We receive many questions from expectant moms who are experiencing symptoms such as headaches or swelling. They worry it might be something serious, like preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is a kind of high blood pressure some women get after the 20th week of pregnancy or after giving birth. Along with high blood pressure, a pregnant woman can have signs that some of her organs, like her kidneys and liver, may not be working properly.
Signs and symptoms of preeclampsia include:
- High blood pressure
- Protein in the urine
- Severe headaches
- Changes in vision, like blurriness, flashing lights, seeing spots or being sensitive to light
- Pain in the upper right belly area or pain in the shoulder
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sudden weight gain (2 to 5 pounds in a week)
- Swelling in the legs, hands and face
- Trouble breathing
Without treatment, preeclampsia can cause serious health problems for both you and your baby. The condition can cause kidney, liver and brain damage for you and premature birth, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) or low birthweight for your baby.
Many of the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia are just normal discomforts of pregnancy.
So how do you know if your symptoms are a sign of something more serious?
Your health care provider can diagnose preeclampsia by measuring your blood pressure and checking your urine for protein – both of these are routinely checked at every prenatal care visit.
If you are diagnosed with preeclampsia, your provider can help you manage most health complications through regular prenatal care. This is why it’s important to go to every appointment, even if you are feeling fine.
So, to know if your severe headache or sudden swelling is cause for concern, reach out to your health care provider. He can determine if your symptoms are normal pregnancy discomforts or something more serious like preeclampsia.
For more details about this serious condition, visit our website.