Posts Tagged ‘preeclampsia’

How preeclampsia affects your baby

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

preemieLast week we reviewed the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia. Today we’ll talk about how preeclampsia can affect your baby.

If you have preeclampsia, your health care provider can help you manage most health complications through regular prenatal care.

Treatment for preeclampsia depends on how severe your preeclampsia is and how far along you are in your pregnancy. Even if you have mild preeclampsia, you need treatment to make sure it doesn’t get worse.

Treatment for mild preeclampsia may include seeing your prenatal care provider more frequently for tests to make sure you and your baby are doing well. You may be able to stay at home and just be monitored.

More severe preeclampsia may require you to be admitted to the hospital or for you to be induced before your due date.

The high blood pressure that is a part of preeclampsia can narrow blood vessels in the uterus (womb) and placenta. The placenta supplies your baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord. If the blood vessels in the placenta are narrow, your baby may not get enough oxygen and nutrients, causing him to grow slowly. This can lead to a low birthweight baby, a baby who weighs less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.

In many cases the only treatment for preeclampsia is the birth of your baby. This may result in your baby being born prematurely, or before 37 weeks of pregnancy.  Although the thought of having a premature baby can be frightening, it is important to remember that most babies of moms with severe preeclampsia before 34 weeks of pregnancy do better in a NICU than if they stay in the uterus.

Premature babies and low birthweight babies may have more health problems and need to stay in the NICU longer than babies born full-term. The earlier in pregnancy a baby is born, the more likely he is to have health problems. Some babies may have complications that can affect them their whole lives. But thanks to advances in medical care, even babies born very prematurely are more likely to survive today than ever before.

Twitter chat on preeclampsia- how it affects you and your baby

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

texting2Ever wonder why your provider takes your blood pressure and has you pee in a cup at every prenatal visit?  Ever heard of preeclampsia? It is a serious complication of pregnancy that can affect you and your baby. If you are worried about it or have had it, join us tomorrow for our pregnancy chat on Preeclampsia.  We are glad to partner with the Preeclampsia Foundation.

It’s on Twitter tomorrow, May 29th at 1pm ET.  Just follow # PreAM14. Jump into the conversation at any time to ask questions or tell us your experience. We hope to see you then!

Upcoming chats

Monday, May 19th, 2014

woman-on-laptopJoin us on Twitter for two exciting chats that we have coming up very soon.

About 1 out of every 8 women have postpartum depression after delivery. It is not your fault.  On Wednesday, May 21 at 2pm ET we will be joining MomsRising, for their #WellnessWed chat. This week they will be discussing postpartum care and depression. This is an important topic for all new moms and pregnant women as well, so you can learn what to expect after your baby is born. Joining us will be the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Katherine Stone, a blogger with the BlogHer network, and Kaiser Permanente.

And on Thursday, May 29 at 1pm ET we will be a guest in a #PreAm14 chat on how preeclampsia affects your baby with the Preeclampsia Foundation. Learn more about this dangerous condition and some of its warning signs. If you have battled with preeclampsia or HELLP syndrome, share your experience, tell us what helped you get through it, what advice you have for other pregnant women.

We hope to see you at both chats!

Could Aspirin help prevent preeclampsia in some women?

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Could Aspirin help prevent preeclampsia in some women? That’s what a panel of experts from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is suggesting in this month’s Annals of Internal Medicine. The panel reviewed research and evidence and found that low doses of Aspirin may help prevent preeclampsia in women who are at risk of developing the condition.

Preeclampsia is condition that happens when a pregnant woman has both high blood pressure and protein in her urine. With early and regular prenatal care, most women with preeclampsia can have healthy babies, but it can cause severe problems for moms. Without treatment, preeclampsia can cause kidney, liver and brain damage. It also may affect how the blood clots and cause serious bleeding problems.

