What is Preeclampsia?

by | Jan 16, 2016 | Birth Parent Blog

Pregnant woman vomiting into her toiletIf you have high blood pressure, a high level of protein in your urine, and swelling in your feet, legs, and hands, you may have a condition called preeclampsia. Your doctor will be keeping an eye out for this, so make sure to ask him or her if you feel like you have those symptoms.

About 6 to 8% of pregnant women develop preeclampsia, and it usually happens after week 20 of a pregnancy. With preeclampsia, your blood vessels constrict, causing your blood pressure to rise. Women having more than one baby, women over 40, and those with diabetes are at a higher risk for getting it.

Preeclampsia may seem harmless, but it can sneak up on you. It can go from nothing to something pretty quickly, so make sure to watch for these symptoms:
Swelling of the hands, face and eyes to be specific. 
Quick weight gain: Gaining over two pounds a week
Vomiting/nausea: If you suddenly find yourself nauseous and vomiting, make sure to tell your doctor.
Lots of pain in your shoulders and/or below your ribs: Don’t ignore pain in these areas. 
Headaches: A stubborn and/or severe headache is another one to watch out for
Changes in vision: This includes seeing flashing lights or spots, temporary blindness, sensitivity to light, and blurry vision.

If preeclampsia isn’t treated, it can go from nothing to something quickly and the only actual cure for preeclampsia is having your baby. That’s why your doctor is having your blood pressure taken and having you pee in a cup at every pre-natal appointment.

The good news is that preeclampsia rarely gets very serious. And women who get regular prenatal care get diagnosed early on and get medical care quickly. With quick medical care, women with preeclampsia near their due date have the same chance of a positive delivery as a woman with normal blood pressure. According to What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 97% of women with preeclampsia recover completely and their blood pressure quickly returns to normal after delivering your baby.

If you’re diagnosed with preeclampsia, you’ll probably be put on bed rest and your doctor will keep tabs on you. He or she will want to monitor your blood pressure and your baby. So, make sure to go to all of your pre-natal appointments and be aware of any of the sneaky symptoms named above.

If this pregnancy post helped you, we suggest you sign up for our pregnancy newsletter. You can say what month in pregnancy you’re in, so the newsletter is customized especially for you! Sign up here!

Heather Featherston
Written by Heather Featherston

As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.

Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.

As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.

Read more about Heather Featherston


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