Preeclampsia is a disease that only affects pregnant women , determining this condition is very complicated since the causes have not yet been scientifically proven, but it is attributed to a change that affects the blood supply and therefore oxygen and nutrient towards the placenta. This alteration of the blood causes hypertension and all the problems related to it , although the pregnant woman is unaware of it, she can be affected with preeclampsia from gestation and it is not until 20 weeks of gestation where symptoms appear and for this reason it is in the last trimester of pregnancy where the malicious disease is detected.
This silent enemy is the great fear of every pregnant woman and also for women who want to stay pregnant, but not everything is gray in the picture there are many ways to be aware of the possible risks during pregnancy. The first step is to have an adequate prenatal control to be aware of any alarm symptoms, another very important step is to be very well documented on the subject to dispel any doubts and be alert to any unknown symptoms.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Preeclampsia
There are many alarm symptoms that can generate suspicion in pregnant women, the main thing is to see high levels in blood pressure and protein in the urine in routine examinations . If there are doubts on the part of the mother or the doctor who controls the pregnancy, it is best for the woman to go to the nearest hospital for a test to dispel any doubts.
Among the alarm symptoms that can lead the mother to have doubts about her good health, we can mention the following:
- Swelling of the face, hands and feet.
- Weight gain (2 kilos or more) in a week.
- Vomiting and dizziness that do not dissipate with medication.
- Copious diarrhea
- Distorted vision (seeing lights, seeing blurry, seeing stripes).
- Sudden fainting spells
- Intense pain under the ribs, more intense on the right side.
- Very bad headache that does not go away with medicine.
Routine tests to mislead preeclampsia are as follows.
- Physical examination to measure blood pressure, this should be higher than 140/90 mm / Hg . For severe cases, the level should be the same on all occasions and the pressure should be measured every 4 hours without seeing any improvement.
- Make a protein count in the urine, for severe cases the levels should not vary after 24 hours.
- Blood tests to check blood clotting of the mother’s important organs (liver, kidneys).
- Ultrasound to verify that the blood flow of the umbilical cord is correct, and it can also be verified if the amount of amniotic fluid is adequate for the baby’s growth.
As measure number one, what is recommended is to give birth, it must be taken into account that the baby has at least 37 weeks of gestation. In most cases all symptoms disappear completely after delivery. If the mother and fetus are not yet ready for delivery, medications should be given to induce labor. It must be taken into account that there is a mild and a severe pre-eclampsia, if the mother has a mild case, the healthiest thing is to cope with the disease at home until the fetus is fully developed, the medical recommendations for the different cases are reflected below.
IN MILD CASES
- Staying in bed as much as possible, the pregnant woman is recommended to sleep on her left side more than 12 hours a day , in addition to getting out of bed only for what is strictly necessary such as medical examinations or going to the bathroom.
- Drink more than 8 glasses of water a day.
- Reduce the amount of salt you consume in your meals , the pregnant woman should only place a small pinch of salt with the tips of her fingers to the food.
- Go regularly to prenatal check-ups to check the health status of both of you.
- Keep track of your blood pressure, make a note of all the data and, if possible, have a blood pressure monitor or someone specialized in taking your blood pressure on hand.
- Take medications to control blood pressure , all the medicines consumed by the pregnant woman must be under strict medical supervision.
IN SEVERE CASES
- The hospitalization of the mother so that she can be under medical surveillance 24 hours a day, to avoid serious complications.
- Administration of medications to control blood pressure and possible seizures.
- Frequently monitor the functioning of vital organs such as the kidneys, liver and heart.
- Administration of steroids to accelerate the maturation of the lungs in fetuses less than 34 weeks .
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What are the causes and consequences of preeclampsia?
At present, clinical trials still do not find the cause of preeclampsia, it is only estimated that out of every 10 pregnant women between 1 and 3 will suffer from preeclampsia. As a general rule, the disease is described as a bad formation in the placenta that hinders the supply of blood and oxygen that exists between the baby and the mother. Doctors still do not give the answer as to why some pregnant women suffer from the disease and others do not, but we will indicate a possible profile of those affected with this disease.
- New mothers: women (first pregnant) are more likely to suffer pre-eclampsia, it is recommended to have adequate prenatal control, since it is the first time that the mother’s body goes through the multiple changes that arise with pregnancy.
