Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication that requires immediate action. A sign of preeclampsia is high blood pressure or a sudden spike in blood pressure during pregnancy, high levels of protein in urine (proteinuria), or other signs of organ damage. Preeclampsia usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women whose blood pressure has previously been normal. If untreated, this can cause serious, possibly fatal, complications to you and your baby.
Below are several risk factors for developing preeclampsia:
- High blood pressure pre-pregnancy: Having high blood pressure before pregnancy can increase one’s risk of developing preeclampsia.
- First pregnancy or first partner: It is more likely women will develop this condition if it is their first pregnancy or a pregnancy with a new partner.
- Medical history: Those with a family history of preeclampsia have an increased risk of developing the condition during pregnancy. Medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, and lupus increase the risk of preeclampsia.
- Age: Women over 40 have a higher chance of developing preeclampsia.
Your doctors play an important role in preeclampsia. They should check your blood pressure routinely throughout your pregnancy to prevent potential birth injuries. If there are any red flags, your doctor must take action immediately. Preeclampsia is a life-threatening condition. Therefore, your doctor should be carefully reviewing your medical history and looking out for signs and symptoms. If you are diagnosed with preeclampsia, early delivery of the baby is often recommended depending on how severe the preeclampsia is and how far along you are in your pregnancy. Preeclampsia treatment before delivery includes careful monitoring and the administration of medications to lower blood pressure and manage complications.
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Source: Mayo Clinic