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Preeclampsia is a complication during pregnancy, usually after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is characterized by the appearance of high blood pressure and the presence of proteins in the urine, whether or not ingested by edema of the body (swelling, water retention of tissues).
Blood pressure measurement
Blood pressure measurement (blood pressure in the arteries) is mandatory at every prenatal consultation. Ideally, two stress measurements are made at longer intervals after the pregnancy has rested for at least 5-10 minutes.
In pregnant women, normal blood pressure is considered below 130/90 mmHg. Above this value, the pregnant woman is considered to have hypertension and further emergency investigations are required. Hypertension found in pregnancy, undiagnosed and untreated, can endanger the life of both baby and mother.
High blood pressure associated with proteinuria (the presence of proteins in the urine above a certain threshold) are the two features of preeclampsia. If a pregnant woman is diagnosed with hypertension, the doctor will recommend checking the protein in the urine. Preeclampsia is considered severe if blood pressure exceeds 160/110 mmHg, associated headache, upper abdomen pain, changes in blood tests, changes in urine quantity and decreased fetal amniotic fluid, improper development or severe impairment of the fetus placenta.
Risk factors for preeclampsia
Risk factors for preeclampsia are:
- Mother's age: women over 35 are at increased risk
- Collagen diseases (lupus, scleroderma)
- Diabetes in pregnancy
- Kidney disease
- Chronic hypertension (before and after pregnancy)
- Antiphospholipid syndrome
- Twin pregnancy
- Hypertension in other pregnancies
Preeclampsia can be complicated by eclampsia. Eclampsia is manifested by the onset of generalized seizures and loss of consciousness. Eclampsia is an extremely severe disease, with adverse consequences for both mother and baby.
Hypertension in pregnancy
Pregnancy hypertension can be treated or kept under control, thus preventing complications. There are special medicines that lower blood pressure levels and do not affect the baby. These should be recommended by the doctor. Pregnant women with hypertension should be monitored frequently and by ultrasound examinations. It is evaluated development and growth of the fetus, placenta, quantity of amniotic fluid and blood circulation through the fetal arteries. If, due to hypertension, the baby is no longer growing or other changes occur, it may be necessary to terminate the pregnancy, more frequently by caesarean section.
The most important thing is that hypertension is discovered in a timely manner during pregnancy. To do this, you can try to measure your stress at home, weekly, with the help of appliances purchased from pharmacies. You can also go to the pharmacy or family doctor to measure your blood pressure between prenatal checks.
If you have any of the following symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical advice:
• Persistent headaches
• Pain under the ribs, on the right side
• View in the fog, "ear piercing"
• Sudden swelling of the hands and feet
These may be signs of hypertension and preeclampsia.