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What Every Pregnant Woman Needs to Know About Preeclampsia

May 1, 2013

preeclampsia awareness month, every pregnant woman needs to know about preeclampsia, facts about preeclampsia, baby in blue blanket, sweet baby girl, adaire, May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month, do you know what preeclampsia is? Do you know the signs and symptoms, if you’re at risk, if it can be prevented?

Here are some facts that every pregnant woman needs to know about preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia, or high blood pressure in pregnancy, affects one in twelve pregnant women (or about 5 – 8% of all pregnancies). You may have heard terms like toxemia, PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension), EPH or PET in the past, these aren’t used anymore but referred to the same condition.

There is no known way to prevent preeclampsia and currently no know cause, however, there are risk factors that are known to increase a Mom’s chances of developing preeclampsia. Some of these risk factors include:

  • Preeclampsia in another pregnancy
  • A first pregnancy
  • A medical history of high blood pressure
  • Being pregnant with twins (or more)
  • Maternal age under 18 or over 40 years old
  • Obesity
  • Long intervals between pregnancies
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Various preexisting medical conditions such as diabetes, lupus, autoimmune disorders, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or sickle cell disease
  • A family history of preeclampsia, high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes

If you’ve had it in a previous pregnancy, the possibility of getting it again ranges from 5 – 80% depending upon factors like severity, overall health, and at what time in your gestation you had preeclampsia in your previous pregnancy. If you’ve developed preeclampsia before, seek preconception or early pregnancy guidance by a specialist.

Why does preeclampsia matter? How can a pregnant Mom spot it early?