- Being a mother of twins: having multiple pregnancies always carries a risk, if you are pregnant with twins you have to take care of the symptoms of pre-eclampsia, also if in the past the woman has had twins, regardless of whether the current pregnancy is not. .
- History of pre-eclampsia: if the mother has suffered from pre-eclampsia in previous pregnancies, a very exhaustive follow-up must be done, it does not mean that the mother in all future pregnancies is an affected patient, but there is a risk percentage of up to 30% Ideally, the medical services should always carry out routine control tests for the condition to avoid future inconveniences. On the other hand, if the mother has a history of relatives (mother, grandmother or sisters) who have suffered the disease, always be on the alert for any symptoms.
- Being a patient with common or serious conditions: if you are affected by diabetes, high blood pressure, heart or kidney failure, including antiphospholipid syndrome, you have to be alert, these diseases are closely linked to the organic failures that pre-eclampsia generates.
Consequences of preeclampsia
Regarding the consequences of pre-eclampsia, it must be taken into account that these can persist beyond the time of delivery , that means that the organic wear on the mother and the baby can last even up to the first three months after delivery (it all depends on the case of severity). It is important to note that the most horrible and disastrous consequence of this terrible disease is the death of the mother or the child, which can be avoided if treated with due caution. In general we can name the following consequences:
- Premature birth : in most cases, pregnancies should not be older than 37 weeks to avoid future complications. In this case, you have to be very patient since a premature baby requires a lot of special care, unlike a full-term baby.
- Detachment of the placenta : when the placenta detaches all or partially from the walls of the uterus, it stops fulfilling its functions (nourishing the baby). The symptom to detect this detachment is vaginal bleeding , this usually occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy , so if the pregnant woman has abundant vaginal bleeding, she should go immediately to the nearest hospital.
- Pregnancy with IUGR syndrome: mothers who suffer from this syndrome do not have a good growth of the womb, which makes it difficult for the baby to grow properly.
Consequences on the mother
- The blood pressure of the woman’s organism is directly affected, taking it to the limit, which can cause a cerebrovascular accident, as well as directly affects the kidneys and liver causing kidney failure.
- Eclampsia (seizures) can be reached , this condition is different from the aforementioned pre-eclampsia and only affects some women who already have this disease. These seizures are very harmful to the body of pregnant women and can strike at any time (at the time of delivery, after delivery or during pregnancy).
Consequences on the baby
The placenta and umbilical cord are affected, the supply of oxygen, blood and nutrients for the baby becomes difficult with pre-eclampsia, if the connection between the mother and the fetus is interfered with, it is very difficult for the baby to grow up healthy and strong. in the mother’s belly. The safest thing is that you have to anticipate or in the worst case interrupt the pregnancy. A premature baby is always a great risk since he is not yet prepared to live outside his mother’s womb, it is very likely that his organs are not fully formed and functional (heart and lungs), in addition to the lack of nutrients the weight of the baby will not be adequate (less than 1.5 kilos). The best thing for a baby is to live 38 to 40 weeks within its mother but if pre-eclampsia affects the baby too much, the ideal is to deliver at 37 weeks with all the necessary medical precautions.
Preeclampsia and its risk factors
Preeclampsia is a disease that if not treated with due care can cause the death of the affected mother and in many cases also the death of the baby. In some cases the disease causes eclampsia or HELLP syndrome , it is not in all cases but there is a great connection between these diseases. The risks or external factors that can bring a woman closer to suffering from pre-eclampsia are the following:
- Obesity: being obese brings with it many organic difficulties for the pregnant woman, the ideal is for the pregnant woman to take care of her diet so that in the first trimester of pregnancy she does not exceed her body mass and maintains a body mass index that do not exceed 35 BMI .
- Age range: women over 35 or under 19 are in an alert age range. Bringing a child into the world is a very strong transition for the female organism and it is recommended to do it between the ages of 20 and 30. However, it is impossible to prevent pregnancy in any period of the woman’s life, but if you are in condition and belong to the age range at risk, the precautionary measures should be greater.
- Lapses of 10 years between pregnancies: when the lapses between pregnancies are greater than 10 years, it is necessary to be cautious, even if the mother is not a newcomer, the risks and care are equal. A very important point to keep in mind is that if the mother first had children from a father and then divorces or becomes a widow and after 10 years she meets another man and remains in condition, it is very likely that the woman suffers from pre-eclampsia . As we can see there are two points to highlight, first a 10-year period between pregnancies and the change of partners when it comes to getting pregnant.
