Preeclampsia refers to a pregnancy-specific medical condition where the woman experiences high blood pressure, high levels of protein in the urine, and abnormalities in the placenta around or after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Typically, this condition resolves after delivery, however, some women have postpartum preeclampsia and continue to have symptoms for several days or weeks after birth.
Preeclampsia can be dangerous to women and their babies. Severe cases of preeclampsia can be associated with maternal stroke or seizure and intensive care unit admission. It can also lead to placental abruption, which is a premature separation of the placenta. In rare cases it can be a cause of stillbirth. More commonly, the risk to the fetus is the risk of prematurity as the only cure for preeclampsia is delivery. Therefore, in severe cases, an early delivery is recommended.
There is evidence to suggest that certain high-risk women benefit from taking a low dose aspirin (“baby aspirin”) during pregnancy. Low dose aspirin has been shown in some studies to lower the risk of preeclampsia. Additionally, in women with decreased calcium intake (approximately 1000mg a day), calcium supplementation can also reduce the risk of preeclampsia.
Both doctors and researchers say it’s critical to prepare yourself for pregnancy by maintaining a healthy body weight. Also, getting used to incorporating a nutrient-rich diet and exercise regimen prior to getting pregnant. Normally, doctors recommend women maintaining a body mass index of 19 to 25, which significantly lowers your chances for pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia.
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!