Preeclampsia is a dangerous and rare condition, it is necessary to pay attention to it and be careful of it during pregnancy, especially if you have high blood pressure before pregnancy.

Definition of Preeclampsia

preeclampsia is high blood pressure; It often occurs (after the 20th week of pregnancy) in the second trimester or third trimester of pregnancy, and in a few cases pregnancy poisoning occurs after birth.

The incidence of preeclampsia among pregnant women is approximately 5% to 8%.

Types of Preeclampsia

High blood pressure from preeclampsia occurs rapidly, or blood pressure may rise slowly and steadily. The severity of this condition can range from mild to severe.

Mild Preeclampsia

Most of the cases of preeclampsia in pregnant women are mild preeclampsia and occur as the date of birth approaches, but with proper care, there will be no complications, and you and your baby will be healthy.

Severe Preeclampsia

Your blood pressure reading is very high, and you will often notice severe symptoms of preeclampsia. preeclampsia with severe features requires hospitalization, where your doctor will treat symptoms of the condition. In rare cases, labor induction can also be used.

The risks of severe preeclampsia to the life of the baby and the mother:

The Effect of Preeclampsia on The Baby

Severe preeclampsia causes poor placental efficiency in delivering food and oxygen to the baby, leading to lack of fluid surrounding the fetus, lack of growth, placental detachment, and low birth weight. Preeclampsia may lead to premature birth .

The Effect of Preeclampsia on The Mother

The risk of severe preeclampsia to the mother:

• Significant high blood pressure, lack of supply of important organs of blood such as kidneys, liver, brain, and hence kidney or liver failure.

• Damage to the microvascular vessels, resulting in the leakage of blood fluids to the body tissues, causing fluid retention and swelling in various parts of the body such as the leaking of the lungs.

• HELLP syndrome (destruction of red blood cells), high liver enzymes, low platelet count, a life-threatening condition.

Causes of Preeclampsia

The exact cause of preeclampsia remains unknown, that the placenta (the organ that feeds the fetus throughout the pregnancy) plays a major role in preeclampsia; at an early stage of pregnancy, new blood vessels develop to effectively send blood to the placenta.

In the case of preeclampsia, these blood vessels are not functioning properly, they are narrower than normal blood vessels and react differently to hormonal signals, limiting the amount of blood through which they can flow.

However, there are risk factors that make you more likely to develop preeclampsia, including: 

1. Age (40 years of age or older) at conception).

2. In the case of a family history of illness: such as a relative having pre-diagnosed with pre-eclampsia.

3. When you get pregnant for the first time, the chances of gestational poisoning increase.

4. Immune disorders (e.g. lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis)

5. There is a time difference of fewer than two years or more than 10 years between one pregnancy and another.

6. Previous incidence of preeclampsia (in this case, up to 20%).

7. Chronic diseases (e.g. hypertension, diabetes, kidneys).

8. Pregnancy with twins or triplets or more.

9. Pregnancy should be the result of laboratory fertilization.

If any of these conditions apply to you, you may undergo more tests during pregnancy and will be followed up.
 If you're pregnant for the first time, you'll have more pregnancy follow-up appointments than mothers who have given birth before.

Symptoms of Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia sometimes occurs without any symptoms, as monitoring of blood pressure is an important part because the first sign of pre-eclampsia is usually high blood pressure, but there are some early signs of preeclampsia that should be noted:

Abnormal swelling: The most common symptom of preeclampsia, where sudden swelling occurs in the face and hands, swelling around the eyes, noticeable swelling, and excessive in the feet and ankles.

Rapid weight gain: (an increase of more than 4 kg per week).

High blood pressure: Blood pressure above 140-90 mmHg in two readings at least four hours apart is abnormal.

• Decrease in the amount of urine.

Not all cases of preeclampsia feel obvious swelling or weight gain, and it should also be noted that not all women who develop swelling or rapid weight gain are caused by preeclampsia.

Symptoms of Severe Preeclampsia, you should go to the doctor immediately when they occur:

• Severe or persistent headache.

• Vision changes, including double vision, noise, visibility of bright spots or lights, sensitivity to light, or temporary loss of vision.

• Severe pain or weakness in the upper abdomen.

• Nausea and vomiting.

• Severe shortness of breath.

From the above it is clear that most of the symptoms of preeclampsia are similar to normal pregnancy complaints such as swelling, nausea and headaches, so the case of poisoning may not be detected except through your follow-up appointments where your doctor detects early signs of preeclampsia, as follows:

• Blood pressure measurement: In the case of preeclampsia, blood pressure rises sharply to 90/140 or more.

• Protein testing in the urine: where a protein leaks into the urine during preeclampsia.

Treatment of Preeclampsia

The only treatment for preeclampsia is the birth of a child. However, premature birth may pose a risk to the fetus.

Depending on the quality of the mild or severe preeclampsia case, the best treatment options are determined.

Treatment of Mild Preeclampsia

 If you have mild preeclampsia, the following measures will be taken:
  • Increase prenatal check-ups to follow up pregnancy, measure blood pressure and check protein levels in urine.
  • Blood tests and ultrasound scans, doppler scans to measure blood flow from the placenta to your baby and measure the heart of the fetus.
  • Calculate the number of fetal movements per day.
  • Restricting and reducing movement, rest in bed (not an absolute rest as continuous sleep may lead to blood clotting and blood clots) preferably sleeping on the left side to relieve the baby's weight away from your main vessels.
  • Consume less salt.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily.
  • Change the diet to include more protein.

If your condition does not improve with these measures and the poisoning worsens, or the fetal development stops, you should go to the hospital, and it is possible to induce labor and accelerate your birth within the 37th week of your pregnancy.

Treatment of Severe Preeclampsia

He is usually treated in a hospital. If your condition worsens, your doctor will induce the birth at 34 weeks or later.

In The Hospital:

Repeated examination of urine and blood, blood pressure measurement.

Check the child thoroughly and follow up on his growth and safety through ultrasound scans, and measure his heart rate.

Control blood pressure through safe medications to reduce it.

If your blood pressure control doesn't work and your doctor worries about your baby's safety, you may have to give birth to your baby as soon as possible.

Your doctor may decide to have a natural induced birth or give birth to your baby by cesarean section.

If you have preterm birth preeclampsia during or after birth, you will be closely monitored and depending on your situation, you can be given medications to prevent seizures and convulsions, and medications to help lower your blood pressure.

Preeclampsia After Birth

After birth, you should stay under careful supervision for a few days to monitor blood pressure and to monitor signs of other complications.

• Most women, especially with mild preeclampsia, begin to drop blood pressure in a day. In the case of severe preeclampsia, blood pressure can remain high for a longer period, but will most likely return to normal levels within several weeks.

• Many cases of preeclampsia develop HELLP syndrome after birth within the first 48 hours, so medical staff will continue to monitor blood pressure.

• Your doctor may decide to give you anti-convulsive medications for at least 24 hours after birth. After discharge from the hospital, you should be obligated to take medications that regulate blood pressure.

Finally, preeclampsia is a rare and treatable condition, and most women suffering from preeclampsia give birth to healthy children. Your doctor will be able to follow up and deal with the condition.


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