Preeclampsia is pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, or hypertension that occurs in 5-8 % of pregnancies. Uncontrolled blood pressure is a serious risk for pregnant women and should be monitored very closely. Symptoms of preeclampsia can arise in just about any stage in pregnancy (though most commonly in the third trimester) and sometimes even after birth with little notice. The primary symptoms to be aware of are a rise in blood pressure, swelling in the hands, legs, and feet, and protein in your urine. The only cure for this condition is giving birth, but if you are not very far along your doctor will make efforts to alleviate symptoms so you can keep baby cooking as long as possible, so they have the highest chance of survival outside the womb.
A mild case might not cause problems for the baby, but your doctor will want to keep close tabs on baby's growth and placental blood flow to ensure baby is getting the oxygen and nutrients they need to thrive. Severe preeclampsia can lead to premature birth, placental abruption, and even intrauterine death, so it is crucial to pay attention to your body and understand the symptoms. There is no need to panic or fear the condition, but you should contact your provider if you have new or concerning symptoms that indicate you might be developing the condition.
Symptoms to look for include: severe headaches that show up out of the blue, Blurred vision, nausea and vomiting, swelling, and sharp pain under your ribs on the right side that spreads around your side or back. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor right away. Experiencing the feeling of a stuffy nose is common throughout pregnancy and usually not a sign of preeclampsia, however, if you find it happens out of the blue or all of a sudden, be sure to mention it to your doctor at your next visit. Run of the mill nasal congestion can be somewhat relieved with the use of a humidifier.
- Mayo Clinic - Preeclampsia
- American Pregnancy Association - Week 29