No one knows what causes preeclampsia. But some women may be more likely than others to have preeclampsia. Some risks include:
• Having your first baby
• Having preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy
• Having a family history of preeclampsia
• Being pregnant with multiples (twins, triplets or more)
• Being older than 35
• Being overweight or obese

If you’re pregnant and at risk for preeclampsia, talk to your health provider. While the research may be promising, more needs to be done. In the meantime, don’t take any medicine during pregnancy without checking with your health provider first. Learn more about preeclampsia.

Fluid retention

Friday, February 7th, 2014

feetYou’re in your last trimester, you feel great in the morning but like a squishy beach ball at night. By evening you may find your legs, feet and ankles are swollen due to fluid retention. And rings may become too tight to wear on swollen fingers. Unpleasant as this may be, slight swelling, especially in the evening, is pretty common and nothing to worry about. But call your health care provider if you have severe or sudden swelling, particularly in your hands or in your face around the eyes. This could be a sign of a serious condition called preeclampsia.

Here are some ways to prevent and relieve swelling:

• Get up, stretch and move around periodically. No long-term couch potatoes!
• Exercise, like walking or swimming, improves circulation and lessens swelling.
• Cooling off can help. If it’s hot outside, take a cool shower, float in a pool in the shade, use cool compresses to make yourself comfortable.
• Put your feet up. Elevated tootsies help keep fluids from pooling in your feet. And don’t cross your legs when you sit.
• Avoid tight clothes and jewelry. Many women remove rings or even their wristwatch in the last month or so.
• Salty foods can make you retain water, so avoid excess salt. But some salt in your diet is good for you.
• Do drink fluids, especially water. Odd as it may sound, you don’t want to risk dehydration.

Call your health care provider right away if one leg swells larger than another, if swelling comes on quickly (especially in the hands and face) or if it is accompanied by a nasty headache, changes in your vision, dizziness or belly pain. These are all signs of preeclampsia.

National Preeclampsia Awareness Month

Monday, May 20th, 2013

The US Department of Health and Human Services has designated May 2013 as the first National Preeclampsia Awareness Month. Throughout the month, several organizations educate about preeclampsia, a serious and common complication of pregnancy and the postpartum period. This condition is dangerous to both the mother and her unborn baby. Preeclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine, and can also include signs and symptoms such as swelling, headaches and visual disturbances. It’s so important for pregnant women to keep all their prenatal appointments and to alert their health care providers if they have any of the symptoms.

The Preeclampsia Foundation has launched a month-long campaign of education including infographics, Twitter chats, blogs and more. Learn as much as you can to help keep yourself and your baby as healthy as possible.

What is a maternal-fetal medicine specialist?

Friday, March 15th, 2013

A maternal-fetal medicine specialist is an obstetrician who concentrates on the care of pregnant women and babies in high-risk situations. Another name for this doctor is a perinatologist.

A maternal-fetal medicine specialist treats women with a number of conditions. Complications with mom’s health, include:
• A history of multiple miscarriages or premature birth
• Diabetes (gestational or preexisting)
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Preeclampsia
• Infectious disease (toxoplasmosis, parvovirus, HIV/AIDS, etc.) or chronic illness
• Rh disease
• A family history of heart, kidney, or other disease

A maternal-fetal medicine specialist often treat pregnant women who are carrying multiples (twins, triplets or more) as the risk for preterm birth is significantly increased.

This doctor also specializes in the care of women whose baby is known to have:
• Abnormal fetal growth
• A known birth defect or suspected genetic disorder, such as Down syndrome, Trisomy 13 or Trisomy 18
• A baby with macrosomia (too large)
• A baby with fetal growth restriction (too small)

If you find yourself in a position where the risk of complications is higher than the average pregnancy, ask your current health care provider for a referral to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist. You may or may not need the extra care, but it will be good to get a second opinion.

Are you watching your soda intake?

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

drinking sodaThere has been an interesting debate in the media lately about New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attempt to regulate the size of sugary soft drinks.  He says he is doing it for health reasons. Well, he is right that there is an enormous (all puns intended) portion of the population that is overweight in this country, and that’s a concern for everyone.

Obesity leads to significant health problems. Being overweight or obese during pregnancy can cause complications for you and your baby. The more overweight you are, the greater the chances for pregnancy complications. You can read about many of the problems (infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes…) here.

