What is preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is a condition that occurs only during pregnancy where your blood pressure is higher than normal (higher than 140/90) and you have protein in your urine. It typically happens after the 20th week of pregnancy and can develop suddenly.
It can affect up to 8% of pregnancies in North America. If left untreated, it can lead to eclampsia, where seizures can occur and can be fatal.
What are some of the symptoms?
- High blood pressure (above 140/90)
- High levels of protein in your urine
- Visual changes (blurred or double vision, sensitivity to light)
- Severe headaches
- Sudden and large gains in weight (more than 2 - 5lbs/week) indicating water retention
- Significant swelling of hands and feet
- Pain in the upper right side of the abdomen
- Vaginal bleeding
What are the risk factors for preeclampsia?
No one knows what causes preeclampsia, but there are some risk factors that can increase your risk.
- First time pregnancies
- Pregnant teens
- Women over 40
- Carrying twins or multiples
- Overweight or history of obesity
- History of preeclampsia
- You have had high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease
- You have a high percentage of body fat
What are the treatment options?
The only way to cure preeclampsia is to deliver your baby. If you are around 36 weeks or more and you have preeclampsia, your doctor may want to induce labour to prevent it from getting worse. However, if your baby is not close to term, the treatment goal will be to help you manage your symptoms until your baby is delivered.
How can preeclampsia be prevented or managed?
If you have mild case of preeclampsia, your doctor may recommend plenty of bed rest with you lying on your left side, so that the weight of the baby doesn’t press against important blood vessels. Your doctor may also recommend that you take certain blood pressure medications and undergo monitoring.
There are studies that show certain vitamins and minerals may help prevent preeclampsia. Some of the more important vitamins include Vitamin D, folic acid, Vitamin B6, C and E. Many of these vitamins and minerals are found in prenatal supplements, like Prenatal Ease. Studies also show that Omega 3 fatty acids can help lower the risk of preeclampsia, possibly by producing more beneficial prostaglandins. It’s another great reason to continue taking Omega 3 fatty acids! Just remember to look for high quality Omega 3 fatty acids, like Prenatal Ease Omega-3 DHA, as some fish oil products maybe sourced from fish that are contaminated with heavy metals, PCBs or other toxins.