Preeclampsia and Eclampsia
Preeclampsia and Eclampsia are frequent in initial pregnancies. Preeclampsia is a syndrome in which a pregnant woman after the 20th week of pregnancy abruptly develops high B P. Proteins in Urine, and changes in blood levels of liver enzymes, swelling in feet, face and hands, headache, blurred vision, and abdominal pain are other symptoms of preeclampsia. Swelling in the legs is common during pregnancy and may not signal a problem. The effects of high blood pressure range from mild to severe. High B P can harm pregnant woman’s kidneys and other organs, and it can lead to low birth weight and early delivery. In most cases, the pregnant lady develops preeclampsia toxaemia of pregnancy. The untreated preeclampsia in pregnancy can be fatal for the mother and/or the baby and can lead to long-term health problems. Most women who develop preeclampsia have healthy babies if properly managed.
There are many ways in preventing high blood pressure. Stress which is the main cause of high blood pressure can be avoided using meditation and yoga. Exercises and following healthy foods can also help in maintaining your high blood pressure. Calcium supplements may reduce the risk of developing preeclampsia and the risk of having a low-birth-weight baby. Low-dose aspirin (antiplatelet) therapy may be a moderately effective preventive treatment for women at risk of developing preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is also known as toxemia.
The only treatment for preeclampsia is delivering the foetus. Preeclampsia treatment during pregnancy tries to extend the pregnancy to give the foetus more time to grow and mature. At the same time, the health of the mother is continuously monitored for signs that the foetus needs to be delivered right away, even prematurely, if necessary. The condition where preeclampsia is severe and the foetus is not delivered, can seriously affect the life of the mother.
Eclampsia is a life-threatening complication of pregnancy which can cause convulsions and potentially comas, while pre-eclampsia is the beginning of eclampsia and is evident by an increase in blood pressure. Postpartum eclampsia is the sudden onset of severe seizures or a coma shortly after giving birth. Eclampsia after delivery usually starts after 48hrs of delivery. However, postpartum preeclampsia sometimes develops up to four to six weeks after the birth of baby. This is termed as late postpartum preeclampsia.
Acute headaches, blurred or double vision or seeing spots may be considered as the key warning signs of developing eclampsia in a woman diagnosed with preeclampsia.
Seizures or convulsions are the hallmarks of eclampsia of pregnancy. Other changes and symptoms may be present and vary depending to the organ systems that are affected. These changes can affect either the mother only or baby or more commonly affect both mother and baby.
The first or only symptom may be high blood pressure. The inability of kidneys to efficiently filter the blood may cause an increase in protein to be present in the urine. Nervous system changes can include blurred vision, seeing spots, acute headaches, convulsions, and even occasionally blindness. Changes that affect the liver can cause pain in the upper part of the abdomen and may be confused with indigestion or gallbladder disease. The obstruction in the blood flow to the placenta can result in the baby not getting proper nutrients. As a result, the child may not grow properly and may be smaller , or worse the child will appear sluggish or seem to decrease the frequency and intensity of its movements.
Medical management is available for these patients. Patients may also receive treatment for elevated blood pressure while being treated for eclampsia. Once the mother’s condition is stabilized following a seizure, the next step is to deliver the baby.