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Signs of Pre-Eclampsia/Eclampsia
September 30, 2017
Pre-eclampsia is a condition that only occurs during Pregnancy. Its major symptoms are high
blood pressure and when tested women are found to have high levels of protein in their urine. It usually develops sometime after the 20th week of pregnancy. The severity of Pre- Eclampsia can vary. Serious complications may affect the mother, the baby, or both. The more severe the condition becomes, the greater the risk that complications will develop. Pre-Eclampsia if left unmonitored/untreated can eventually progress to Eclampsia.
Eclampsia is a type of seizure (convulsion) which is a life-threatening complication of pregnancy. About 1 in 100 women with Pre-Eclampsia develop Eclampsia. So, most women with Pre-Eclampsia do not progress to have Eclampsia. However, a main aim of treatment and care of women with Pre-Eclampsia is to prevent Eclampsia and other possible complications (listed below).
What Causes Pre-Eclampsia?
It is thought that the blood vessels in the placenta do not develop adequately and this then has a negative effect on the transfer of oxygen and nutrients to the baby.
Pre-Eclampsia can also affect various other parts of the mother’s body. It is thought that substances released from the placenta are transported around the body and damage the blood vessels, making them become ‘leaky’ and dysfunctional.
Pre-Eclampsia can run in some families so there may be some genetic factor.
Pre-eclampsia can develop any time after 20 weeks of pregnancy and is indicated by: Blood pressure becoming high and an abnormal amount of protein in the urine.
It should be stressed that Pre-Eclampsia is not the same as ‘high blood pressure of pregnancy’. Many pregnant women develop mild high blood pressure. Most do not have pre-eclampsia. With Pre-Eclampsia, you have high blood pressure, plus excessive protein in your urine, and sometimes other symptoms and complications listed below. If the woman develops mild high blood pressure, it is vital that she has regular ante-natal checks which can detect Pre-Eclampsia as early as possible.
What are the symptoms of pre-eclampsia and how does it progress?
Blurring of vision, or other visual problems.
Abdominal (tummy) pain. The pain that occurs with pre-eclampsia tends to be mainly in the upper part of the abdomen, just under the ribs.
Swelling or puffiness of your feet, face, or hands (oedema) is also a feature of Pre- Eclampsia. However, this is common in normal pregnancy. Most women with this symptom do not have Pre-Eclampsia, but it can become worse in Pre-Eclampsia.
Therefore, any SUDDEN worsening of swelling of the hands, face or feet need to be promptly to your doctor or midwife.