It’s important to get to a healthy weight before you conceive. This way you’re giving your baby the healthiest possible start. Before you have a baby, take the time to get fit, exercise and eat healthy.  Cutting out the empty calories that do you no good is a good idea. It will be interesting to watch what happens in New York. What do you think?

Controlling asthma during pregnancy

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

inhaler2Asthma is a lung disease that causes your airways to tighten up, making it hard for you to breathe. Asthma affects 4 to 8 out of every 100 pregnant women (4 to 8 percent). If you keep your asthma under control, it probably won’t cause any problems during your pregnancy. So, it’s really important to keep all your prenatal care appointments and work with your health care provider to keep your asthma in check. If you don’t control your asthma, you may be at risk for a serious health problem called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a certain kind of high blood pressure that only pregnant women get and can result in poor fetal growth and other pregnancy complications.

Your health care provider needs to monitor your lungs while you’re pregnant so he can adjust your asthma medicines, if needed. Tell your provider if your symptoms improve or get worse. By limiting your contact with allergens and other asthma triggers, you may need to take less medicine to control your symptoms.

Lots of women ask if it’s safe to take asthma medicine during pregnancy. If asthma symptoms don’t stop or get worse, they can be a risk to you and your baby. If you were taking asthma medicine before pregnancy, don’t stop taking it without talking to your provider first. If you’re diagnosed with asthma during pregnancy, talk to your provider about the best way to treat or manage it.

If you’re already getting allergy shots, you can keep taking them during pregnancy. But if you aren’t getting allergy shots, don’t start taking them when you’re pregnant because you could have a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

Asthma symptoms often change during pregnancy. Sometimes they get better and sometimes they get worse. We don’t really understand what causes these changes. If your asthma is not well controlled or if your asthma is moderate to severe, your provider may recommend repeated ultrasounds to check to make sure your baby’s growing normally.

Only about 1 in 10 pregnant women with asthma (10 percent) have symptoms during labor and birth. Take your usual asthma medicines during labor and birth. If you still have asthma symptoms, don’t panic, your health care provider can help control them.

Want to know more? Read our info on asthma during pregnancy, that includes symptoms, common triggers and how to avoid them, treatments, and medications during breastfeeding.

Preeclampsia is not a thing of the past

Monday, January 28th, 2013

downton-abbey1Did you watch Downton Abbey? What a shocker! But did you know that losing a mother and/or baby to eclampsia resulting from preeclampsia still happens today?

Preeclampsia is a condition that happens only during pregnancy (after the 20th week) or right after pregnancy. It’s when a pregnant woman has both high blood pressure and protein in her urine. We don’t know what causes it and we don’t know how to prevent it.

Most women with preeclampsia have healthy babies, but it can cause severe problems for moms. Without treatment, preeclampsia can cause kidney, liver and brain damage. It also may affect how the blood clots and cause serious bleeding problems. In rare cases, preeclampsia can become a life-threatening condition called eclampsia that includes seizures following preeclampsia. Eclampsia sometimes can lead to coma and, in Lady Sybil’s case, death.

It has been nearly 100 years since the time of the story portrayed on Downton Abbey, yet to this day there still is no cure for preeclampsia except immediate delivery of the baby, often via cesarean section. Preeclampsia can turn into full eclampsia fairly quickly and it’s important that medical professionals keep an eye out for signs.

Signs and symptoms of preeclampsia include:
High blood pressure
Protein in the urine
Severe headaches
Vision problems, like blurriness, flashing lights, or being sensitive to light
Pain in the upper right belly area
Nausea or vomiting
Dizziness
Sudden weight gain (2 to 5 pounds in a week)
Swelling in the legs, hands, and face

It’s true that many of these signs and symptoms are normal discomforts of pregnancy. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to receive regular prenatal care. If you’re pregnant and have severe headaches, blurred vision or severe upper belly pain, call your health care provider right away.

You can read one woman’s personal story here, and for more information about preeclampsia, go to this link.