Learning that you are pregnant can be one of the most exciting and rewarding moments in a woman’s life. However, it can also rapidly turn into a frightening situation when an unexpected condition strikes, such as preeclampsia. Most women affected by preeclampsia, whom saludmóvil™ talked to when writing this, had no idea what this condition was prior to their diagnosis.
Preeclampsia is a blood pressure disorder that occurs during pregnancy and in the postpartum (after delivery) period, and affects about 5-8% of all pregnancies according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. It is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine (proteinuria), which can lead to premature birth.
What Causes Preeclampsia?
Like many other situations when something goes “wrong,” our immediate reaction might involve feelings of guilt and questions like: “Did I cause this?” or “Could I have done something differently?”. Unfortunately with preeclampsia, much remains unknown.
“Although we do not know the exact cause of preeclampsia, there are some theories that involve vascular problems with the placenta, and another one where the autoimmune system is not working properly,” says Dr. Osbert Fernandez of CarePoint Health in New Jersey.
Other proposed theories suggest that women with chronic hypertension, obesity, and certain metabolic diseases like diabetes are more susceptible to also present preeclampsia symptoms.
But because there are no reliable tools for early clinical diagnosis, and no proven therapies to prevent preeclampsia, this particular disorder can be quite scary. The best way to protect yourself and your baby is to start prenatal care early and follow a healthy diet.
Keep reading: Page 1 of 2Next