Preeclampsia is a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication that usually begins after the 20th week of pregnancy. It is characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, often the liver and kidneys. Here, we will discuss some of the signs of preeclampsia to be aware of.
1. High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is the most significant indicator of preeclampsia. It is essential to monitor blood pressure readings regularly during pregnancy, as a significant increase might be a sign of this condition. Blood pressure that exceeds 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or is significantly higher than your usual level might indicate preeclampsia.
2. Protein in Urine
The presence of high levels of protein in your urine (proteinuria) is another symptom of preeclampsia. This sign often appears alongside high blood pressure, and doctors usually check for it during routine prenatal visits.
3. Severe Headaches and Vision Problems
Severe headaches that persist and vision problems like blurriness, sensitivity to light, or seeing flashing lights are also signs of preeclampsia. These symptoms may be due to the effects of high blood pressure on the brain.
4. Swelling in the Face and Hands
While swelling is a common symptom during pregnancy, sudden or excessive swelling in the face or hands may be a warning sign. Edema, which is swelling caused by fluid retention in the body's tissues, can occur in severe cases of preeclampsia.
5. Difficulty Breathing
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing might indicate that preeclampsia is affecting your lungs. This symptom should not be overlooked, and medical attention should be sought immediately if it occurs.
In summary, it's crucial to be aware of these signs, particularly if you have a history of high blood pressure or other risk factors for preeclampsia. Early detection and management can help ensure the health and safety of both mother and baby.