Pre-eclampsia(1)– It is a typical condition that starts post 20th week of pregnancy and is associated with high blood pressure and protein in the urine of mother due to kidney problems. Placenta (the organ which is formed in the uterus lining due to the combination of uterine mucous membranes with the membranes of the foetus) provides food for the foetus and helps in the removal of its waste, is affected by Pre-eclampsia. Seizures which is called as Eclampsia (is a condition that is caused by pre-eclampsia) is the second top reason in the United States for maternal deaths. Pre-eclampsia is also the top reason for foetal problems that includes lower birth weight, premature birth of baby and stillbirth of the baby as well. The experts are not very sure about why pre-eclampsia takes place. Most of them say that it takes place due to faulty blood vessels that supplies blood for the proper development of Placenta.
SYMPTOMS: Pre-eclampsia’s early symptoms include:
- High Blood Pressure
- Protein in the Urine
(2)In most of the cases the pregnant ladies are unaware of the symptoms of pre-eclampsia. They become aware when the nurse or the doctor treating them informs about pre-eclampsia. 10-15 percent of pregnant women have high blood pressure which does not always indicate to the woman having pre-eclampsia. If protein is found to be present in the urine, it is the most vital sign for the woman to have pre-eclampsia. When Pre-eclampsia advances, the mother may have Oedema which includes swelling in the ankles, face and hands. Though swelling is common during pregnancy where it occurs mildly in the morning and grows up during the day in lower part of the body like feet and ankles. It is not pre-eclampsia where swelling takes place suddenly and becomes severe during day. A pregnant mother may the following symptoms if pre-eclampsia is not diagnosed early:
- Blur vision, sometimes flashing of lights may occur in-front of the eyes.
- Headache, sometimes very severe.
- Pain below the ribs
- Fast gain of weight
The most important sign of pre-eclampsia is poor growth of the foetus which happens due to restricted blood supply to the Placenta.
CONSEQUENCES IF NOT TREATED: If pre-eclampsia is left untreated, it may develop seizures, where a mother may undergo convulsions or may go into coma and even die.
RECOMMENDATIONS: If pre-eclampsia does not get cured until the delivery of the baby, the mother is at a great risk of paralysis, seizures, bleeding, till the blood pressure comes down. Delivery of the foetus is not advised if pre-eclampsia starts early.
Women are advised to attend prenatal sessions regularly, especially those who had pre-eclampsia in their previous pregnancy.
Medications of pre-eclampsia that may be recommended are as follows:
- Antihypertensives: These are prescribed to control hypertension.
- Corticosteroids: These drugs help in in the rapid growth of the baby’s lungs which is very important if he/she is delivered prematurely. These drugs also help to improve the functioning of liver and platelets which extends the pregnancy, if the mother has HELLP syndrome or pre-eclampsia.
- Anticonvulsives: Magnesium sulphate may be prescribed by the doctor for the prevention of seizure in severe cases.
- Rest: Doctors advice mothers, rest during pregnancy, as it helps in bringing the blood pressure down which fastens the blood flow to the placenta and benifits the baby.
- Inducing labour: Doctors may advice to deliver the baby as early as possible if pre-eclampsia is diagnosed at the very end of the pregnancy. In certain acute situations, other than inducing labour or a C-section, there may be no choice.
References: 1: www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/issues/preg/preeclam.htm