Minor swelling of feet and ankles is commonly associated with the later months of pregnancy, but did you know that cases with more severe swelling may be a sign of a more serious condition? If swelling occurs along with protein in the urine and high blood pressure, these can be signs of pre-eclampsia.
Pre-eclampsia affects only roughly 5-8% of all pregnancies, and while most cases are harmless, it is important to monitor mothers to be, checking for the condition, in case serious complications arise. There is no definite cause of pre-eclampsia, and there is no cure for the condition. The best way to be prepared in case you experience pre-eclampsia is to see Dr. Ayalon regularly for regular prenatal care.
If you are diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and suddenly experience swelling in unusual areas like the face, hands, and eyes; find your blood pressure to exceed 140/90; gain weight over one or two days; have blurry vision, flashing lights, or see floaters, contact Dr. Ayalon immediately for medical care.
There are some risk factors that will increase your chances of experiencing pre-eclampsia during pregnancy. Risk factors associated with pre-eclampsia are:
- History of High Blood Pressure
- History of Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Lupus, or Arthritis
- History of Obesity
- First Time Pregnancy
- Teen Pregnancy
- Women Over 40
- Carrying More than One Baby
Dangers of Pre-Eclampsia
Pre-Eclampsia is one of the leading causes of premature births. It can prevent your baby from receiving enough blood, causing it to be born very small. Complications that may result include learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, vision, and hearing problems. In rare cases, pre-eclampsia can lead to placental abruption, or the separation of the placenta from the uterus. This results in a stillbirth.
For mothers, pre-eclampsia can cause stroke, seizure, water in the lungs, heart failure, bleeding from the liver, and excessive bleeding post-delivery.
- Rapid Weight Gain (from increase in body fluid)
- Abdominal Pain
- Headaches and Dizziness
- Less Urine Output
- Excess Vomiting and Nausea
Treatment and Prevention
The only way to fully treat pre-eclampsia is to deliver your baby. If your baby has developed enough (37 weeks in or later), induced labor or cesarean section may be necessary depending on severity of pre-eclampsia.
If your baby is not close to term, Dr. Ayalon may be able to treat the symptoms of pre-eclampsia until your baby can be delivered safely. With mild pre-eclampsia, Dr. Ayalon might prescribe bed rest, intensive observation with fetal rate monitor, medication to lower blood pressure, and frequent blood and urine tests. Some may have to stay in the hospital where they may receive anti-hypertension medicine to prevent seizures.
In cases of severe eclampsia, Dr. Ayalon may have to deliver the baby immediately regardless of how close to term the baby is, for the mother’s safety.
With careful monitoring and early detection, pre-eclampsia can be managed to help you deliver your baby safely. To be prepared for treatment of pre-eclampsia and have a better chance of a healthy and safe delivery, be sure to visit Dr. Ayalon regularly for prenatal care. If you have a family history with pre-eclampsia, or have the risk factors associated with the condition, let Dr. Ayalon know at your prenatal appointments. If you experience the symptoms of pre-eclampsia, contact Dr. Ayalon immediately. For more information on pre-eclampsia and what you can do to avoid the condition, call (818) 654-9312.
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