of rest so that your weight is off the baby
  • keeping your salt intake to a minimum
  • drinking plenty of fluids
  • increasing protein intake along with dietary supplements
  • blood pressure medication

Preeclampsia can affect both the mother and baby in many ways. Low birth weight is the most common outcome for the baby. But when the condition is detected early enough, smart disease management can help most women go on to deliver a well- developed healthy baby. For the mother, serious complications such as renal failure, elevated liver enzymes and even life-threatening seizures can occur.

Can preeclampsia be prevented

While there is no sure way to prevent the condition, there are ways in which preeclampsia can be controlled such as watching one’s salt intake, staying well hydrated, exercising regularly and keeping one’s feet elevated when possible. Doctors also recommend that if you have a family history of preeclampsia, avoiding junk food and alcohol during pregnancy can stabilize blood pressure. Caffeine avoidance can also be beneficial for those that already deal with hypertension.

If you have been diagnosed with preeclampsia, then know that early detection is the key to a healthy pregnancy and baby. When blood pressure gets elevated along with a significant protein loss in the urine, doctors will be left with no choice but to deliver the baby even in not-so-ideal conditions. So take every precaution seriously. Your baby and you deserve every chance at a healthy pregnancy and delivery.