Recognizing Preeclampsia During Pregnancy
Because preeclampsia only affects women during pregnancy and the postpartum period, many first time mothers are unaware of the effects and symptoms of preeclampsia. Proper prenatal care with a certified obstetrician or CNM is typically enough to catch the early signs of preeclampsia; however, new mothers should be aware of the symptoms and notify their doctor about any changes in their health.
What Is Preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is pregnancy induced hypertension that affects mothers and infants during late pregnancy. Symptoms typically develop after week 20, and can show up as late as 6 weeks postpartum. Researchers have yet to isolate the cause of preeclampsia, but the disorder affects 5-8% of all pregnancies. Preeclampsia is most common in first time mothers. It is one of the leading causes of illness and death in mothers and infants, but identifying the problem in its early stages allows for the best possible outcome.
Recognizing the Problem
Although some women show few symptoms of pregnancy induced hypertension, preeclampsia is typically characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Your obstetrician will monitor your pregnancy for signs of preeclampsia, but it’s important to tell your physician if you’re experiencing any symptoms.
Symptoms of preeclampsia may include:
- Sudden weight gain
- Stomach or shoulder pain
- Lower back pain
- Changes in vision
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea or Vomiting
Preeclampsia develops rapidly, so it’s important to notify your doctor as soon as you experience symptoms. But with early detection and proper care, your physician can provide the best possible outcome for you and your baby.
To learn more about preeclampsia or to schedule a prenatal appointment with a board-certified OB or CNM, contact Cherokee Women’s Health.