Preeclampsia and Pregnancy

By: James Pendergraft

Pregnancy is said to be the happiest and most exciting episode in a woman’s life. This is because a pregnant woman will finally be able to fulfill her role of giving birth and being the window through which a new life will be brought to this world. However, despite being a wondrous episode in her life, there are plenty of things that can go wrong during pregnancy. One of these is preeclampsia, which is potentially fatal if this is not treated promptly and properly.

Preeclampsia is a condition that arises in pregnant women wherein hypertension results from a high concentration of protein in her urine. However, what is misleading is the belief that preeclampsia in itself is the cause of all disorders. This is erroneous because preeclampsia is referred to as a set of symptoms instead of being the factor that causes illness. As such, most people seek treatment for preeclampsia instead of seeking treatment for the individual symptoms that arise.

Further compounding matters are the diverse beliefs as to the cause of the disorder. Some people say that inadequate blood supply to the placenta causes the problem. On the other hand, certain health disorders a woman may have are known to exacerbate the condition.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Preeclampsia

1) High blood pressure. This is partly due to the high concentration of protein in a woman’s bloodstream. However, even this one is not entirely foolproof as a method of detecting the blood pressure level of the patient because she may have a normally low blood pressure.

2) Swelling of the hands, feet, and face areas. Although a certain form of swelling is common and is in fact expected during pregnancy, unusual swelling in the limbs as well as in the face areas should be a cause for concern.

3) Concentration of protein in urine. Although this is found mainly through laboratory tests, there are kits that women can use to allow detection of the condition at home. When the blood vessels in the kidney become damaged, the protein spills into the blood.

4) Sudden weight gain. A weight gain of sorts is to be expected during pregnancy. However, when a woman gains at least 6 pounds in a month could be a sign of preeclampsia.

5) Preeclampsia is a problem that all pregnant women face. It usually occurs after the thirty-second week of pregnancy, affecting around 10 percent of pregnant women. Some women experience the problem much earlier, which is actually a rare case. Moreover, women with a history of hypertension, diabetes, diseases of the immune system, or renal diseases have a bigger possibility of contracting the disorder during pregnancy. On the other hand, women with a previous history of preeclampsia have a higher risk of acquiring it during successive pregnancies.

Because of the seriousness of the condition involving preeclampsia, the only solution to it is to abort the pregnancy. This is to avoid further complicating the situation, which may further imperil the life of the mother.

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