May kicks off the first National Preeclampsia Awareness Month
Until this year, and meeting Sarah Hughes from Finnegan and the Hughes, I was unaware that there was a push for education of this awful condition. I never realized just how many pregnancies it effected. I am a three-time preeclampsia survivor - yes, it happened with each of my children. My doctor never discussed it with me until it was too late. Preeclampsia is most often seen in first-time pregnancies, in pregnant teens, and in women over 40. There is no cure for this, and yearly it claims the lives of 76,000 babies and 500,000 mothers. I didn’t really realize how lucky I was to have both myself and my children come through this relatively unscathed. I won’t go into my horror stories, because I have a guest post coming up this month with Sarah, and I will link to it then.
Preeclampsia is a serious - and rather common - complication of pregnancy and postpartum period, dangerous to both the mother and her unborn baby. It is characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Other signs and symptoms may include swelling, headaches, and visual disturbances. Knowing the warning signs may lead to more timely diagnosis and better outcomes.
Risk factors include:
- A history of pre-pregnancy high blood pressure
- A history of preeclampsia in previous pregnancies
- A mother or sister who had preeclampsia
- Being overweight/obese
- Carrying multiples
- History of diabetes, kidney disease, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis
What Are Symptoms of Preeclampsia?
In addition to swelling, protein in the urine, and high blood pressure, preeclampsia symptoms can include:
- Rapid weight gain caused by a significant increase in bodily fluid
- Abdominal pain
- Severe headaches
- Change in reflexes
- Reduced urine or no urine output
- Excessive vomiting and nausea
You should seek care right away if you have:
- Sudden and new swelling in your face, hands, and eyes (some feet and ankle swelling is normal during pregnancy.)
- Blood pressure greater than 140/90.
- Sudden weight gain over 1 or 2 days
- Abdominal pain, especially in the upper right side
- Severe headaches
- A decrease in urine
- Blurry vision, flashing lights, and floaters
You can also have preeclampsia and not have any symptoms.
Please help raise awareness of this catastrophic condition.
You can find more information, signs & symptoms and volunteer opportunities at the Preeclampsia Foundation website