If you are pregnant, or have been in the past, you may have heard of pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia is a serious condition that can occur during pregnancy and can sometimes lead to serious health complications for both mother and baby. In this blog post, we’ll look at the causes of pre-eclampsia, as well as some of the signs and symptoms that should alert you to the possibility of this condition. If you think you have any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to consult your doctor immediately.

Pre-eclampsia: what is it really?

Pre-eclampsia is a disorder that can occur during pregnancy, characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. It usually develops after the 20th week of pregnancy and affects around 5% of all pregnancies. While most cases are mild, pre-eclampsia can cause serious complications for both mother and baby. If left untreated, it can progress to eclampsia, a condition that can cause seizures and coma. Pre-eclampsia can also cause placental abruption, which is when the placenta separates from the uterine wall. This can lead to heavy bleeding and endanger the life of both mother and baby.

Pre-eclampsia: What are the symptoms?

Symptoms usually appear after 20 weeks of pregnancy, but they can also appear within 4 weeks of birth. In severe cases, pre-eclampsia can lead to organ damage, seizures, and even death.

The manifestations of pre-eclampsia are numerous and their appearance and intensity can vary from one woman to another. It can be:

  • Intense and persistent headaches.
  • Visual disturbances such as photophobia or spots in front of the eyes.
  • Tinnitus.
  • Digestive problems like nausea or vomiting.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Chest pain.
  • Decreased urine volume or edema in the legs, hands and/or face which leads to sudden weight gain.

What is the cause behind pre-eclampsia?

Although the exact cause of pre-eclampsia is unknown, it is thought to be related to problems with the placenta. The placenta is an organ that develops during pregnancy and provides nutrients and oxygen to the growing fetus. It is possible for pre-eclampsia to develop when the placenta does not develop properly or when it begins to break down prematurely.

Additionally, researchers believe that genetics may play a role in the development of pre-eclampsia. Women who have a family history of this condition, are overweight, or have a history of high blood pressure have an increased risk of developing it themselves. Although the cause of pre-eclampsia is still unknown, ongoing research is bringing us closer to a better understanding of this potentially dangerous condition.

How to prevent or avoid it and who to consult?

The best way to prevent pre-eclampsia is to see a healthcare professional before becoming pregnant. If you are already pregnant, it is important to get regular prenatal care and to monitor your blood pressure and protein levels in your urine at all times. If you have symptoms of pre-eclampsia, such as high blood pressure or sudden weight gain, you should contact your gynaecologist or GP immediately.

In some cases, pre-eclampsia can be treated with medication. However, if left untreated, it can progress to eclampsia, which is a life-threatening condition. If you are at risk of pre-eclampsia, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider throughout your pregnancy to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your baby.

What are the possible treatments for pre-eclampsia?

Pre-eclampsia is usually treated with bed rest and close monitoring by a medical team. In some cases, medication may be needed to lower blood pressure or prevent seizures. If the condition worsens, hospitalization may be required.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.