Pre-eclampsia – everything you need to know

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Pre-eclampsia is a medical condition that affects pregnant women. This usually happens from around week 20 onwards and even after delivery. In some cases, it can happen before 20 weeks. Every pregnant woman needs to know about pre-eclampsia, including the warning signs and symptoms while being aware of the risk factors. Below we share everything you need to know about pre-eclampsia.

What exactly is pre-eclampsia?

Pre-eclampsia is when you have prolonged high blood pressure and some women will also have protein in their urine. There is also usually changes to either liver or kidney function. This is a medical emergency that can lead to serious complications for both mother and baby.

What causes pre-eclampsia?

The causes of pre-eclampsia are very much unknown. It is thought that genetics do play a role, as do problems with blood vessels in the placenta. Problems can also occur with women who have an autoimmune disorder.

The symptoms of pre-eclampsia

In most cases the first symptoms that suggest you have pre-eclampsia will be those of protein in your urine sample, that is found when the nurse tests your urine during your antenatal check, and high blood pressure. There are however other symptoms that you need to be aware of. These include having a severe headache, swollen hands, ankles and a puffy face, problems focusing or blurry vision and pain or discomfort below your ribs.

What increases the chances of having pre-eclampsia

There are a number of medical conditions and lifestyle issues that can increase your chances of developing pre-eclampsia. The main conditions are those of already having kidney disease, and high blood pressure before you get pregnant. Having an autoimmune condition, such as lupus, will also place you at greater risk.

Other risk factors include those of being aged over 40, having a sister or mother who has also had pre-eclampsia, if you are carrying twins, and if your Body Max Index (BMI) is over 35.

If you would like to use the services of a private obstetrician in London for your pregnancy care, then we can help you. To learn more about our pregnancy care service then please do get in touch with us today.

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