Atypical preeclampsia in pregnancy
When we talk about atypical pre-eclampsia, we are talking about abnormal pre-eclampsia, so what do we mean by normal? It is one that develops in the 20 weeks of gestation and presents symptoms such as high blood pressure and kidney failure , malaise or seizures. Then we see on the other hand a pre-eclampsia that does not manifest symptoms and attacks the mother before 20 weeks of gestation, this is what is known as atypical pre-eclampsia. On the other hand, we find another case that is postpartum atypical preeclampsia, this occurs after 48 hours of delivery , the normal thing is that postpartum preeclampsia appears just after 24 hours of giving birth .
As we can see, it is a very risky part of the disease since its presentation is silent and the damage can only be seen when it is late (there is no prevention), in this case the only alternative to eradicate the ravages of atypical preeclampsia is to carry a rigorously pre and postnatal control for the good of the mother and her child.
Let’s talk about the dreaded severe preeclampsia
Preventing severe pre-eclampsia is almost impossible, the only thing that can be done if the woman is diagnosed with mild pre-eclampsia is to follow all the instructions given by the doctor to the letter. If despite all the doctor’s instructions the mother does not improve, the ideal is to hospitalize the mother (if she still cannot give birth).
What is most feared of a woman with severe preeclampsia is that she suffers from HELLP syndrome , this disease is a liver disorder that is very little known but fatal, affects only 1 in every thousand pregnant women and 20 percent of that total are women with severe pre-eclampsia. In short, if the mother is not ready to give birth, the healthiest thing is to have her under medical supervision and the baby 24 hours a day until the time of delivery (37 weeks) .
Some pregnant women develop preeclampsia during childbirth or after 24 hours of giving birth, the first warning sign is an increase in blood pressure . In this case, the mother must be under medical supervision for 3 to 4 days to evaluate her profile and also to administer medicines that control blood pressure and prevent possible seizures.
It is necessary to watch that there are no complications with the vital organs of the mother. In very severe cases, blood pressure can take more than 3 days to regulate, so the mother should not be left without medical supervision.
Preeclampsia and Eclampsia, are they the same?
Although the terms are very similar, it must be established that the diseases are different , the only thing they have in common is that they only affect pregnant women , and they only do so when they are 20 weeks pregnant. Another point they have in common is that when they can no longer be controlled, it is best to induce labor at week 37 to avoid the death of both.
Although preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia, it is important to note that it does not occur in all cases, to clarify the points we will define the terms:
- Eclampsia, is when a pregnant woman suffers from episodes of seizures.
- Preeclampsia is when the pregnant woman suffers from high blood pressure in addition to protein being seen in her urine.
Relationship between preeclampsia and gestational diabetes
The female organism is an extraordinary machine capable of giving life and bringing a human being into the world, the changes that arise in women at this stage are very diverse and despite the female strength there are some negative factors that degenerate into diseases, throughout From the article we have talked in depth about pre-eclampsia and the damage it can cause in the mother and her child, but there is also another terrible condition thatcauses many discomforts in pregnant women and that is gestational diabetes .
Although preeclampsia is the number one disease in pregnant women, gestational diabetes takes second place, these diseases are responsible for increasing mortality rates in mothers and newborn babies worldwide. To define gestational diabetes we can say that it is the increase or decrease in blood glucose in the mother’s body, these changes in blood glucose are only due to pregnancy (demand for nutrients from the body, to nourish the baby). It should be noted that the patient is not diabetic nor does she have a family history, it is only a problem that can occur after 12 weeks of pregnancy .
As we have already mentioned, each disease has its place but there are special cases where mothers can suffer both pathologies at the same time, in these cases you have to be very careful and have the mother and the fetus under medical supervision. For these cases, the ideal is to keep the pregnant woman in constant rest and with a correct diet to cope with the disease until the fetus is 37 weeks old and can be born without major risks.
There is no scientific evidence to show that these two diseases have a connection but if one of them is diagnosed, the healthiest thing to do is to carry out the respective investigations to rule out the other . The safety and well-being of the mother and the fetus is the number one priority, an adequate prenatal control is the most recommended for women who want to be mothers.
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Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.