What Every Pregnant Woman Needs to Know About Preeclampsia

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, these aren’t used anymore but referred to the same condition.

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

Preeclampsia 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 from a specialist.

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

Preeclampsia, one of the most common pregnancy complications, is diagnosed by high blood pressure andbaby footprint, newborn foot print, about preeclampsia, preeclampsia awareness, PIH, HELLP syndrome, what is preeclampsia, tiny baby foot print, taking foot prints in hospital protein in the urine. Elevated blood pressure puts Moms at risk for brain injury and blood clotting problems. It can interfere with liver and kidney function, cause fluid in the lungs or seizures and in severe forms (such as eclampsia or HELLP), or if it’s not treated promptly and effectively, it can be fatal in very rare cases.

Preeclampsia can affect baby, too. It can restrict the nutrients and oxygen a baby gets causing IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) and preeclampsia can lead to placental abruption (when the placenta separates from the uterine wall anytime before birth). Prematurity is most often caused by preeclampsia as birth is the only cure for it; therefore if the risks outweigh the benefit of remaining pregnant, it may be decided to deliver a baby prior to 37 weeks.

Birth of the baby is the only cure, but preeclampsia may be treated with bedrest, medications and will be closely monitored once it has been identified.

Signs and symptoms that every pregnant woman needs to know about preeclampsia:

  • High blood pressure (this is why it’s checked routinely) – 140/90 or higher
  • Protein in urine (also checked routinely at midwife or doctor visits to screen)
  • Headaches that persist
  • Changes in vision like double vision, blurriness, flashes or auras
  • Nausea in late pregnancy
  • Pain in the upper abdomen or chest – feelings like heartburn, gall bladder pain or even the flu
  • Sudden weight gain of 2 or more pounds in a week
  • Difficulty breathing, feeling breathless, panting or gasping for air

If you experience even one of these signs, go to your provider or emergency room immediately.

Visit Top Mommy Blogs To Vote For Me!Learning about preeclampsia, it’s signs, symptoms and risk factors, is important in identifying warnings if you’re pregnant and in sharing the information with pregnant friends and family members.

If you’ve experience preeclampsia, please share any helpful tips with Mother’s Circle readers.


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7 Responses to What Every Pregnant Woman Needs to Know About Preeclampsia

  1. Sarah Hughes says:

    Thank you so much for such a great an informative post! As a postpartum preeclampsia survivor, I know the importance of spreading the awareness and knowledge! Great post!!

    • Leah DeCesare says:

      Thank you, Sarah! I agree that it’s so important for more women and families to understand preeclampsia and the warning signs.

      I’m happy you are sharing as a survivor. I’ve supported quite a few women as a doula who have developed preeclampsia and HELLP. It can come on so suddenly that it’s really critical to know about!

  2. Sarah Oakley says:

    I think it’s important to distinguish that high blood pressure in pregnancy is not the same as preeclampsia and that this condition is in fact difficult to diagnose and rarely occurs in well nourished expectant mothers. “What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know: The truth about diet and pregnancy” by Gail and Tom Brewer is an excellent book and gives insight into this topic. Calories, protein, sodium and water intake are huge factors in whether or not a woman will develop this disease.

    • Leah DeCesare says:

      Thank you for bringing up the Brewer Diet as a treatment for high blood pressure in pregnancy, I recommend it to my clients. Good nutrition is so important to us all and most certainly during pregnancy!

      The statistics I’ve sited in this article for incidence and diagnosis are from the Preeclampsia Foundation. Thanks so much for your comment, Sarah!

  3. Marie says:

    PIH is still a term used. It does not refer to Pre-eclampsia as they are two separate conditions. PIH is a condition of just hypertension in pregnancy, whereas Pre-e requires proteinuria to make the diagnosis, although I have seen abnormal presentations of it with abnormal liver enzymes and proteinuria only, or some combination of things. Pre-eclampsia cannot truly be managed by anti-hypertensives, but PIH can. Delivery is the only cure for Pre-e. Just a little clarification from a medical provider! 🙂 Overall, accurate information.

    • ldecesare says:

      Thank you for the clarification. I also just read from the Preeclampsia Foundation the following about the new ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) guidelines for diagnosis of preeclampsia:

      “According to the new College guidelines, the diagnosis of preeclampsia no longer requires the detection of high levels of protein in the urine (proteinuria). Evidence shows organ problems with the kidneys and liver can occur without signs of protein, and that the amount of protein in the urine does not predict how severely the disease will progress. Prior to this time, most healthcare providers traditionally adhered to a rigid diagnosis of preeclampsia based on blood pressure and protein in the urine(proteinuria).”

  4. what is preeclampsia in pregnancy | Preg Info says:

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