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May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month

May is Preeclampsia awareness month. According to American Pregnancy Association preeclampsia is a high blood pressure condition that affects 5-8% of pregnant women during their pregnancy or in the post-partum period following their delivery. This condition is indicated by the onset of high blood pressure after 20 weeks gestation, excessive swelling, and protein in the urine. This condition can prevent the placenta getting adequate blood flow which can lead to low birth weight and premature delivery.  Most women go on to have healthy births after the diagnosis of Preeclampsia, but early detection and monitoring is extremely important.

Risk Factors for Preeclampsia
  • First Pregnancy or 10+ years since last pregnancy
  • History of Preeclampsia or gestational hypertension in previous pregnancies
  • Family history of Preeclampsia (mothers and sisters)
  • Pregnant with multiples
  • Younger than 20 or older than 40
  • BMI is 30 or greater
  • African American descent
Symptoms

Mild

  • Onset of high blood pressure after 20 weeks gestation
  • Excessive water retention or swelling
  • Weight gain of over 5lbs in a week
  • Protein in urine

Severe

  • Headaches
  • Blurred Vision
  • Pain in upper right abdomen
  • Seizures (Eclampsia)
Treatment

Treatment for preeclamsia will vary based upon how close you are to your due date and could include:

  • Delivering the baby
  • Close monitoring and increased pre-natal visits
  • Low dose aspirin (81mg) prescribed after 12 weeks (when risk factors are identified) or other medicines to lower blood pressure

 

For more information on preeclampsia, including it’s affect on mother and baby, treatment methods, and more visit the March of Dimes, the American Pregnancy Association, and the U.S. National Library of Medicine/Medline Plus.

If you or someone you know are showing signs of Preeclampsia, talk to your healthcare provider. Early detection and monitoring are the best way to treat this condition.

References:

“Preeclampsia.” March of Dimes, Dec. 2017, www.marchofdimes.org/complications/preeclampsia.aspx.

“Preeclampsia: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2020, medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000898.htm.

“Preeclampsia: Symptoms, Risks, Treatment and Prevention.” American Pregnancy Association, 19 May 2020, americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/preeclampsia/.

Photo by redgular from Pixabay

Authors: Angelika Keene, Community Development Agent, & Brianna Gowin, FCS Intern, Edited by Gayle Whitworth

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